Spark 177 —€“ March 25, 2012

This week on Spark:€“ We find out all about Angelina, the AI program that designs simple video games from scratch. Also, how to make robots more lovable, how a Roomba can work in harmony with your cat, and whether humans are tempted to destroy robots if given the chance. More robot fever, on Spark!

Michael Cook is a PhD student at Imperial College, and he’s fascinated by video games. He’s also fascinated by artificial intelligence, and he’s fascinated by creativity. And so, he’s found the perfect research – exploring whether Angelina, an artificial intelligence program he’s created, can design video games from scratch.

We know that human beings attach emotions to robots. We tend to think of them as anthropomorphic, even if we know they’re not alive. Young designer Julia Ringler wanted to know if humans would actually hurt robots, given the chance and how humans would feel about doing it. She engineered an experiment to find out.

As we move towards a future with robots and smart devices everywhere, the focus is usually on designing these objects to be as smart as people. But what if we created them instead to be as smart as a puppies? That’s a design philosophy Matt Jones embraces. He’s a principal at a design company called BERG and he wondered if it was possible to develop user interfaces to be well, a little more loveable. He calls his design theory “Be as smart as a puppy” (or BASAAP) – instead of designing for “artificial intelligence” we should emphasize “artificial empathy”.

Carlos Asmat is a young Montreal engineer with an idea for a social networking service: a social network for robots. As we get more and more ‘smart’ objects in our environment – from sensors to Roomba robots – what would happen if you could connect those objects so they can share updates and data?

http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2012/03/spark-177-march-25-2012/

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