Tokyo startup's larger vision is to seamlessly connect autonomous devices. TOKYO -- Among the small subset of men who fall in love with female game and anime characters as if they were flesh and blood, there is an inside joke: "My girlfriend does not come out of the screen. A Tokyo startup called Couger is working to make that happen -- in a sense, at least -- using some of the world's hottest technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchains and augmented reality. The result of this confluence of tech is what Couger calls a Virtual Human Agent. In a video Couger put together, a man speaks to a woman on a computer screen. It may not be the stuff of a fairy-tale romance, but it is a start. Couger was one of only 10 teams that passed the rigorous screening to take part in a "superdemo" contest, in which participants made presentations about their businesses and innovations.
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The appeal to the movie? A man falls in love with an operating system. Some say they want to watch the movie simply because the concept is so strange.
Theo Tkaczevski, a year-old American student living in Japan, found himself confronting a mortifying girlfriend situation. He was heading home on a crowded commuter train in Osaka two years ago when his girlfriend, Rinko, began chastising him for abruptly ending their conversation the night before. She demanded a clear indication of his devotion: He had to profess his love to her, right there, in the middle of the throng. Shortly after making amends, he stuffed Rinko into his pocket.