Robots that think and feel emotions like people could become part of our homes in 10 years.
That’s in accordance with Dr Mark Sagar, who is the chief executive of Soul Machines, a New Zealand-based company that establishes smart and responsive avatars. Sagar, an expert system developer, produces incredibly realistic virtual human beings which can react to questions and gain from experience.
The avatars blink and communicate exactly like we do. But they are powered by a virtual neural network which assists them in learning social hints and spotting patterns in order to answer questions.
The avatars include Baby X – a virtual baby which can learn through experience and appears to “feel” emotions. It can see through the computer system’s electronic camera and hear through the microphone.
There’s also a virtual assistant called Nadia, whose voice may be more recognizable since its originating from the lips of Hollywood starlet Cate Blanchett.
“We are creating realistic adult avatars serving as virtual assistants. You can use them to plug into existing systems like IBM Watson or Cortana — putting a face on a chatbot,” Sagar informed a competing media company.
But Sagar believes robotic, human life renditions of his avatars will be coming to our living spaces by 2027. He stated:
“We have been working on the deepest aspect of the technology – biologically-inspired cognitive architectures. Simplified models of the brain.”
“The technology for a computer system program to sense a feeling is nearly there,”
But the mechanics of robotics need to play catch-up.
At the moment, it would be exceptionally costly to create a robot which could blink with the authenticity of a human.