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Oxymoron

The latest robots capable of developing emotions through interactions and relationships with humans. Funded by the European Commission, the project has involved six countries, many universities, and a combination of 25 roboticists, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists over the past three years.

Dubbed “FEELIX GROWING,” the project’s name is an acronym from the slogan, “FEEL, Interact, eXpress: a Global appRoach to develOpment With INterdisciplinary Grounding.”

This new development, while fascinating, also raises some concerns about the disturbing potential of machines replacing human interaction.

With society’s rapidly narrowing need to actually operate with humans and not solely with technology, it would be terrible to lose one of the main qualities that make human interaction unique from the performance of machines.

According to Dr. Lola Camañero, a leader of the initiative, the goal is for the robots to “learn from humans and respond in a socially and emotionally appropriate manner.”

To accomplish this goal, scientists programmed the robots with artificial neural networks to detect changes in voice, behaviors and movement. Robots are also programmed to learn and emotionally attach to a caregiver in the same interactive way babies and children learn behaviors during their early years.

Slowly the robots learn to receive sensory input, and begin to adapt to situations, detect expressions and copy behavior from their human "relatives".

These patterns of bonding with a caregiver also occur in many primates.

The robots can detect the moods of their human companions and can adapt to the actions and feelings of each person, especially caregivers that appeal to the robot’s “personality profile.” The more time, feedback and engagement a companion invests in the robot, the tighter the bonds become and the more knowledge that is gained by the robot.

The latest such robots are capable of expressing different emotions such as distress, happiness, pride, excitement, sadness, fear, and anger.

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  • Part of Speech: noun
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  • Industry/Domain: Robots
  • Category: Emotional robots
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