Forty year old salesman Nick came home from work late at night. As he opened the living room door he was welcomed by Mimi, his one meter tall robot companion, who had stayed all day long inside the room.
Taking off his velvet jacket, Nick called to Mimi in a happy tone of voice. Then Mimi slid close to him from the door. Nick, hanging his jacket in the closet, ordered to the robot: "Tell me." Mimi answered while the pink lights on her head blinked left to right: "Your Majesty, I got thirty mails, including three from your kids and one from your better half."
"Then start with kids Mimi," responded Nick, asking his home music play system Muse to play Mozart's Piano Concerto Series.
"Hi, dad! It's me, your curly princess. I need a new puppy. Kitty was out of order. Your early reply will be appreciated. Good night, Dad. I love you."
"Honey, we are going to have a party this Friday night. Come join us."
"Hi, Nick. It's Jack. Kim and I plan to go fishing this weekend. We will prepare everything. See you at the Fisherman's Hut. Give me a call."
Nick responded to all the messages with the help of Mimi. First of all, Nick called Jack using the robot's phone system. Strictly speaking, Nick did not call, but Mimi dialed the number according to his the phone number diary. Jim was not available. Nick left a message that he could not make it because of the Friday night party.
Nick, coming out of the shower room with a song humming, asked Mr. Clean if he finished sweeping and mopping the floor. He bought Mr. Clean at the URC Center in Seoul last June for the price of six hundred thousand won, or seven hundred seventy dollars. A URC is a robot that users can enjoy at a relatively low price. Nick, after having stayed in Korea for two years, was surprised in the first place to see one of his Korean friends using the robot model in his home. The Korean government, especially the Ministry of Information and Communication, took the initiative to supply URCs to homes at a price below one million won.
The government developed a plan to supply at least one URC for each home by the end of 2010. It indicated that the plan would go ahead if the price went down to five hundred thousand won. The price of Mr. Clean was five hundred thousand won and Mimi was six hundred thousand won.
Mr. Clean and Mimi are not androids which can sense objects and act almost like a human being. They can only execute the orders already embedded in their chips. URC is a primitive robot concept. They can exchange dialogs with their lords only based on the embedded dialog patterns. They cannot make free conversation with people.
Mr. Clean answered Nick that he cleaned the whole floor right before five o'clock. Mr. Clean also told Nick that the laundry would come at nine o'clock tonight. After a half hour break of watching TV, Nick started studying the Korean language. He turned on his Lang-Buddy, a URC with language software installed.
He used the remote-controller to continue Chapter 10. When he pressed the play button, Lang-Buddy read whole sentences to him. Lang's pronunciation was very clear. The robot repeated sentence by sentence and word by word according to the order Nick made. It has also a sense of humor. When Nick repeated a certain part of the sentence several times, it joked: "Come on Nick! You are a genius."
The new puppy Nick's kids want is also a toy-style URC. The robotic puppy barks when it hears the sound of clapping and laughing. It smells like a puppy. It is very soft and real. Kids like to sleep with the puppy, and parents like it too, since it does not need to go to the bathroom. The puppy walks and barks like a real dog and even scratches its ears with its rear legs.
It yawns too. It plays kid songs and dances to the music. Some puppies teach kids languages. Various animal URCs will be available in the near future at the price of three hundred thousand won. The next day Nick bought a new puppy and headed for the party.