By: Samayeeta Maitra
Imagine ranting about your daily life and sharing your pain with a robot.
Minter Dial’s book 'Heartificial Empathy' describes artificial empathy as “the coding of empathy into machines”. Empathy doesn’t necessarily mean being nice. It’s about understanding. Businesses can imbue empathy into their operations. In nursing homes where patients are struggling with dementia alone, introduction of empathy in AI robots can help alleviate their pain and suffering. Loneliness can have lots of negative effects on our health and wellbeing, so developing a system that could provide some way to provide social health benefits would be really beneficial.
But machines cannot feel anything.
For example, Machina, computer programmer Caleb Smith becomes attracted to Ava, an artificially intelligent robot. But did Ava actually like him? Is it possible that robots develop feelings in the future? Machines are already better able to detect depression in people than human doctors are. Recently, AI researchers after focusing on identifying emotions, created robots which can teach autistic kids by identifying and recognizing their emotions. Robots are being designed to help tutor and encourage learning more generally. For example, RoboKind has created a curriculum for the Milo robot to teach coding skills.
Chatbots often give responses that are not specific to the current context- but Google’s Meena proved this wrong, Meena can conduct conversations that are more sensible than the existing chatbots. Pepper is a semi-humanoid robot manufactured by SoftBank Robotics and has the ability to read emotions. Robots probably will never develop emotions considering they are nothing but metal/plastic. But some researchers are teaching robots to recognize emotions through facial expressions. This new ability of recognizing emotions might create a new relationship between humans and machines. But things can change very rapidly, with the help of growing AI, machines can learn to express themselves and display appropriate emotions. We could soon see humanoids assisting us in our houses and offices.
Thus, we might be able to build up a WALL-E or even a HAL 9000- we never know.