How One Genius Is Trying to Make Robots Act More Like Humans
Hiroshi Ishiguro builds androids to understand the human condition.
Hiroshi Ishiguro has produced some 30 androids. One is a replica of a newscaster, another of a fashion model. Ishiguro has brought them into public spaces, but mainly uses the “brood of women” for his academic experiments, reports Wired, which are done in two locations in Japan: the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Nara and the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory on the campus of Osaka University.
According to Wired, the ability to produce a robot that truly looks and moves and speaks like a human is still not possible, but the even harder aspect is giving these machines any sort of “humanness.” Wired says that to recreate this humanness we need to understand ourselves better than we currently do. But on top of that, why interact with a robot that acts like a human, instead of just interacting with a human?
Ishiguro thinks that the more humanlike we can make robots appear, the more likely humans will want to interact with it, because humans are hardwired to interact with and place our faith in other humans, according to Wired. This is why Ishiguro and his team are trying to pioneer a young field of research called human-robot interaction.
This research is part engineering, part AI, part social psychology and cognitive science, reports Wired. All of these combined disciplines hope to help us understand “why and when we’re willing to interact with and maybe even feel affection for, a machine.
AI expert David Levy doesn’t think that we are that far from a time when humans will desire robots as friends, sexual partners, even spouses, writes Wired. He argues that human’s inner lives are “essentially algorithmic, much like an AI’s” and thinks in a few years, the difference between humans and androids will be no great than the differences between people from different countries. Levy also believes, Wired writes, that romantic relations with AI will become a resource for the socially isolated and an accepted outlet for the sexually adventurous.
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