'Remote-controlled humans' let you be two places at once

The Zabosu app, now seeking Kickstarter funds, turns people into your personal zombies! Well, sort of.

With Zabosu, you can earn extra cash by being someone's zombie. Er, we mean "actor." Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Have you ever been so busy that you wished there were two of you? You know, someone to pick up the dry cleaning while you binge-watched "Sherlock" on Netflix, for example? Well, if a new Kickstarter campaign raises big funds, there might just be a way to be in two places at once.

Zabosu bills itself as a "remote-controlled human" app, and that's kind of what it is.

One person acts as "the director" while another functions as "the actor." The actors have the Zabosu app on their phone, which they carry with the camera facing out to take in their surroundings. The director sits at a computer somewhere else and directs the actor to do various tasks through the Zabosu Web portal. I know what you're thinking: "Finally, my very own zombie to do my evil bidding in the world!"

Well, not so fast.

The director actually pays the actor to be controlled. The Zabosu website will contain a database of actors (anyone who wants to sign up as independent contractors, not employees of Zabosu), which will indicate where they're located, what they're willing to do, and how much they charge. It'll also show their past jobs for directors. That's not to say that someone won't be game to act as your very own zombie and try to snack on someone's brain. But the creators of the app see it having a more utilitarian purpose, like having someone go shopping for you, attend a trade show in your place, or check out apartments in a city to which you're thinking of moving.

I sure wish they had this when I went to college. It totally would have been worth it to spend some of the money I made delivering pizzas to get "an actor" to go to my classes for me while I watched from bed.

The Kickstarter campaign for Zabosu is nearly as novel as the concept itself. The creators say that they don't really need the money to make the app -- that part's already done. What they're using the crowdfunding platform for is to basically test proof of concept. "Just because we think this stuff is cool, doesn't mean enough other people will to make it a viable business," says the project's video presentation. "That's where you come in. If we hit our funding goal, we'll know we're on to something awesome and keep working at it." If not, the creators say, they'll refund "most of the money" from anyone who's contributed $25 or more.

Seems like a small risk to take to maybe someday own a zombie, no?

About the author

Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for Crave and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.


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