Clever or just plain creepy? iCub robot has a sense of self, displays six emotions & responds to being touched
BySarah Griffiths | mailonline.com
- The humanoid, called iCub has been under development for a decade
- It’s latest iteration is shown playing a game and reacting to its progress
- Robot is motivated by goals and can express six emotions on its face
- Video shows it responding to touch as well as spoken instructions
Artificial Intelligence has been described as a threat that could be ‘more dangerous than nukes’.But despite this, the race is on to create robots that can interact naturally with humans and mimic some of our unique characteristics.
Now, a robot modelled on a four-year-old child, has been developed with a ‘sense of self’. It was originally created by the Italian Institute of Technology as part of the eFAA Project and over the years, it’s been refined to be able to crawl, walk and dance to music, manipulate objects in its hands, speak and express emotions. It’s latest iteration is more human-like than ever. A video posted by New Scientist shows it playing a game of paddle war – a simple game where two players each hold a paddle – or in this case a cylinder – and try to score goals using a digital ball, while stopping their rival from scoring.
The robot’s goals and emotions change constantly, based on information picked up by sensors and it reacts appropriately to whether it is winning or losing.
When iCub concedes a goal, it frowns and furrows its light-up eyebrows, sometimes swearing like an ill-tempered human.
When it scores a goal, it smiles and says phrases like ‘got it,’ although there is not much change in intonation whether a phrase is negative or positive.
The robot’s goals and emotions change constantly, based on information picked up by sensors and it reacts appropriately. A stock image is shown
The robot laughs, or says ‘ha ha’ when the ball ricochets off the side of the screen, but is seemingly a bad loser.
‘That isn’t fair, I should be stronger at video games!’ it says, after losing the game.
The video also shows how the robot can respond to being touched, a little bit like a slightly creepy human.
When a human strokes its arms it affects iCub’s reactions and emotions and the robot says on one occasion in the video: ‘I like when you touch me this way’.
‘Enjoying’ the human contact, the machine smiles and says: ‘please, caress me again’.
Tweaks to its software also mean that the robot is starting to understand language and can follow instructions that require reasoning, such as identifying two objects and moving them to a position, as instructed.
Scientists are so keen to develop human-like robots to advance the field of artificial intelligence, which they hope could one day be used in medicine, and even eradicate disease and poverty, for example.