Although computers excel in certain areas, they fall short in reading and conveying non-verbal communication. Subtleties of voice tone, body positioning and facial expression all are crucial in human interactions. In fact HOW we say things is much more important than WHAT we say.

This video highlights the work in Professor Peter Robinson’s lab (Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge) to improve human-computer interaction through the development of “emotional” machines. The demonstration includes real-time interpretation of human facial expressions, voice pitch and tone, and body language. Ultimately, computers will not only be able to more accurately interpret our meaning..but also will become more expressive themselves. Get ready for the snarky robotic housekeeper!!

Dr. Robinson’s research is fascinating and will surely have  a profound impact on the future of computing. I do wish, however, they chose another use case as their demonstration–the GPS demonstration is not very satisfying.

(Via YouTube – Cambridge Ideas – The Emotional Computer.)


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