South Korean robot officiates at marriage

Industry shift from spying and killing?

Korean roboticists announced over the weekend that their industry had achieved yet another world first, as a droid officiated at a wedding south of Seoul.

"Tiro" the robot priest/master-of-ceremonies joins an illustrious list of Korean machine pioneers, including the SGR-A1 sacrificial DMZ-guarding gun-bot and the new droid chaperones being deployed to curb adolescent lust in Korean schools.

Now, South Koreans can be guarded from godless northern hordes, kept pure until marriage by robots and then actually joined in matrimony at the hands of a machine.

According to AFP and Hanool Robotics, Tiro and an unspecified number of assistant machines were due to handle the wedding of Hanool engineer Seok Gyeong-jae and his lovely bride in Daejeon - a city 120km south of Seoul.

The marriage-bot apparently speaks in a "sweet female voice" and is priced by Hanool at 200m won, or about £109,000.

"Tiro will be upgraded so that it can be used for various purposes," according to Hanool's Kim Dae-hyun. Divorces, perhaps. The supporting robots were to act as ushers and "give performances," apparently.

Hats off to Hanool Robotics and the happy couple - not to mention Tiro - for showing us that robots can do other things than spy on humans or mow them down like corn in an orgy of machine slaughter. There was no word of any picketing by irate priests or registrars, perhaps because the wedding will still have to be registered with the authorities to be legal.

Coverage from AFP and the Taipei Times here. ®

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