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How to Build an Intelligent Machine | Björn Schuller

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Published on Oct 21, 2015

The secret to raising smart machines will be teaching them social and emotional intelligence, says Björn Schuller. The World Economic Forum Young Scientist, says future machines will learn like a child from its mother how to read emotions, sense moods, spot health conditions and be creative. “We’ll then need to ensure that we remain in control,” says Schuller, “so we know what these machines are thinking and doing.”

Click on the link to watch the whole video, or read key quotes below.

On cultivating machine intelligence
“An intelligent machine needs great perceptive abilities and great communicative skills. What does it actually takes for a machine to be intelligent? Let me highlight just three aspects: it needs to be able to learn from data, to achieve goals and ultimately reach brain-like, or maybe even beyond brain-like, intelligence.”

“An example from the movies: you may know Johnny Five from Short Circuit movie. Johnny Five was going around and exploring the world by talking to a lot of humans, and constantly asking for more input from them. So he was interacting a lot with them, and cooperatively learning with humans about the world around him.”

“So the computer gets helps from us, and it learns from us what this new data means. It can add it to its experience and enhance its model of the world. An intelligence system would then not only decide when to ask, but also who to ask, just like a child would decide to ask mommy something.”

On Learning together
“The movie Matrix had a sinister view on what machines will do in the future - that they will use it as bio batteries. Let’s share a more positive view on how they can benefit from us. Rather than using us as these battery tanks, they could source knowledge from the crowd, even directly scanning our brain to learn from us.”

“Building an intelligent machine will need human help, in particular to tell the machine about the world. Let me give you one example from my favorite application domain - speech processing. We've been collecting a lot of information sources about what is inside speech. You can sense a whole lot of things from the voice: the intoxication of somebody, the sleepiness of somebody, and the cognitive load level at that very moment.”

“You can also spot health-related states such as autism or Parkinson's disease. You can also sense the emotion, interest, height, and personality. But what you really need is loads of data, and you need human help to get information on what is inside of this data.”

On reading emotions
“You might have seen the Hollywood movie “Big Hero 6”, about a medical robot that teaches a boy about moral values. It teaches the boy that revenge is not the right way to go. How does this look in reality? In a European project I coordinated, we worked with an intelligent computer system, to teach autistic children (in a playful way) how to express emotion in a way that other people understand.”

“This machine uses its perceptive abilities to sense the voice, body gesturing and facial expression. From that the machine then tells the child how to better express emotions so that others understand. It seems that intelligent machines in the future can not only learn from us, but also teach us - leading to a loop of exchange between machines and humans, increasing intelligence of the machines.”

“But we’re lacking one component for a machine to be intelligent, and that is emotional intelligence. Maybe you've also seen “Ex Machina” – a machine that is not only capable of having a human fall in love with her, but to exploit that human for her own goals. You can imagine how much social and emotional intelligence that takes. Mankind has had emotion as a survival factor in its history. It's my belief that in the future intelligent machines will also have emotion as a key survival factor.”

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