SAN FRANCISCO--When Swiss developers designed the QB1 robot, they weren't going for human-like looks or cute puppydog mannerisms.
Instead, they're hoping QB1 will hook people in on a more meaningful level--by providing a handy music-suggestion service--and thus giving the robot continuous exposure to data stemming from real human interaction.
Artificial intelligence "systems need to learn in the real world, from real people. You cannot program them with knowledge from the real world," said Frederic Kaplan, CEO and co-founder of QB1 developer OZWE.
The QB1 was showcased to the public last weekend at Swissnex, an annex of the Consulate General of Switzerland here that's dedicated to bridging knowledge in science, education, art, and innovation between Switzerland and North America.
QB1 is what Kaplan calls a "robotic object"; people interact with it through gestures. In its first application, QB1 is loaded with a kind of disc jockey feature because that invites people to spend time with it.
Kaplan got this idea out of his experience working for 10 years with Sony's world famous dog-like AI robot, Aibo.
"What was frustrating was that nobody was interacting with it long-term. There are so many objects in your house, so why interact with an object that is only for pleasure?" he said. And as Aibo needed time with humans to learn, this was a fundamental problem.
"The limit for AI is not computing power, it's getting experience," Kaplan said. So QB1 tries to steal your time doing something useful, playing your music. The AI system incorporated into QB1 has about five different strategies to intelligently predict what music you want to listen to at the moment. … Read more