London: Scientists are developing a new computer system which they claim will be able to talk to human beings by simply reacting to signals such as tone of voice and facial expression.
A team at Queen’s University in Belfast is making the computer, known as Sensitive Artificial Listener (SAL) system, as part of a European project called SEMAINE.
SAL will perceive a person’s facial expression, voice and then engage with him in a discussion. When engaging with a human, it will adapt its own performance and pursue different actions depending on the non-verbal behaviour of the user.
“A basic feature of human communication is that it is coloured by emotion. When we talk to another person, the words are carried on an undercurrent of signs that show them what attracts us, what bores us and so on.
“The fact that computers do not currently do this is one of the main reasons why communicating with them is so unlike interacting with a human. It is also one of the reasons we can find them so frustrating.
“SEMAINE and projects like it will change the way people interact with technology. They mean that you will be talking to your computer in 20 years’ time.
“These new developments depend on connecting technology to the relevant understanding of people, and it is recognised worldwide that we have a distinctive strength in bringing psychology, linguistics and ethics to bear on the process of developing the new systems.
“Today when we use technology we adopt a style of communication that suits the machine. Through projects like , SEMAINE, we will develop technology that will eventually communicate in ways that suit human beings,” lead researcher Prof Roddy Cowie was quoted by the ‘ScienceDaily´ as saying.
SEMAINE is led by DFKI, the German centre for research on Artificial Intelligence.