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Facebook AI Learns Human Reactions After Watching Hours of Skype


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Naturalistic reactions are the way to evade the Uncanny Valley.

Researchers in Facebooks Artificial Intelligence lab have developed an expressive bot controlled by an artificially intelligent algorithm.

Credit: Getty Images

Researchers at Facebook's Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab have developed an expressive animated bot controlled by an artificially intelligent algorithm trained on hundreds of videos of Skype conversations, so it could learn and mimic how humans adjust their expressions in response to each other.

The algorithm optimized its learning curve by dividing the human face into 68 key points monitored throughout each Skype conversation. After analyzing the videos, the bot could look at new video of a human speaking, and chose the most appropriate facial response in real time.

The researchers tested the system with volunteers who watched animations that included both the bot reacting to a human, and a human reacting to a human. Participants judged the bot and the human to be equally natural and realistic.

The Facebook bot produces a kind of "average personality," but future bots might choose from a range of personalities or adapt their own to match the person with whom they communicate.

From New Scientist
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