Laugh with the robot

by Mitori Liu

Sept 26, 2022


Story brief:

A Japanese team of scientists are currently testing Erica, a type of AI robot that is able to identify and respond to different types of laughs, before its official launch, to meet human needs of emotional interaction with robots.



Story in detailed description:

According to an article on theguardian (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/sep/15/scientists-teach-robot-laugh-right-time-research), the female robot Erica can not only perform a variety of laughter, from a little chuckle to a mirthful laugh, but also recognize the right time to share a laughter. The algorithm which helps the system to accurately identify both social laughs and hearty laughs and to make corresponding reactions allows Erica to stand out from a diversity of AI robots capable of having conversations with human beings. The team of Japanese scientists are devoted to gifting robots with more emotional sensation and perception in addition to the innovation of laughing robots, so as to smooth the communication between AI and human beings and satisfy those demanding emotional responses.


Implication:

The invention of the laughing robot Erica narrows the gap between humans and robots, as the ability of empathy is one of the main differences between them. With the ability to react with proper laughters Erica is able to meet diverse emotional needs from different people. For instance, in an aging society where the elderly often lacks companions, Erica can serve like a friend who is understanding, caring and sensitive to the elderly’s feelings. However, it is not enough to only be responsive to various laughing points. Developers should not only include different emotions, such as depression, anger, and somberness in Erica’s recognition, but also enable her to respond with corresponding expressions. In addition to facial expressions and sounds, body language and other actions can help robots to seem even more empathetic.

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