How's Your Social Relationship With Your Computer?
from the love/hate? dept
It’s no secret that many people have some sort of emotional relationship (and, it’s often a love/hate relationship) between themselves and the computing devices around them. Now, some work is being done at MIT to try to leverage that emotional relationship by making computers respond to the social relationship. A study is being done where a friendly interactive “agent” talks with certain study participants every day about their workout regimen. It tries to be friendly. It remembers things the participants have told it and tries to be comforting and encouraging, making little jokes here and there. Basically, trying to boost the social relationship between the person and the computer, to see if it makes them respond better. The article points out how this approach differs from historical artificial intelligence – which was entirely based on feeding facts to the machines, but not emotions. The article focuses on all the work being done by Rosalind Picard to give machines more emotions. This includes the study described above as well as plenty of other things, such as “chairs that sense when you’re bored to eyeglasses that indicate when you’re confused.” However, the latest research is about more than just reading your emotions, but about having the various systems express emotions back to the user that they can identify with. Of course, not everyone is thrilled with the idea, and plenty of people are afraid that either it will go too far, or people will get tired of the novelty of it after a short time.