Guess which one is the robot?

From the cover of the Christian Science Monitor. I'll tweet the answer on Monday.

About Lisa Katayama

I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.
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63 Responses to Guess which one is the robot?

  1. Torchwood says:

    Left. Winrar for spot the android!

    seen one android you’ve seen em all!


  2. technogeek says:

    Agree with the rest: droid on left. Translucency of skin, expression, gapped lips.

    If I’m wrong, I’m impressed. But I don’t think I’m wrong.

    Nice sculpture. Whether they can make it move naturally is another question.

  3. darwyn4 says:

    it’s a rhetorical question, L-)

  4. Hamid says:

    I think the left one is the Robot.

  5. dcamsam says:

    The right is the robot, because the left has a zit on her chin. They might make a robot with a freckles, but they wouldn’t make one with a blemish.

  6. dculberson says:

    I can only hope that some people are confused about left versus right. Because one of these looks human and the other does not.

  7. aaron says:

    they’re both robots

  8. Unsure says:

    The one on the right is too young to be a grad student in advanced robotics. Besides, someone who looks like that never sets a foot in an engineering class, unless she’s a robot.

  9. Readmore says:

    It says “The other is a grad student.” Just saying that it’s probably safe to bet on the younger face.

  10. kaiza says:

    @15 – actually many asians are brought up to avoid eye contact. Or she may be autistic, or the photo may have been taken at an inopportune time.

    Whoops… “it” not “her”…
    The one that gave it away for me was the fat lower eyelid. Also, I don’t want to stereotype but how many middle-aged grad students are there?

  11. Alireza says:

    the right one is robot

  12. Hanglyman says:

    Left. Weird expression, oddly thick eyelashes, lips strangely open, glassy eyes, skin looks weird around the eyes and also doesn’t have any kind of natural blemishes like the freckles the woman on the right has. It seems pretty obvious to me.

    But if I’m wrong, um… sorry about all that stuff I just said about you, lady. :(

  13. zia rasi says:

    the left one is a robot!!!
    it is so funny

  14. Frank says:

    I say the answer to the trick question is… THEY ARE BOTH ROBOTS… Right is older version since it looks more like a robot

  15. Left one is obviously the robot. Roboticists still haven’t got the eyes right, which I’m sympathetic about because, come on, the eyes are hard to imitate.

  16. Comenzi24h says:

    This goes back to the ancient belief and now proved fact that Asians are all in fact…Robots. WTF is Christian Science anyway..Does that invlove Jesus and space ships cause i’m all down for them apples.

  17. stevew says:

    I’m with #14 Anonymous. If it is the right one, then I’m excited about the future of robotics. Hair is wrong on the robot on the left.

  18. Wajih says:

    This goes back to the ancient belief and now proved fact that Asians are all in fact…Robots. WTF is Christian Science anyway..Does that invlove Jesus and space ships cause i’m all down for them apples.

  19. ViX says:

    i think its the one on the right.
    the one on the left has a slight surprised expression.
    the right one merely looks forward without any expression.

  20. jay says:

    The robot’s the mouthbreather with synthetic hair and eyelashes, duh.

  21. Dean Putney says:


  22. 4649 says:

    If it’s not the one on the left then I’m a monkey’s uncle.

  23. devophill says:

    It’s the one who can hold her lips together.

  24. bob5540 says:

    The one on the left is the robot. Reasoning: The Japanese are the furthest along in robotics.

  25. Aloisius says:

    If it’s not the one on the left, then I’m #1’s uncle.

  26. therevengor says:

    Trick question!

    The robot is you!

  27. Left is robot because it does what we make it do. Right is a robot because it does what religion tells it to do.

  28. Clay says:

    I just noticed a simple, objective difference that makes a good case for the artificiality of the leftmost face. Felix mentions the effect of it, and here’s the cause:

    Trace the line of sight from each of the faces’ eyes. The woman on the right is looking straight at the eyes on the left, presumably unconsciously trying to make eye contact with the unseeing or perhaps CCD-based orbs. The eyes on the left are cast slightly downward, unlikely for a human with another face occupying most of their field of view.

    If the left is human, she either has a visual impairment or is shy enough to avoid the unconscious draw of other eyes.

  29. Ji says:

    Obviously the left one. Robot’s skin should be flawless…

  30. Ji says:

    It is actually a trick question, and the answer should be NEITHER!

