AI in the News - #16

March 26, 2016 | Earl Wajenberg

Faithful Cybernetic Companions:

The posting will focus on news involving robots interacting socially with humans.

Hooray for Hollywood (

Hollywood propaganda works for robots.  Seniors who could recall more movies with robots inthem felt more at east with robot assistants.  This worked even better if the robots were good guys.

Tega (

Tega is a robot learning coach.  It reads kids' emotional states and helps them learn with hints and cheer-leading rather than flat-out instruction.

TecO (Science Daily)

TecO is a creepy robot bear for autism therapy.  Its social responses are more predictable and easier to cope with than human ones, so it makes a step-ladder to learning to cope with people—if you can get past its appearance.  Maybe that's part of the learning experience.

Sophia ... dear God, Sophia (Discovery)

David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics, demonstrated Sophia at SXSW.  He thinks human-indistinguishable robots will walk among us in twenty years.  Sophia is a robotic bust that can see and hear you and talk back connectedly, though it's moderately clear it has scripts to fall back on.  Also, it is moderately obvious that Hanson was influence by the movie Ex Machina when it came to esthetic details.  But she's way down in the Uncanny Valley, as far as I'm concerned. Jim goes solar as to call her “a creepy fraud.