Nine robots made their debut at the July UN Global Summit in Geneva discussing AI for Good, and center stage was Ai-Da, the world’s first AI powered artist.
“We have to engage and ensure a responsible future with AI,” explained the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin.
This means understanding how social robots can help share our new world – as they increasingly will be a part of it.
Looking very human like, the robots were standing upright or seated, and were asked questions. Having followed the developments of Hanson Robotics with Sophia, the first robot ambassador for the UN development program, seeing six other robots on stage, like Grace, a health robot, Desdemona, a rock star robot, with Ai-Da, the world’s first artist robot.
Meet Grace, developed by Hanson Robotics and SingularityNET, she is the world’s most developed nursing assistant robot. She has an interesting value proposition as she can support people’s health and well-being, provide high-quality educational services, reduce inequalities by helping persons with disabilities, reduce waste, help build resilient infrastructure, and broadly enhance social good. She is the world’s most advanced humanoid healthcare robot and Grace can recognize emotions and understand more than 100 languages.
Will our hospitals in the future have more care giving robot nurses to support our rapidly aging population and give more assisted care? With our extreme global shortage of nurses, estimated to be over 13 million by the World Health Organization (WHO), surely Grace can fill a social health gap.
Meet Ai-Da who came on the scene in February 2019, and draws and paints using cameras in her eyes and also using her robotic arm. She had her first artist exhibit ‘Unsecured Futures’, at the University of Oxford. She is a controversial artist as she continues to create art that challenges our notions of the artist and creativity, and her artwork generates many discussions over new technologies and their use or misuse. Like we used cameras to create art, cobots like Ai-Da will develop their own art, or help inspire artists and even – co-create art. We are now seeing the manifestation of something new created by AI inspirations.
Meet Nadine, one of the world’s most realistic cobots, created by the University of Geneva, and modelled by Prof Nadia Magnenat Thalman. This robot has a realistic human appearance, natural skin and hair, powered by very realistic hands. She makes direct eye contact and always remembers the conversations she has had with you, and engages in free flowing conversation which makes you feel very comfortable with her. Nadine is the ideal companion when nobody is there. She can assist people with special needs, read stories, help on face time or what’s up or even zoom sessions, send emails, and help to communicate with the family.
Nadine gives us a sense of what is to come where increasingly with an aging population and lack of sourcing nurses, or being able to afford a social care person to support special needs, we will increasingly more cobots enter our lives as the aging and health care crisis is only going to increase.
By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over. At this time the share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double (2.1 billion).
Bottomline, we simply don’t have sufficient health care and social support systems.
Cobots like Grace, Nadine and AI-Da offer us new pathways to bridge societal gaps. How we mesh humans and cobots successfully together and manage the safety risks of increasingly man machine interfaces opens up interesting ethical and regulatory challenges.
But what one can already see at this very early juncture is that our future world will be cobot friendly – serving up foods at our restaurants, vacuuming our homes, dispensing our pills, providing fitness training, giving us a much needed back rub, co-creating a painting, to simply being a friend.
Like a dog or cat has often become a man’s best friend – we are going to increasingly find more people very comfortable with their cobot friends for social interactions.
The long term societal risks are worth a longer discussion. So I will have to pick up this research in a future article.
Chromjakova, et al. Human and Cobot Cooperation Ethics
Nadine – Social Robot, Mira Lab, Geneva
Videos on Ai-Da can be sourced here