This weekend, the Süddeutsche Zeitung published a three-page dossier on the topic of affective computing. That Navel plays an important role in it and is even featured on the front page is a great honor for us. The text by Andrian Kreye discusses the new possibilities of machines to recognize and react to emotions. What is the state of development? And what are the opportunities and risks? Where is the technology already being used today and where will it be used in the future?
Mr. Kreye visited us in the office and was immediately enthusiastic about Navel. Accordingly, the article also begins with Navel. Several experts were interviewed on the subject, such as Prof. Rosalinde Picar, who “invented” Affective Computing at MIT, Boston, in 1995 and founded a company that uses the new possibilities of emotion recognition for marketing purposes.
Prof. Elisabeth André from the University of Augsburg is, among other things, the winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and, according to the German Informatics Society, one of the “ten most influential minds in German AI history” – she sees the opportunities for machines as social actors and reports on the limits of the technology.
Prof. Sami Haddadin conducts research at TUM, Munich, and is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence researching sentient robots to be used in physical care in the medium to long term.
Finally, Navel is presented as an existing empathic robot that exploits the opportunities of affective computing for its proactive interaction capability. I am interviewed about Navel’s design criteria, technology, use in nursing homes, among others, and limitations. And the author raves about Navel’s uniquely “alive” and sweet eyes, which he has not seen in any other robot.
The article concludes with the insight from WIRED: “By 2023, Emotional AI will be one of the most important applications of machine learning.” In doing so, the author finds that all scientists and developers involved are aware of the risks of this new technology in addition to the great opportunities.