World’s “Most Beautiful Android,” a Japanese Robot, Can Now Also Laugh With You

Erica the android looks eerily human next to its creator, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro 8 photos
Photo: Osaka University/ATR
Erica the AndroidErica the AndroidErica the AndroidErica the AndroidErica the AndroidErica the AndroidErica the Android
At the time of its launch in 2015, Erica was dubbed not only the most beautiful but also the most intelligent android. Several other female-like robots have made headlines since then, but the Japanese Erica is still considered by some the most realistic and harmonious-looking one. Its creators are now teaching it how and when to laugh when conversing with humans.
While other robots are learning dangerous skills, such as keeping an eye on intruders and even shooting guns, Erica is all about social skills. After all, this is an android, not an animal-inspired robot, and it was specifically designed as a research platform for advancing human-robot interaction.

Humor is a big part of human interaction in general, so the Japanese researchers are now trying to teach Erica how to react to laughter. This means that it must be capable not only of laughing but of determining what kind of laugh would be appropriate. The study was recently published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI, and it explains the AI algorithm that was developed for Erica to be able to laugh.

The model is based on three successive questions regarding whether the human laughed, whether Erica should laugh in response, and, if the answer is “yes” to both of these, what type of laughter should Erica choose in response. These responses range from discrete chuckles to “mirthful laughs.”

Of course, human laughter is very nuanced, and there are many more “types of laughs” that Erica should be able to understand for a response that seems as natural as possible. But for now, this is a remarkable achievement for an android. The ones who conducted the study found a funny way of putting Erica’s new skills to the test, and that was speed dating.

The beautiful android is still far from being able to laugh at jokes – responding to shared laughter is much easier. But, in a few decades, flowing conversations between people and robots could become possible.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories