Tech

Super Terrific Japanese Thing: Virtual Wife

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Settle down, boys and girls?it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. These “wives” are actually just cellphone programs that nag you, since that’s all anyone expects wives to do. From Trends in Japan:

Subscribers to the free service can choose from one of four virtual wives, who include a cute maid caf? waitress, a cool domineering analyst, a motherly nurse, and a fashionable nail artist, and even pick her name. Users then input their height, weight, and lifestyle habits.

In return, they receive 4 emails daily from their virtual wife that include nagging reminders not to engage in unhealthy habits and suggestions for reaching their ideal body weight?all in a tone of voice appropriate to the chosen character. The service also includes a ?meal management tool? with a space to input a menu and find out how many calories are likely involved.

Despite the preposterous inclusion of a maid caf? wife, this still has to be one of the most innocent devices ever featured on Super Terrific Japanese Thing. It makes me realize that when Japan isn’t bizarre and hideously perverse, it makes me kind of uneasy.

About Author

Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.