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TEDxSeeds-Hiroshi Ishiguro-12/12/09 : Robots are mirrors of human heart

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(preparing) Thank you for having me today. I am not sure if I can present you an interesting talk as the last speaker of this conference. I'd like to start with introduction of what I study. Then, it may sound a bit exaggerated, but I would like to end up with a discussion of why we, I mean, I live. There are so many challenges ahead in my study, but I don't really care. My passion is not making my own clone. This is the android of myself as you see, but, I must stress I am "NOT" studying to make this android. (laughter) Long time ago, quite long time back, I asked Alan Kay of Apple Inc. "What would the information society look like in the future? " "I believe android-oriented society will be next, how do you think?" He yelled me saying that "YOU ARE A CREATOR, right!? Not a critic." "So, just create the world as you imagine." What a fool I was, I realized immediately. Most of media, including those who interviewed me this morning, ask me same kind of questions. However, all we can say is we can only create the world that we imagine that we will create that world. It might not come true. Like today's mobile and computer society, well, possibly big hero like Alan Kay may have it happened as he imagined and designed. For my case, no matter if it will come true or not, I want to be "Prepared" for it, That's why I keep saying "we will create such world of androids" in these days. Now, here you see, I work not only on androids, but also seriously work on robots. I don't mean android is just for fun, but I work on some practical robots as well. This is an shopping mall in Osaka called Universal City. A few of them are remote-controlled. About 90% is automated. And they guide people in the mall. These robots are monitoring all human movements, and they are also programmed to move up to a person and guide. One operator controls about 4 robots here. Since it is possible for one can control up to 10 robots at the same time, you can give a variety of services with them today. Now, when you are on designing such a new world, a thought-provoking process, like "should appearance of robots stay fine as is?" emerged. Traditional scholars on robots focuses just on how they move, and not enough attention on how they appear. But I think both are important. Appearance and movement. Why have appearance been put away for industrial designer to work with, without enough researches on this issue by scholars? This is my question. When you ask which is more important, most teenagers care much about appearance rather than fixing their own habits, they only check their appearance when going out It hits me so hard, that human beings care an appearance to such a degree about appearance but we've never studied much on it, have we? So, I started to study robots more than 10 years ago. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries commercialized this robot and we still work to improve, then, at the same time, we started studying androids and appearances. Then we made my copy and more importantly, try hard to make a world ahead of robotics. While working on these, I sought for long time what I want to do in my life, and it came to me that I simply want to make human. I don't know which came first but I want to understand human to make human The reason of living life is, I think, to understand human, I do not think we human is only live to eat and sleep Any kind of works helps understand human. Especially, mine is rather easy to start with, because it goes straight to the point once you start to make androids and, want to understand human, you start thinking of appearance, movement, perception, dialogue capability, satisfaction of developing software, and so on. Each one of them is a great challenge. And of course, problems sometimes seem insuperable. But you can work on them, more we work, newer robots we make. This is why I do what I do When you imagine robots, many of you may expect robots in the factory. Study on industrial robots are about to end. What's coming next in Japan is to make robots that work in daily activities and common life. What makes difference from the factory is whether humans involve or not. And no one yet knows how we make the robots that interact with humans. While human-ness is hardly understood, we have to make robots that make interactions with humans. This seems like an extreme dilemma, but when you think of it, you can find that it is all the same to all the products around you. such as mobile phone. How do we decide the design of mobile phone? If the design were optimal for humans, it would never change. But, the designs of phones, TV, and refrigerator change quite often. So speaking of products in everyday life, people make products to study how human use them. You study how human use them, then you will have better understanding of human, and again improve the products. It's this repetition that's important. Why wide TV set is good? Because it makes scenes realistic. But how realistic? We don't know. So we introduce it to the market, get various feedbacks, and then understand such ratio of display design makes scenes realistic to us. This is how we understand human through developing technology and making products. This has been so through out history The resource of ideas in technology is human ability such as, wanting manual work to be done automatically. In Renaissance, when steam engine was invented, they made steam androids. When clock was invented, they made Automata. Such non-useful androids were invented. This tells us we have the long history in which people want to understand human through technology. And we are still working on it. Some say, they get richer by producing and having more and more materials and goods, but I doubt that. The volume of materials and goods produced never defines your happiness. Are you happier than those 100 and 200 years ago? No body knows, however, it is very sure that we have more than enough in both hands. By