What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
AI is an umbrella term encompassing a great variety of disciplines surrounding the mimicry or apparent mimicry of intelligence in technology, for various purposes and on various levels. AI is useful not only for games, but it is used as an extension of ourselves.
AI and NPC robots (Non-Player-Characters, which are used in games or virtual worlds), represent both physical and now increasingly virtual, have stepped into our world. They are used across a huge spectrum of applications, such as home educational tutoring, home assistants, and even simulated therapeutic models of emotion for autistic children.
Many AI robots have, over recent years, become upright like humans, with multiple sensors and ability to balance on two legs. There are robots that can play soccer, create drawings, assemble, battle, hunt, and perform surveillance activities.
They also can be willing virtual agents and communicators that talk and record to users on Web sites. Applications in emotional intelligence (EI) is another more recent field in AI, although theories of multiple types of intelligence suggest that verbalisation alone cannot constitutes full intelligence.
Still, robots, chat-bots, drawing bots, fighting bots, and others are becoming increasingly real to people. People appreciate them for what they are, but also what they could be. They teach us that reality is often a thing that we create ourselves, and those we care about.
One kind of AI, the virtual agent, often appears on Web sites as a talking avatar, and frequently appears as a person’s face. This manifestation of apparent reality gives the mind a similar impression to the idea they could be talking to a real human, and before they know it, empathize with the agent and become fascinated by it. Human face simulations are a huge part of the appeal of virtual agents. There are other virtual agents that work on the user’s computer as well, and many can be reprogrammed to say make fresh remarks. These agents also frequently appear in instant messagers (IM), but usually without an avatar.
One of the best and most convincing AIs in history is A.L.I.C.E (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) by Richard Wallace. To this day, many works spin from this open-source chatterbot, a sundry which use avatars. The ALICE-based bots search for keywords in a sentence and respond in a full preset sentence to that keyword. It also exhibits behaviors of remembering the sentence in the previous exchange of the current conversation. Some potential downfalls, which are surely getting ironed out, is that it can stumble when given a question regarding what a random object might be. Included in these pitfalls are other potential pronoun confusions. In spite of these issues, ALICE continues to be a work in progress to this day.
The NAO robot, by Aldebaran Robotics, also responds to keywords in some situations. But the robot can take and grasp objects, walk, talk, and see with two cameras, and can be programmed to do much more in multiple language alternatives. The robot can play games with a ball, protect its trunk in the case of a fall, and recognize faces. This robot and many other modern robots come with wi-fi. There is talk that the NAO robots might be used on harsh environments including the Interstellar movie. There is also the Honda Asimo, which can run at high speeds, dwarfing many other robots in that skill. Some computers and devices can even be transformed into robots, and use their sensory abilities in dynamic ways. Asimo extreme cuteness offers its users a compassionate interaction.
The Lego NXT is one of the more inexpensive robots, built from a brick surrounded by Legos, can be made at home. These robots are also programmed in Java programming language, which can perform various tasks, such as solving a Rubix Cube, recording and playback, or having a wrestling match. In these robots, the proven autonomy allows humans work alongside robots at home and in labs and universities.
Emotional robots are often geared towards faces and facial expressions, since humans are hardwired with at least 6 universal emotions. The top of the list includes ‘happiness’, ‘sadness’, ‘anger’, ‘disgust’, ‘fear’, and ‘surprise’. Many scientists agree that universal emotions reflect human based emotions. Knowing this, humans have built artificial skin with actual fluids to simulate a realistic face. These fluids, controlled by programming and hardware will cycle through emotional facial expressions, solely because, as humans, we gravitate toward emotion and faces. Expressing and understanding faces is a crucial branch of artificial intelligence.
Even small amounts of information can yield fascinating results in machine learning. There is supervised and unsupervised learning. Supervised learning involves learning from existing samples (supervised), and unsupervised learning essentially from probability. Scientists have created AI using these methods, or non-learning presets like ALICE does, and increasingly they feel that, when combined, different methods of creating AI will lead to even better results.
AI is truly a force to be reckoned with, and with ever-rising computer speeds, people will be able to do even more in the future.
Author: Erin Masterson, Software Engineer works in Java, Scripting, and C++. She is a TVM team developer at http://www.thevirtualmob.com/ that has worked on phases of our virtual reality software, augmented reality and associated programming. – CTY