Scientists in China have created the world’s first ‘AI child’, which has the emotional behaviour and capabilities of a three- or four-year-old human child.
The artificial intelligence model, named Tong Tong, or Little Girl in English, was created by the Beijing Institute for General Artificial Intelligence (BIGAI).
Although Tong Tong currently has the abilities of a toddler, it is continually improving. BIGAI researchers suggest that through further human interaction, Tong Tong could continuously develop her skills, knowledge and values.
The team said Tong Tong is capable of learning by itself, and may see a level of emotional engagement not yet seen in other AIs.
Its ability to interpret human emotions even stretches as far as being able to identify and communicate feelings like happiness, anger, and sadness and reacting appropriately to others’ emotional states.
Tong Tong was unveiled at the Frontiers of General Artificial Intelligence Technology in Beijing last month.
Visitors could interact with Tong Tong, and watch it display human-like skills – including being something of a neat-freak, fixing crooked picture frames and mopping up spilt milk.
Tong Tong also has a range of facial expressions and gestures, and can even hold a conversation.
‘Tong Tong possesses a mind and strives to understand the common sense taught by humans,’ a promotional video said.
‘She discerns right from wrong, expresses her attitudes in various situations, and has the power to shape the future.’
According to BIGAI director Zhu Songchun, a world-renowned scholar in the field of AI, for AI to advance it needs to be able to be capable of completing an infinite array of tasks and also define new ones autonomously.
‘To advance towards general artificial intelligence, we must create entities that can comprehend the real world and possess a wide range of skills,’ he said.
As we hear stories of AI gone rogue and violent, maybe more complex AI, like Tong Tong, would want to integrate with humans.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.