The Machine cometh

Social robots are already a lot closer than you think. Kismet and Leo are two such examples. Robots are only now getting into the stage where they are learning to think for themselves.

But what the M.I.T. robots may lack in looks or finesse, they make up for in originality: they are programmed to learn the way humans learn, through their bodies, their senses and the feedback generated by their own behavior. It is a more organic style of learning

This is the way most humans learn to interact with each other as well. Babies grow up emulating their parents in how to act with other humans, using voice inflection, emotions and body language to get the point across. Robots are now taking their baby steps into the world of self thought.

Kismet is the thing that looks like Gizmo the gremlin. Leo is the skinny ewok looking thing. So far Kismet can only babble in R2-D2 like speech and has the emotional range of a 3 year old. She looks strange because of all the sensors on her head, leading to her Gizmo like appearance. Being an early generation emotional robot, Kismet does not have the movement range of Leo. Kismet reacts to how you act with it- act happy or give her praise and she perks up; scold her or act violently and she turns away

Kismet can says things when she is told to so so and in this clip is saying the same thing “Do you really think so?” but with a wide range of feelings

Leo on the other hand may not say anything, but he learns by going through the problem and is able to apply what he’s learned to a new problem with similar parameters. Developed in conjunction with Stan Winston Studios. Leo in this video is only missing his furry outer covering that he was shown wearing in the first video.

We are still very far off from developing this kind of robot that can think for itself with no outside intervention, and is wholely capable of self propulsion.

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