A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Robots and Emotion: Tetchy the Turtle Meets HAL-9000
The most advanced robots in the very fine movie I, Robot had the ability to interpret the emotions of the human beings around them. They did it by analyzing the stress patterns in the voices they heard. In phrasing it just that way, the film pays homage to an earlier computer who did just the same thing - the HAL 9000 computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Today, Affective Media Limited in Scotland is working to help computers better understand people in various stages of emotional stress. Affective Media even has an online demo with an animated character named Tetchy the Turtle, who accepts voice samples and analyzes them.
(From Affective Media)
Once you have given Tetchy a four-second voice sample, it works on processing your sample. Eventually, the turtle begins to imitate your emotions, feeding them back to you.
(From Tetchy the Turtle)
Dr Christian Jones, the chief executive of Affective Media, puts it this way:
"When you are depressed or sad, the pitch of your voice drops and your speech slows down. When you are angry, the pitch rises and the volume of your voice goes up. We betray our emotions as we talk in dozens of subtle ways. Our recognition system uses 40 of these. It ignores the words you use, and concentrates exclusively on the sound quality of speech. It can tell your emotional state the very first time it hears your voice."
Affective Media is planning for a future in which it will be important that machines are able to understand the different states of their human colleagues. "Soon we will talk to our cars. We will give them voice commands to turn on CD players, heaters and fans," said Jones. "Using emotion recognition, those commands would also show if we are angry, frustrated, or sleepy."
HAL-9000 was sophisticated enough to run all of the mechanical systems of a space ship. HAL was also able to tell whether or not the human astronauts were up to the task of making decisions. Here is the famous exchange between Dave Bowman and the HAL-9000 (as found in the novel) that may presage the future of human-computer interaction:
"Hal, switch to manual hibernation control."
"I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?"
"Hal, I am in command of this ship. I order you to release the manual hibernation control."
"I'm sorry, Dave, but in accordance with special subroutine C1435-dash-4, quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the onboard computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, overrule your authority, since you are not in any condition to exercise it intelligently."
"Hal," said Bowman, now speaking with an icy calm. "I am not incapacitated. Unless you obey my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you." (Read more about HAL-9000.)
Just as Tetchy the Turtle is being designed to show emotion, science fiction robots have been written that way for years. Read about Marvin the depressed robot from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And you may also appreciate the comments of the robot cab driver from Philip K. Dick's classic short story A Present for Pat from 1952. Read more about Affective Media at Mind what you say - this robot will know how you feel.
(From HAL's Brain)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/23/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )
Related News Stories -
Lazy Lawyer's Trust In ChatGPT Misplaced
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software...' - Greg Egan, 1991.
Can Artificial Intelligences Be Stopped?
'What is it?... A guillotine for mice?' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
Rockets To The Moon In The Style Of Miro And Goya
'The results would not be happy; a schizoid painting was bound to ensue.' - FL Wallace, 1953.
I Am Alarmed By Efforts To Teach AIs And Robots To Hate
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.' - Harlan Ellison, 1967.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Japan's LignoSat Space Wood Satellite And Dan Simmons' Treeship
'The Consul remembered his first glimpse of the kilometer-long treeship...'
Skyline Robotics Instantiates Heinlein's 'Window Willie' Skyscraper Robot
'Do you know what window washing used to cost by the hour?'
Drone Bombings In Moscow Foreseen 100 Years Ago
'Once the target is confirmed, it uses an IR laser to send a coded signal back to the parent, clearing it to attack.'
I Didn't Know You Can Already Buy Flesh Putty
'I filled your bullet hole with flesh putty and the lattice.'
'A Sign in Space' Gives Practice In Decoding ET Messages
'... it will be easy to form an alphabet which shall enable us to converse with the inhabitants of the moon.'
Melting Permafrost Endangers Infrastructure
'From the tower's huge octagonal base radiate wide silvery strips...'
EELS Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor For Enceladus
'It was about five feet long... a black bullet head and red camera eyes.'
Lazy Lawyer's Trust In ChatGPT Misplaced
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software...'
Paradromics Implant FDA 'Breakthrough Device'
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted...'
Mice, At Least, Can Sober Up Quickly
'Then draw some aldodote-vitamin pills from the medic.'
Is It Time For Lunar Farside Telescopes?
'Mount Ambarzumian Observatory, on Farside.'
Spaceflight Vertigo Solved By NASA Releasing The Kraken
"I threw up in my helmet."
TM-62 Loitering Ground Landmine
Runaway movie comes to life!
Helpful Robots In Science Fiction
'If you douse me again... I'm donating you to a city college.'
Lunar Pogo Stick - Retro Technovelgy From 1968
'Lucky touched the leap knob...'
MIT And Rice Create Blade Runner Photo Analysis
Rick Deckard, your photo analysis is ready.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories