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Mark Stephen Meadows

by   -   March 6, 2014

RobotsEiffelTower

The incoming second wave of contextual agents

There’s a virtual lobby of Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) waiting to help us these days. These multi-million dollar systems include Yahoo’s Donna, Samsung’s SAMI, Google’s Now, Nuance’s Nina, Motorola’s Assist, Microsoft’s Cortana and of course Apple’s Siri. They can give you driving directions, book a dinner table, launch an app, tell a joke, take a memo, send a text, post a tweet, ring a phone, update Facebook, check stocks, search the web, turn off the lights when you go to bed, and set an alarm to wake you up in the morning. They can do incredible things, but they’re not very valuable for one weird and very general reason.

by   -   November 20, 2013

happy_sad_maskThis article returns to the thread of the last few months by looking at how robots can measure our emotions and body language.

My aunt, a Tennessee tobacco grower, used to remind me that God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason. What she meant is that a good conversationalist is not so much someone with the ability to talk, but the ability to listen.

Robots can take a cue from my aunt.

by   -   August 15, 2013

Robohub.org - robot_facial_expressionsRobots are machines and most people agree that they primarily serve a utilitarian purpose. So why do so many of them have heads? Here are some thoughts by AJung Moon, Mark Stephen Meadows, Travis Deyle, and David Robert.

 

 

AJung Moon
AJung Moon on “Do robots need heads?”

Are you curious about what your future robotic assistants will look like? My bet is that by the time you buy your very first robotic butler, it will have a friendly head on it that moves. In fact, it would be a good idea to make robots with heads if they are intended to share spaces and objects with people. That’s because …

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Mark Stephen Meadows
Mark Stephen Meadows on “Do robots need heads?”

I don’t know about you, but if something has a head I assume it has thoughts. When watching a movie I stare at the character’s face because I want to know what they feel. So for me a head’s a pretty important thing. If I’m going to talk with a robot, …

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Travis Deyle
Travis Deyle on “Do robots need heads?”

The obvious answer to this question is “No: there are lots of robots without heads.” It’s not even clear that social robots necessarily require a head, …

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David Robert
David Robert on “Do robots need heads?”

As a robot animator I can attest to the fact that robots don’t “need” heads to be treated as social entities. Research has shown that people will befriend a stick as long as it moves properly. We have a long-standing habit of anthropomorphizing things that aren’t human by attributing to them human-level personality traits or internal motivations based on cognitive-affective architectures that just aren’t there. …

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by   -   August 15, 2013

Robohub.org-Kuka_mobileI don’t know about you, but if something has a head I assume it has thoughts. When watching a movie I stare at the character’s face because I want to know what they feel. So for me a head’s a pretty important thing. If I’m going to talk with a robot I’d like it to have some kind of discernable head. It’s a useful thing if you want people to have warm fuzzy feelings about your robot. Its useful if people are interfacing with the robot.

Simply: a head allows a face, and a face allows interface.

So a head’s only needed if the robot has to interface with people (or other headed animals, say). A head is a design feature but the main function of an android is its form: it has to look like humans. Giving it a head is a function-follows-form decision. Wasn’t it Hunter S. Thompson who wrote, “Kill the head and the body will die?” Well, this should not be the case for military robots. The beheaded design can be improved. Saying that all robots need to have faces is like saying all animals need to have gills. For the deadly, dangerous, and downright dastardly work that robots today need to perform, like gastro-intestinal surgery, or military surveillance, a head won’t do much more than get stuck or blown off.

A head, like hands or a face, is a design decision that’s best left for the robots working directly with humans.

by   -   August 7, 2013

This article discusses how body language is a part of natural language, personality, and NLP design. The article covers various methods for approaching this problem and makes recommendations for the real-time generation of animation to accompany natural language for avatars and robots.

It’s hard to communicate with words. Some researchers claim that almost half of our communication relies on things that aren’t words: body language, tone of voice, and stuff that just isn’t conveyed by text. This includes prosody (tone, pitch and speed of words), facial expression, hand gesture, stance and posture. This probably explains why about 40% of emails are misunderstood.  

by   -   July 3, 2013

illo_privacy_13-07-05
This article considers privacy in robotic systems (such as personal service robotics) as being of greater importance than privacy in telecommunications (such as Internet). We will return to our regularly scheduled program – about gestures and body language – next month.

Let’s say a white box showed up on your doorstep and you open it up and find a little humanoid robot made by Google. A GoogleBot! The brightly-colored pamphlet says that the little disk of a device will vacuum your floor, all for the same cost as your Gmail account: free.

by   -   June 5, 2013

This article discusses personality design and how proper natural language interface design includes body language.  The article is about the design of hearts and minds for robots. It argues that psychology must be graphically represented, that body language is a means to do that, and points out why this is kind of funny.

Comrades, we live in a bleak and humourless world.  Here we are thirteen years into the twenty-first century, and we all carry around Star Trek style tri-corders, we have access to almost all human opinions via this awesome global computer network, we have thousands and thousands of channels we can flip through on television, we have something like 48,000 people signed up to go colonize Mars, and we even have robots roaming around up there, taking samples of that planet. But we still don’t have robots that can tell a good joke.

by   -   May 4, 2013

This article outlines the problems of today’s phone and online help systems and offers solutions to conversational systems of tomorrow. The article is about the design of hearts and minds for robots, considers the virtual voice as a legitimate robot, and takes a fast pass at the psychology of robot-human interaction.

by   -   April 3, 2013

This article looks at how the robotics industry of today is following in the footsteps of the personal computer industry of yesterday, and why Natural Language Processing, like the Graphical User Interface, plays a key role in this industry-wide evolution.

by   -   March 6, 2013

This article looks at the arrival of systems such as Siri, Google Now, and Watson and claims that these systems are the search engines of the next decade because they mine intimate data.  Since they integrate search they will replace search, as well as a host of other interface and information retrieval functions.  This offers an outline to both the personal benefits and privacy risks.