replacing much of human capabilities to various materials and technology, we can get some sense of what is human nature and what's not I think this is what we've been doing since and parhaps forever. And it makes sense in my study as well so far. This is why I must study cognitive science, psychology, brain science, sociology, robotics, mechanical engineering, and artificial intelligence, which means there's no vacation for me. I am not going to talk about all of that today, will focus on androids. The first inspiration of making android was from the frustration. The frustration that no body cares about appearance of robots. Frankly, I quarreled hard with designers, involving a company of robot development. In that discussion, I totally failed to convince them on the point. Why their design was missing the point, and how to design a robot that makes human interacting more intimately with them. So I decided to study designs for appearance and the first android had the same size as my 4-year-old daughter. I thought "This is it!" (Laughter) This is the opportunity to make her android. Otherwise, it won't be soon to have another child. So I decided to make her android. Later you'll see a bit on how. Because of little budget at that time, no motor was embedded to the body. When it nodded, the body was shook like a zombie. This was very scary. And children at three or four years old are quite sensitive to this kind of situation. So, the first time when my daughter met her android, she cried, not because she met her copy but simply because it was scary. And she told me "I'll never ever go to daddy's school". (Laughter) Later on, we found it hard to make small androids so we enlarged it in size This female one's model was Ms. Fujii Ayako and displayed at World Expos in 2006, as the android with human-like legs, appearance, and all perceptions. Even up close to the android, its legs looks very realistic. And it is true also to my daughter's android but these androids actually smell like real human. We are very sensitive to human-like appearance. In other words, human-like appearance reminds us of how human smells like. I am not going to tell you how Ms. Fujii smells like, I will leave it to your imagination, but we note that we are that sensitive to appearance. Many of these small movements has their own meanings and importance. For example, even if you're sitting down still, your eyes and shoulders are constantly moving. If it wasn't, it means you are dead. As long as you are alive, you're constantly moving. So I developed a skin sensor which senses and reacts when touched as shown here. The thing is, usually people will get angry when someone keeps on hitting you like this, but androids doesn't, because they don't have mental state. There are many psychological theories which seems to be reliable but yet unsubstantiated. However from those theories, we can write a program for androids for example to get mad when hit 3 times. By experimenting several models, gradually we can verify the correct theory. This is a great test data for psychologists. This is a program was made by my fellow students, using an device called "motion capture"�C which enables precise calculation of each motion. When a friend of mine who is a brain surgeon came to see, he said "it's pretty much real," but later he said, "but it has a brain disorder". Basically what he meant was that it's still different from a real human being. I can also tell it's different, however I don't know WHAT that difference is. This is the critical point. We have to make the program as same as human brain works, or there will always be a sense of artificialness. Therefore, as of now, I am working on improving the program by gathering information from experts such as medical doctors studying Parkinson disease, because they are to be experts on how the brain controls the body. When I made that female android, many people requested they want to talk to her more to her longer, but that is impossible because computers and human brains are simply as different as night and day So what I ended up to, was to make a copy of myself as you see, then, remote-control it, in order to make longer communication possible. So natural movements and other simple reactions are automatic but complex movements such as talking are done manually through the monitor. These lips are made to synchronize with the one talking. The one talking to the android and the one controlling the android will get used to this situation after a while. People will actually look into the android's eye while talking and a controller will start to feel as if the android is his or her own body. This happens because the brain is not strongly connected to it's body in the first place. Like when we walk, we aren't conscious about how each muscle move and how senses are transported to our brain. Brain is just trusting the body is moving as it demanded. This is why when you recognize some parts, such as your neck and mouth being synchlonized with the android, your brain starts to believe other parts are also synchronized as well. Here's an example. It is VERY irritating when some one pokes you like this. Especially this android is as he can't walk away yet. But anyhow you will receive that feeling of being poked. I can't show you other video since it was of TV coverage video, but when your android is hugged by a beautiful lady, you as a controller get really excited. This explains the difference, why an android is nothing like TV telephone. You can exist there with your tactile sense. And we can do meetings with this, naturally. I tell my students that they can touch my body. My fellows are in laboratory in Nara with Professor Hiraki of Tokyo University, while I am in Osaka in this experiment. The students did not touch the android even I told them they could, because they were so nervous for doing so. When I get mad through the android by conrolling, they, students will be crestfallen. So there is no problem doing meetings with this. My looks, movements, talks, everything is there. The only problem is that the lab won't pay me if my android goes to work