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Robotica and

emotional intelligence

The big struggle of machines is missing the human capability to feel empathy, or understand empathy. Am I right, or not anymore? Nowadays machines are able to to recognize human emotions and respond appropriately.

"People won't see Artificial Intelligence as smart unless it can interact with them with some emotional savoir faire," says Picard, an expert in affective computing. The need for context is an issue, because emotions can't be understood in isolation."It's very hard to recognize speech from just the sounds, because they're too ambiguous," Pedro Domingos, professor at the University of Washington. Another issue is emotional expression. Computers need massive amounts of data to process the right context. They use special algorithms to learn.

This "end-to-end" learning means a neural network can use just the raw material and the labels representing different emotions to "learn all by itself to recognize the emotion inside," says Björn Schuller, editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and head of Imperial College London's Group on Language, Audio & Music.

They recognize the emotion with special algorithms that also enables the integration of signals from multiple channels, like tone of voice, body language, facial expressions and physiological signals. This helps the machines create a complete picture, because information from only one channel, can mislead.

Recognize emotions and influence human behaviour

There already exist robots that are able to respond intelligently enough to influence human behavior in positive ways. Maja Matari designed "socially assistive robots" to help autistic children that struggle with recognizing and expressing emotions. "All robots are autistic to a degree, as are children who are autistic, and that's something to leverage." Robots are the best teachers, because autistic children find them easier to interact than humans and more pleasant than a normal computer. "The robots serve as a peer in an interaction and give children with autism the opportunity to learn and practice social skills", Matari explains.

She uses the same approach in developing robots that help stroke patients and obese teens. These robots understand how much they can push the other to exercise more. “These robots are not meant to replace human caregivers”, Matari says, “but to complement them”.

Source: ACM

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