Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have unveiled “Nadine,” a socially intelligent, human-looking robot complete with “her own personality, mood and emotions,” according to a university news release.
The humanoid “receptionist” was presented at a new media showcase Tuesday at NTU, where her human creator, professor Nadia Thalmann, predicted that “physical social robots such as Nadine are poised to become more visible in offices and homes in future.”
Nadine was created to be a doppelganger of Thalmann, according to NTU’s news release, which said the “humanoid” has “soft skin and flowing brunette hair. She smiles when greeting you, looks at you in the eye when talking, and can also shake hands with you.”
The bot “can be happy or sad, depending on the conversation” and she “also has a good memory” with the ability to recognize people she’s met and remember what those people have said before, NTU said. The university added that “Nadine is powered by intelligent software similar to Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.”
“As countries worldwide face challenges of an aging population, social robots can be one solution to address the shrinking workforce, become personal companions for children and the elderly at home, and even serve as a platform for healthcare services in future,” Thalmann said, according to the NTU news release.
“This is somewhat like a real companion that is always with you and conscious of what is happening,” she added. “So in future, these socially intelligent robots could be like C-3PO, the iconic golden droid from ‘Star Wars’, with knowledge of language and etiquette.”
A video posted to NTU’s Facebook page shows Nadine recognizing Thalmann and engaging in conversation with her. The video had over 25,000 views as of this afternoon.
Though hundreds of social media users have made similar comments about the robots being “creepy,” “scary,” and “potentially dangerous,” many experts believe these fears will go away over time as the technology becomes more popularly used.
“A yew years ago, people’s biggest worry about technology was privacy, now it’s robots taking over the world,” said Carlos Guestrin, a professor of machine larning at the Computer Science & Engineering Department of the University of Washington.
Guestrin told ABC News that he believes “we’re far from developing human-like technology that could have a negative impact” and that as advances in AI in the near future will likely have “a more positive impact.”
“Self-driving vehicles are making vehicles safer, automation and smarter devices are making homes safer,” he said. “I think AI, especially those that can see and understand emotions, will be helping us with a wide range of tasks and making a lot of lives better.”