instead of me. I don't understand why. I have never been checked whether I have my brain or any other organs with me when I go to my lab, ATR Laboratory. But it has everything else. That's why I feel that the laws of this society are all wrong. My daughter, again, she is in middle school now. She recently wrote that she wants to become a researcher in her essay or something and it almost made my cry. I was relieved that she wasn't traumatized with her experiences with the androids. Anyway, when you see her reactions here, as you can see, the number of her movements such as the eyecontacts and syncronization of the body are the same. Although she calls it "artificial daddy", if I keep doing this a little longer, she might start calling it just "daddy". Then I will be proud to start my second life. Since there ain't much time left, I'll skip few slides. Ah, other children can accommodate easily too. This is Ars Electronica, very famous art festival in Austria, and I displayed some of my works there. What I noticed was that Japanese and Austrian aren't much different. They both enjoyed it. For this festival, we prepared a simple interface so that anyone could control the android. Android can easily be controlled by capturing controller's movements and expressions while sitting in front of the monitor. Then a child around the age of middle school came up, and he made many friends through my body there. Like that, everyone loved controlling it. What most impressed me was when a blind child came. The child was able to talk to others, as if he wasn't blind. No other media can do this. Not cell phone, not TV telephone but with androids, it's possible and we'll have a sense of being touched. Another experiment was operated in the perspective of what near future might become. In this experiment, I just left the android in a cafe in for 3 weeks. Half of the people didn't notice it was an android. The other half recognized it and came to talk to it, but since it can talk back, so they naturally become friends. So every night I sneaked into this android and made friends by me just being in Japan. I did so many experiment, like replacing a cell phone with this android. When you talk using a cell phone or skype loudly at fancy restaurants you are likely to be asked out, but no one warns you when we talk with this android. So if you want to call someone in the train without being annoyed, this is your perfect solution. No one will get irritated by it. I believe this will become the "NEXT THING" after a cell phone. Seriously. So I am right now, working on making a simple version of the android. Cell phone made people to communicate regardless of time or distance but android can send your existence itself. I don't know if it will be popular as cell phone is today, but I am pretty sure that this media is "NEXT". Just like Mr. Yamada was talking previously, it will be great if we could work something together. Sorry that was a bit of a sales talk. Anyways, you feel comfortable even if you are having lunch with it. You could run such cafes and restruarants, where one can enjoy a meal while being accompanied by an android. If such service allows alcohol, then it might turn into an adult service and then get banned, but it will be a safe service, because androids will do all the service while girls are at home controlling it. You guys know what I mean, right? In some cases, androids are more "human" than human. A movie called �gSurrogates�h will be released on January 21st, and I will be in the opening of the movie. The leading actor is Bruce Willis. This is the movie that presents the androids directly. Please check it out. For that matter, I published a book last month. Some things I talked today are written in this book. If you read this book and then watch �gSurrogates�h, you will understand how close the movie is to reality, and actual stage of researchs. In the movie �gSurrogates�h, androids are presented as more simple being than human. For example, they will die instantly when unplugged, but when it's dead, wthey are nothing but a human being. How about this? You feel the humanity drastically, don't' you? So, how about this? In this moment, androids are very humane. Humans can't do it. If you do this to human it will be a huge problem but robots can do this. Which is more expressive? Another doubtful issue. Androids can be more expressive when compared to emotionless people. The movie didn't mention nor expressed about that much. For example, young people are dull about correcting phrases or use of their own language, but these androids can be controlled by anybody, so we can "create" a very literate young person. Which is more humane? I believe we can create an android more humane than we human itself. So I believe in the future, there will be a possibility, of human becoming more and more simple, while technologies will become to be more "humane". As I make androids, I always think about the existence of humans, minds and hearts. For example, human heart. I directed a robot drama with Oriza Hirata, with little rendering, everyone can feel robot does have mind of its own. I mean "Everyone". So, we have to be cautious. Some day robots can be more humane than us. I don't have much time left to talk more details, but all the rest is written in this book. If you watch the movie �gSurrogates�h after reading the book, you will realize how close SF world has become. You might experience remote operating android becoming the major media after cell phone. And I hope you enjoy it. In conclusion, I believe that a robot is a mirror to reflect human heart and, it makes us think "WHO" we are, and "WHAT" we are. In association with philosophy, psychology and social science, the robot research will be even more interesting and will evolve in future. I will stop here before she stops me. Thank you. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 40 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 143
Posted by: translators on Jan 15, 2010

TEDxSeeds Talks Hiroshi Ishiguro : Robots are mirrors of human heart

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