Although artificial intelligence has been described by many people as a threat that could be ‘more dangerous than nukes’, the race to develop robots that can interact naturally with humans and mimic some of our unique characteristics, is hotter than ever now. One of these robots modelled a four-year-old child, has been developed with a ‘sense of self’. Being under development for 10 years, the humanoid called iCub is motivated by goals and can express six emotions on its face by raising its eyebrows and generating a light-up smile.
Originally created by the Italian Institute of Technology as part of their eFAA Project, the humanoid over the years has been refined to be able to crawl, walk, dance to music, manipulate objects in its hands, speak, and express emotions. Its latest iteration is hands-down the best human-like execution ever.
In a video posted by New Scientists, the bot is seen playing a game of paddle war, trying to score goals using a digital ball while stopping their rival from scoring. Based on the information picked up by its sensors, it reacts appropriately to winning or losing.
When the iCub misses a goal, it frowns and furrows its enlightened eyebrows, sometimes swearing like an ill-tempered human. After losing a game it might also say “that isn’t fair, I should be stronger at video games!”. Scoring a goal on the other hand causes it to smile and say phrases like “got it”.
Following several tweaks to its software, the robot is starting to understand language and is able to follow instructions that require reasoning. An example of this is to identify two objects and moving them to a position, as instructed. Scientist are so eager to develop human-like robots that could advance the field of artificial intelligence, which they hope could one day serve as help in the medical field, and even eradicate disease and poverty, for example.