    The cover story will then continue to say: Everyone thinks that either Christianity or Science is right. In fact, they both are!

  31. maral says:

    On the left,she has no feeling in her eyes. she isn’t LOOKing to something….

  32. me says:

    I remember seeing this robot a few years ago. It’s the one on the left. I think it’s more of an animatronic(like Disney’s Lincoln) than a robot though.

  33. tekpagan says:

    The one on the right.

  34. Clay says:

    The face on the left has a more unnatural expression, but the one on the right conforms more to the universal “make female humanoid robots cute” directive.

  35. coop says:

    Left – Robot

  36. misterjuju says:

    ShopBucuresti & Comenzi24h are both robots because they just repeated what some earlier commenters said and then tacked on their spamlinks…am I right…what do I win?

  37. Takashi Omoto says:

    Great work adding that huge zip on the robot in the left. Gives it the sort of verisimilitude one is unable to find in a female grad student.

  38. Anonymous says:

    its the right, trick question

  39. ilya says:

    So when do they start makin’ out?vale arabia

  40. Ahmad says:

    I guess the left one is robot

  41. Nibbles says:

    The one on the left is the robot. I’ve seen it in action on youTube. The zit is a lie! It talks and makes facial expressions and gestures–and it has a really, really annoying voice.

  42. MyGB says:

    It’s right, because everybody says left ^^ (no, really, it’s reverse psychology, so, we can think the right is a human and act as a robot… but).

    And I found : :p .

  43. HeatherB says:


  44. navid says:

    100% right-Robot

  45. Felix Mitchell says:

    The face on the left conforms to my stereotype that only Asians are making this creepy level of realistic robot face, undoubtably to tap into the possible adult market. Or retail.

    Or I could talk about how it has plastic looking eyelids, synthetic eyelashes and hair. How the skin doesn’t look human, especially around the eyes, nose and mouth. And there’s something non-alive looking about the eye. t

  46. Halloween Jack says:

    What an incredibly easy question to answer… all you have to do is watch them both and see who blinks first.

    [fifteen minutes later]

    OK, they’re both robots… damn, my eyes hurt.

  47. A says:

    I would be more impressed by a video clip of the the two faces talking.

  48. NoahApples says:

    Ah, I see what they did there. Soon we’ll all be fulfilling our fictional character-fixated romantic fantasies through the advent of robots.

    They picked a good starting point there with Kaylee; should generate a lot of investment capital from wealthy, nerdy Firefly fans.

  49. erzatsen says:

    “This picture looks photoshopped. I’ve seen a few ’shops in my day and i can tell because the pixels don’t match up.”

  50. Aaron Gunn says:

    Left one is obviously the robot. Roboticists still haven’t got the eyes right, which I’m sympathetic about because, come on, the eyes are hard to imitate.

  51. lolbrandon says:

    The bot is on the left. Look at the eyes.

  52. AdmOd says:

    What if robot is right?

  53. Mark says:

    We’d probably need a Turing test to decide — otherwise we’re in Blade Runner territory (I know which one I’d retire — the one on the left).

  54. Hank says:

    the RIGHT… way younger the person on the left, if i were to create a robot, i would create a younger version instead of an older version of ‘me’. then again, i am a robot too… so i am confused now…

  55. Arnold says:

    Left is the robot. The eyes aren’t focused.

  56. AznoukRamdac says:

    I say the robot is the one on the right. Her nose is sharper and the skin on her face is firmer and has less wrinkles. In contrast the left one has a less sharp, more natural looking nose and her skin is wrinkled and not as firm. The left one also has dark area on the skin under her eyes that indicates she sleeps late and oversleeps a lot. I wouldn’t build a robot and model it after a lazer – So that’s probably a real human. XD

  57. Kevin Xu says:

    The left is robot, I saw her eyes not shine as human eyes do, look at the right one. But I am impress, this creature almost same with real human.

  58. admin says:

    ok people its the one on the right…

  59. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Can you change it to a contest about which one is cuter?

  60. Anonymous says:

    If the one on the right is a robot, I’m very excited for the future of robot technology.

  61. elfaran says:

    ok, really, it’s the one on the left. just do a little research – and guess where i found the answer… ;-)

  62. You can say the left is robot because she looks uglier…

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