Agents to Live with
May 25, 2017, 2PM
A dream dating back to the 1940s, robots that "live with" and assist citizens in their homes have become a nearby reality in the age of the 4th industrial revolution. With current technological breakthroughs, artificial agents like robots or virtual humans are envisioned to become social actors that may be empathetic and cooperative. But will it be possible one day to have machines that live up to human communication abilities and that take on the role of social partners? The artificial agent Max, a virtual human developed by the Bielefeld AI group over a period of more than a decade, has been a pioneering example in this regard. Exploiting findings from the study of natural communication, Max has helped to design technical systems with which we shall be able to communicate more easily. In the second half of my talk, I will discuss some recent research at Bielefeld University’s Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC). The focus will be on systems which can support citizens in the aging population to maintain a longer independent life. Finally, I will discuss ethical issues such as the dignity and emotional needs of senior citizens and whether agents to live with could be company or support for the elderly. These issues will become ever more important in our aging society, where human caring is bound to be sparse within a few decades.