Disney have found a goldmine when it comes to children. Whether it’s dominating the film releases in 2019 or branching out into augmented reality, a majority of decisions are made with the children in mind simply because if you have the children hooked, the parents are hooked by default.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Disney has decided to do a bit of research related to children and how they can make the robots in their theme parks more friendly towards kids.
The research that was released today came in a batch of three. The research wanted to improve communication with smart machines as well as robots, as well as see whether or not children are okay with them.
The first experiment involved introducing a bunch of children to a robot called Piper who was controlled by a puppeteer in another room to make it look realistic to children. The robot had a set of recorded responses that were programmed into it that it drew on from experimental tests done previously.
By programming the robot with this knowledge, it should know what to say and just how to say it, but because children are well, children and don’t really know how to say words properly just yet, it throws the robots into a bit of trouble.
The researchers put it in way more eloquent terms than that:
As human-robot dialog faces the challenges of long-term interaction, understanding how to use prior conversation to foster a sense of relationship is key because whether robots remember what we’ve said, as well as how and when they expose that memory, will contribute to how we feel about them.
I kind of feel like this about AI. I bet the kids do too. If you want to read about the other experiments, you can read about it here.