Dawn of Computer Emotional A.I...

Scientists are on the verge of creating an EMOTIONAL computer: AI could think like a person and bond with humans within years

Called 'Virtual Actor', it is expected online within the next year and a half
Machine will be used to play the role of a person, and set its own goals
Will understand context of conversation and keep up with events
Researchers will also create simpler version of the AI in the form of game

By ABIGAIL BEALL FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 08:48 EST, 8 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:19 EST, 8 July 2016
    
Scientists are closer to creating a computer with emotions.

Researchers in Russia are expected to reveal an emotional computer within a year and a half, which will be able to think like a person and build up trust, its creators say.

The system, called 'Virtual Actor', is being created by the National Research Nuclear University in Moscow.

The AI, called 'Virtual Actor', is expected to be online within the next year and a half.

The researchers say it will understand the context of what is going on, as well as keeping up with unfolding events.

The machine needs the ability to study not through programming or reinforcement learning, but as a thinking person, the researchers said.

'Any action has an emotional connotation, as a result of which certain relations develop, such as trust, subordination, leadership,' the lead researcher said.

Its name was given because one of the main functions it will serve will be as an actor, playing the role of a specific person.

'The researchers say it will understand the context of what is going on, as well as keeping up with unfolding events.

The machine needs the ability to study not through programming or reinforcement learning, but as a thinking person, the researchers said.

The machine itself must be able to set learning goals, formulate questions to achieve these goals and actively seek the answers.

The researchers started by looking at how the human brain works.

'Our principal goal is to formulate the basic principles that natural intelligence in the human brain is built upon,' Professor Alexei Samsonovich from the Cybernetics Department.

'Biological solutions are in many respects superior to artificial solutions in terms of their adaptability, learning ability, resistance to unexpected interventions, and so on, and we would like to model these principles on the computer.'

The area of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus, uses neurons to perceive space. If the neurons are positioned along a certain plane, their activity will be focused on a certain point.

COULD YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROBOT?

A recent survey found 21 per cent of British people would have sex with a droid, and one in three would go on a date.

The survey was done VoucherCodesPro who asked 2,816 sexually active Brits aged 18 to describe which activities they would then carry out with a cyborg.

Researchers asked those participants who said they would have sex with a robot why they would do it.

Seventy two per cent said they thought the robots 'would be very good at it' while 28 per cent said it would be a new experience. 

'The question is: Do we have to reproduce millions of neurons, tens of thousands of connections between each of them and hundreds of thousands of millions of ion channels just to represent two numbers?' Professor Samsonovich said.

'I'm sure that existing computers, their parameters in terms of speed and memory volume, are already sufficient for creating humanoid intelligence.'

The researchers also plan to create the agent in a simplified form as a computer game.

'A virtual agent and a real person control the figures on a computer screen, interacting with each other, thus building social rapport based on emotionally charged actions,' Professor Samsonovich said.

'They can attack, welcome, give way, help move a stone, and so on.

'Any action has an emotional connotation, as a result of which certain relations develop, such as trust, subordination, leadership, etc. If a person in the virtual world is unable to tell man from machine, this goes to show that we have reached a human level, albeit in a limited sense.'

'I very much hope that artificial intelligence will be free of human flaws. Now, amid the development of biological and genetic weapons, artificial intelligence is the most harmless of upcoming discoveries. I believe it will be a major step forward, a big event for humankind,' Professor Samsonovich said.

This is not the first plan to build an emotional robot. Sony announced earlier this year it is on a mission to make a robot capable of 'forming an emotional bond'.



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