Sat. Feb 4th, 2023
Humanoid robots cannot outsource their brains to the cloud due to network latency

Using the cloud to move robot intelligence to remote clusters may seem like an obvious way to make some types of domestic or industrial robots lighter and therefore more mobile, but it is a measure that makers of humanoid robots and androids won’t help.

That’s the view of Hiroshi Ishiguro, the world’s top Android creator, who was famous for creating an Android copy of himself. Ishiguro says network latency is too high for cloud-brained androids to communicate with humans at something like the speed people talk to each other.

Speaking at a conference of the UK government’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network at the Japanese embassy in London – to encourage cooperation on robotics between the UK and Japan – Ishiguro said transferring the intelligence from an Android to a data center or remote cluster would break all the rules they’ve been working on. for credible human-robot interaction.

“Accessing a cloud computer takes too long. The half-second delay is too noticeable for a human,” said Ishiguro, an award-winning roboticist at Osaka University in Japan. “In real life, you never wait half a second for someone to respond. People respond much faster.”

Even a relatively simple speech recognition or translation app that accesses the cloud experiences lag, he notes. So asking a robot a question, having it query a cloud service for an answer, sending it back and letting the android speak leads to unacceptable response time. That delay would plunge you back into a trough of creepiness known as the “uncanny valley,” where the robot appears to be a humanoid entity, but your brain actually registers it as a fraudulent simulacrum of true humanity.

Hiroshi Ishiguro… and robot Hiroshi Ishiguro

I robots

Ishiguro’s comments came as he unveiled his latest plans for banishing creepy reactions — with the technology built into “Erica,” his team’s five-year project to create the most believable Android interlocutor yet. Using silent pneumatic muscles in its face and torso, in addition to voice recognition and synthesis engines, this android can hold conversations on limited topics while also displaying believable, dynamic body language. Watch the video below if you want to see Erica in action.

The pneumatic air cylinders are the best way they’ve found to simulate human muscle movements in the upper body, says Ishiguro. But making the most advanced humanoid robot doesn’t come cheap – and he’s not shy about admitting it. “We spent so much money. The body cost $200,000, and the voice synthesis — and it’s a perfect voice capable of emotional expression — cost another $200,000. And that was at a special discount.”

Erica, Ishiguro’s newest robot interlocutor

A year into the project, Erica is pulling her information from 10 local PCs—and, thanks to continued cloud delays, it will stay that way, Ishiguro says. Even with lightning-fast fiber optic internet delivery, the Osaka team, working with partners from Kyoto University and Japan’s Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute, has found that delays at internet access points still make cloud response times unacceptable. “So we will still have to use on-board computers to get a quick answer,” says Ishiguro.

Erica’s artificial intelligence assimilates a huge amount of data from an array of sensors, including microphones and cameras. “The system is very complicated. With ten computers running, we also got her to recognize people’s voices and faces,” says Ishiguro.

By akfire1

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