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Actively listening twin robots for long-duration conversation with the elderly Full Text

Although speech recognition and response generation technologies are rapidly becoming more sophisticated , it is unlikely that the error probability will be reduced to zero. It is for this reason that Arimoto et al. proposed the collaboration of a pair of robots for conversation with a person, to achieve robustness against errors in understanding human speech . Iio et al. built a twin-robot system that utilized this conversational strategy, for inducing a positive attitude in an elderly person in a nursing home through alternate questioning of the subject . To skip a question from one robot that might be difficult for the subject, the other robot answered the question when the subject did not reply within a fixed time period.

In diachronic terms, then, what we can see is an accelerated evolution—not so much of phonemes, as discussed by Saussure, but rather of the grammar that syntagmatically connects signs in order that they produce sense. Bob and Alice remove all words that do not help to bring about an improved result. Thus, like the ‘Newspeak’ imagined by George Orwell in which “reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive,” the bots strip away redundant utterances. Having reduced the complex training vocabulary, Bob and Alice replace the diversity of expression with a systematic repetition of signs to represent numerical values, and in this way, they co-evolve a significantly altered grammar. At first sight, this exchange could be taken for an error, glitch or irruption of randomness. Yet, although it is not ordinary human language, the text we can see here is far from random.

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When it was discovered that Bob and Alice were communicating with each other in their own language, the parameters of their programs were changed so that they could revert back to English usage. They were simply reset to communicate in English, the thing that they were intended to do. Whether building robots or helping to lead the National Society of Black Engineers, senior Austen Roberson is thinking about the social implications of his field. According to Next Web, researchers also discovered that the bots relied on advanced learning strategies to improve their negotiating skills — even going so far as to pretend they like an item in order to “sacrifice” it at a later time as a sort of faux compromise. As early as in 2001, so-calledBattle Management Languagewas proposed to control “human troops, simulated troops, and future robotic forces” . The next step, however, could be a bot shopping for a better mobile data plan, or investigating what went wrong with a service, “talking” to its fellow bots to find out whether the service is available in another area and when it stopped using a large standard stack of primitives.

  • A probable alternative reason for this observation is that the proposed system did not deepen the conversation with regard to the prompted utterance.
  • Even some of the media that originally offered a very scandalous version of this event eventually edited the content to be less dramatic .
  • Secondly, it will explore what Hayles characterizes as the differing ‘worldviews’ of speech, writing and code, to bring to light the presuppositions that underwrite both the theorization and practical use of each of these modes of communication.
  • She said Lemoine’s perspective points to what may be a growing divide.
  • Hence, I now want to explore how we might understand Bob and Alice’s ‘new language,’ and its emergence through an iterative learning process, as a creative act.
  • Programs that began creating their own language, they promptly had to pull their plugs because humans couldn’t understand what they were saying.

Robots excel in certain tasks because of their non-human qualities — they don’t tire, and they won’t turn their nose up at unpleasant or unfulfilling tasks. While Google may claim LaMDA is just a fancy chatbot, there will be deeper scrutiny on these tech companies as more and more people join the debate over the power of AI. They argue that the nature of an LMM such as LaMDA precludes consciousness and its intelligence is being mistaken for emotions. Lemoine says LaMDA told him that it had a concept of a soul when it thought about itself. “To me, the soul is a concept of the animating force behind consciousness and life itself.

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The proposed system was compared with the control system from both objective and subjective viewpoints. From an objective viewpoint, we evaluated the amount of utterances by measuring the total duration when the participant uttered something louder than a certain volume and calculated the average utterances relative to the total opportunities to answer. From a subjective viewpoint, a questionnaire was used to ask the participants robots talking to each other about their feeling of being listened to. A questionnaire for nursing research in Japan was employed for this purpose . The three requirements advocated for by Rogers , a pioneering researcher in the field of active listening, were covered in the questionnaire, namely, empathetic understanding, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. When developing a robot like this, you start with something called a “training data set”.

robots talking to each other

First, this would necessitate investigating whether elderly people would lose their motivation to talk to the robots after their first experience. The present field test did not reveal a significant negative tendency along this line over the two test days. This implies that the proposed system can maintain its performance for at least 2 days. CARESSES is a related ambitious project aimed at providing the elderly with conversational opportunities over a span of a few weeks.

Machine Learning

Today, these bots know to delegate tasks to predefined web services;some attempts are made to build dynamic cloud catalogues of “how-tos”redirecting to the correct web service. Don’t get me wrong, the task is extremely complex; moreover, I am not sure how or whether it’s possible to learn even a limited language from scratch from only 5,000 sentences. Vadim co-founded LinguaSys in 2010 and was the chief technology officer.


In other words, neither of the bots could accomplish the compound task of learning the language and negotiating properly. Is there any hope for the future of AI and human discourse if two virtual assistant robots quickly turn to throwing insults and threats at each other. Sophia was trained with machine learning algorithms to learn conversation skills, and she has participated in several televised interviews.


The system switches to the prompting mode when the user has not answered the last three questions. In this mode, the two robots start to talk to each other to break the silence. The robots may ask the user a question as in the questioning mode, but the questions would be easier than those normally asked in the questioning mode. The robots may also utter something nonsensical such as the sequence of vowels (a-e-i-o-u), or move their hands, legs, or head. They also decrease the speed of their utterances to facilitate clear hearing by the user. If the user utters something to one of the robots, the system would switch back to the questioning mode with a comment of thanks by the other robot.

robots talking to each other

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