What Should a Robot Wear in the 21st Century?

Published by , October 23, 2017 1:09 pm

(Quartz) JiaJia, a Chinese-built robot, often wears hanfu, a historic style of clothing inspired by China’s ancient and medieval rulers. Many in China have been struck by her white embroidered robes and elaborate hairstyle: “Beautiful!” has been a common comment. As “humanoids” like Jia, developed to look like people, become commonplace, the developers of these machines are going to have to think more often about this: What should a robot wear in the 21st century?
For robot “women” in Asia, just like for human women, fashion is shaped not by visions of a cyberpunk future, but also ideas about the past, society and race. Western expectations about robotic fashion are inspired by 20th-century movies about the future with outfits dramatically unlike JiaJia’s attire. Western humanoid robots generally involve black leather (or fake leather) for male robots, and form-fitted jumpsuits of some kind of shiny fabric or a punk-rock aesthetic (video) for women.

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