A robot with a sense of humor? Robots that can appreciate the finer things in life? Robots that have a wide range of ’emotions’ that would make them relatable to human beings? Reading the title, one would think that the whole matter is a hoax, or something out of a science fiction novel that can hardly be true. News of Google securing a patent for robot personality development was released in April last year, making it a viable April Fools’ joke.
However, the patent is as real as can be, and has just been recently updated on February 2 of this year. The patent makes, admittedly, such claims that may get you shaking your head in disbelief, make your jaw drop in wonder, or have you raise your eyebrows in skepticism: a user would be able to download the robots’ personalities, very much with how one downloads an app online. This could range from the personality of the users themselves to a celebrity’s, and even of a deceased loved one! The personalities could even be swappable among robots over a cloud system, depending on the user’s preferences.
According to the patent: The robot personality may also be modifiable within a base personality construct (i.e., a default-persona) to provide states or moods representing transitory conditions of happiness, fear, surprise, perplexion (e.g., the Woody Allen robot), thoughtfulness, derision (e.g., the Rodney Dangerfield robot), and so forth.
The robot will be able to access the users’ devices, and mold their personalities in line with the users’ data. The patent goes on with, “A robot may access a user device to determine or identify information about a user, and the robot may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the user based on identified information.”
Developments for this personality-imbued robot could make it “further receive data associated with the user through speech and facial recognition.” Imagine a robot that can cringe like you do, or can laugh like you do. It’s fascinating and a tad creepy.
And because the robots’ personalities can be stored in a cloud, these personalities could be able to live beyond the machines’ physical lifespan. Computer World seemed to figure out something which Google may intend to do once they continue with their patent—to devise technology that could make service robots better interact with people, such as those in elder care, child care, or hospital settings.
An empathic kind of robot could come in handy, and it may be possibly part of Google’s hi-tech vision. Google currently has 8 robotics companies under its roof, including Boston Dynamics, known to have released their 6.2-foot humanoid robot named Atlas, which has been worked on to walk, run, and jump on rough terrain. Atlas could even open doors, and that’s as personable as it can get. In addition, Boston Dynamics are designing robots for the U.S. military with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA. Of course, researchers wary about artificial intelligence someday becoming something science and humanity would regret have signed an open letter.
This brings about a much-needed word of caution on the “potential pitfalls of AI gone awry.” Anyone thinking in line with James Cameron’s film on self-aware machines? According to the Quartz, Google hasn’t commented on how high the patent’s level of priority is at present. We can only sit tight and think that this news, indeed, was simply a way to spice up April Fools’. What do you think of one-day coming face to face with such a robot?