Ameca Robot: an AI robot with facial expressions incredibly close to humans
The video of this robot is becoming very popular. You are one of the first scientists to study them, what is your opinion?
Ameca represents an example of the incredible advancement of robotics due to the use of technologies that will allow you to perform interactions with humans being able to behave in a realistic manner, modeling the emotions taking into account a deep analysis of the facial expressions and intonations of a conversation. This is an example of how robots will become more humanized in the future, being able to have their own emotions through natural language or synthetic voices with different tones, as well as gestures which are so close to those performed by humans that they can be confused.
In the visible world, humans and animals are the only beings capable of empathy, so what do you think? Will robots be able to achieve this in the future?
I believe that in the short term there will not be robots with emotional intelligence in the way we understand it; I mean, they will not be able to feel or provoke any type of emotion. But there are already programs that enable robots to analyze facial expressions and understand the context, like the one used by Ameca; it is also possible to make them follow instructions or act in certain moments depending on what they see. However, complete emotional intelligence will come with knowledge of the human psyche, which remains a mystery for science.
In this video you can see a robot recognizing expressions of disgust on the face of a man, do you think it has been able to imitate them?
Yes, I believe that if an intelligent program analyses facial expressions and tones of voice, it is possible for the robot to mimic them. In itself it would not be able to feel disgust, but it would be able to show the facial expressions and behave in a way that makes it look like it is disgusted. This shows us that in the future we will see robots that are much more humanized, capable of behaving according to what they see and analyzing our reactions in order to respond correctly.
Do you think that this type of robots is ethically admissible?
As every new technology, there can always be ethical issues. It is clear that it is not ethical to use them for commercial purposes without the permission of the user. However, I believe that in certain situations they can benefit our lives or society as a whole. There are already examples of humanitarian uses like building prostheses or wheelchairs to make them respond to the gestures of users. They can be very useful in hospitals, for example, where they can help patients with disabilities, as well as the elderly who require attention.
Artificial intelligence, therefore, is it ethically admissible?
I believe that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated, but not in the way that people talk about it at present. Instead of being concerned with whether or not robots can get out of control and take over humanity, we should focus on their use in health care, education and other areas where they can be helpful to society. In terms of physical interaction between humans and robots, I think it is very important to regulate this, because it can cause physical damage if an intelligent machine misjudges a gesture. This should be studied in the future, but there are companies that already make robots with physical intelligence which allow them to interact with humans without causing any problems.
Would you say that the improvements made by Ameca make it more like a human?
Yes, I think that Ameca is an interesting project. It uses artificial intelligence to recognize emotions and then act accordingly. Even though what we see in the video of their websiteis just one facial expression, they are able to analyze multiple features of the face, such as the eyes or nose, what allows them to create very realistic emotions. In the future I believe that we will see even more improvements in this area.
I would like to finish by asking you a question: what do you think is the biggest difference between humans and robots?
One of the main differences between humans and robots is that robots are not capable of empathy. They cannot feel what others feel, which is why they need to be programmed to understand facial expressions and tones of voice. This is not to say that they cannot interact with humans; on the contrary, they can be very helpful in certain areas like health care or education. But we need to be careful with how we use them, because they can be easily misused.
In conclusion, I believe that the improvements made by Ameca make it more like a human. However, the main difference between them is that robots are not capable of empathy. This is an important feature that we need to keep in mind when dealing with them, because it can be easily abused.
Here the link for the source video: https://vimeo.com/651929733