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Still remember our little game of distinguishing between real people and virtual models? (If you don’t, here it is!) This time, let’s see if you can tell if this is an actual person or a robot!

Boris, a robot from Yaroslavl, Russia, has been a great hit lately in a technology forum for his ability to talk eloquently and even dance flexibly! Witnessing Boris’s talent, Russia-24, a local TV broadcasting company invited Boris for an interview and revealed the secrets behind this intelligent ‘device’. 

At the start of the show, Boris was so presentable that he shook hands with the host and even greeted the audience! He seemed to have a good grasp on social skills as well. Everyone was amazed by how human-like Boris was. 

Soon, netizens got suspicious. They started to investigate him and his background. They then began to question the real identity of Boris, whether he was really a machine or not. 

TJournal believed Boris was not a robot at all as there was no evidence of any external sensors. Later on, other media further spotted human skin at Boris’s neck position in an interview. 

Eventually, Boris was confirmed to be a fraud. Instead of a robot, Boris was actually a human wearing a robot costume made by Shows Robots, which is of $30,000 worth. It consists of a microphone and a digital display, allowing a human to act just like a real life robot. 

It is shocking. Yet, Boris is not the first case of an AI fraud. With the improvement in technology, a lot of firms hope to attract potential investors through the technology of AI. Therefore, some of the firms recruit workers to pretend to be an AI, in order to enhance their competitiveness in the field. 

Spinvox claimed to have the technology to convert voice messages into word texts. However, it was discovered that their workers translate voice messages manually in 2008. 

In 2016, an innovative company, X.ai, launched Amy. Amy was introduced to be an AI assistant that helps with simple administration work including planning schedule and sending emails. However, the office was then found to be recruiting workers on a 24-hour shift basis to work as assistants through screens! 

These companies might remind you of Therano, an American blood testing company. In spite of the enormous investment, after their words were known to be lies, Therano burned down to ashes. Perhaps the blood, sweat and tears in the development of AI aren’t that much of a price to pay after all.