CB2, Japanese robotJust the other night, I saw a giant robot smashing things. Of course, it was only a movie, but what if actual giant robots, like that giant mechanical monster glimpsed in the Terminator Salvation trailer, might stomp through your neighborhood in the not too distant future?

If that sounds too unrealistic, what about the prospect of "a robotic team of football players [taking] on the human World Cup champions" and winning, all by 2050? As reported by AFP and published at Breitbart.com, Osaka University professor Minoru Asada has high aspirations for his team of robotics experts, which first presented their project, Child-robot with Biomimetic Body (AKA CB2), in 2007. They've made good progress, claiming their baby Terminator is "slowly developing social skills by interacting with humans and watching their facial expressions, mimicking a mother-baby relationship." We've embedded a video below of the baby robot in action, which more closely resembles the Star-Child in 2001: A Space Odyssey than The Terminator. Creepy or cool?

"Public opinion in Japan may be more open to robots than in the West," the article notes, "where dark science fiction visions from movies such as [Blade Runner] and [The Terminator] have conjured images of robo-soldiers taking over the world. Thanks to such benign cartoon characters as Astro Boy, 'Japanese people have a friendly image towards robots,'" said one research scientist.

By the end of the year, US audiences will have seen competing visions: the robo-soldiers of Terminator Salvation and the much friendlier Astro Boy. Are you looking forward to a future filled with intelligent robots?