The Future of Human-Machine Culture Imagined At Robo Madness West

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dressed them, Kidd says. “They were wearing hats and scarves, and one had a red feather boa hanging around her neck,” he says.

Catalia has concluded that robots with faces are far more effective in nudging people toward better health habits than mobile apps on screens, even when the digital personal assistants speak, Kidd says.

But will intelligent robots always need to be physically embodied in one place? That was one of the interesting questions raised by Bo Begole, global head of the Media Lab at Huawei Technologies. Begole moderated a panel on AI and human-machine interaction.

Begole and other panelists envisioned users having a relationship with a single AI that lives as an ambient intelligence floating across the person’s various devices, drawing on data from many sensors to anticipate the user’s needs. Another possibility is that a person, or a family, could interact with a collection of different AIs serving various purposes.

Could you then end up with conflicts among the AIs helping different family members? Begole wonders.

The prospect of a barrage of messages from “hundreds of chatbots talking to us is an argument for a single point of interaction,” Takayama says.

Begole raised another intriguing question: Could advanced robots ever develop the ability to be creative, or in some way original?

An emphatic “No” came from JR Alaoui, CEO of Palo Alto, CA-based Eyeris, which trains machines to read human micro-expressions.

“There is no standard way for people to be creative,” Alaoui maintains. “If there is no standard, you cannot train an AI to be creative.”

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