|Better, faster stronger?|
Japanese scientists have created the world’s first autonomous fundraising android – a lifelike robot designed to solicit millions in donations.
Called iAsk, the five-foot tall robot looks and acts like a major gifts officer at a typical American university of hospital. Designers say the android is capable of asking for annual gifts as low as $5.00 or major gifts that could run into the millions. It comes in two styles – a svelte, young Asian woman or a 50-yearold, distinguished looking white male authority figure.
“We’ve programmed the combined wisdom of more than 100 senior fundraisers from across America into iAsk’s database. It can do almost anything a human fundraiser can do, but with less fuss and bother,” said Dr. Fujitsu Snidely, lead scientist at Fundraising Robotech 3000, the maker of the iAsk.
Powered by a nuclear fuel cell the iAsk can make more than 50 solicitations a day without stopping for an expensive lunch, complaining about its quota or stopping to complain about its boss to other fundraisers.
“The iAsk doesn’t need a fancy office or their own espresso machine or a minion who enters all their data because their too klutzy to be allowed to do it themselves. The iAsk does all this itself. It also has a port on its posterior where it prints its own business cards and can jump start a donor’s car during the dead of winter,” said Snidely.
The iAsk uses a sophisticated onboard computer database to generate customized donor information for its solicitation and combines this with a powerful set of sensors that can scan a donor’s bank account, review their internet use and monitor their body systems to determine whether the donor is lying or telling the truth. It also makes a video recording of the entire solicitation and downloads it to the charity’s fundraising database automatically.
It is also programmed to make small-talk, like a human fundraiser.
“We’ve made the iAsk a perfect fundraising machine. It automatically determines how long it should engage in small talk before making the pitch based on a 15-point scale of body cues the iAsk uses with its onboard sensors.”
Snidely says they thought of everything. The iAsk can drink up to 30 cups of coffee, no matter bad they are, and eat up to 10 pounds of sandwiches or sweets. These are compressed within its body and then later excreted into a holding tank back at the office.
The iAsk also has a full suite of onboard payment options. Donors can open the iAsk’s torso and access a debit/credit card payment port, insert cash into the iAsk’s mouth or have the iAsk remove its head to perform a full appraisal of any art work.
“We also gave it superior gift planning abilities – better than any human,” said Snidely.
When in gift planning mode, the iAsk will perform a thorough health check on the donor, including blood and DNA analysis, to determine what when the donor might die.
So far, the iAsk has performed flawlessly in tests in Japan and the US. One donor was wounded when the iAsk malfunctioned. It took the command to “squeeze every cent” out of the donor literally. A re-calibration of the system’s software fixed the problem.