European researchers are developing a software that will give robots the power to learn when a person is sad, happy or angry. The Feelix Growing project is putting together simple robots that can detect different parameters—facial expressions, voice and proximity—to determine emotional states. The aim of the project is to develop a robot that can serve humans with special needs, such as the ill and the elderly. Using adaptable neural networks, the robot can learn the correct way to respond to people's emotions from experience.
For instance, if someone shows fear, the robot can learn to change its behaviour to appear less threatening. If someone seems happy, the robot can make a mental (or, I guess, digital) note of what brought on that response. And if someone seems upset and lonely, the robot can give her a pat on the back, offer her a stiff drink and say "Elaine, you deserved someone better than that dickwad anyhow."
I, for one, welcome our new emotionally adept overlords. [Physorg]