If a company brings back a dead celebrity via hologram and AI, who owns them? Can we use AI to teach robot dogs real human emotions? The answer to all these questions lie ahead, but first, we need to talk about Japan, where researchers are using VR to improve bodily awareness, here’s the entire story.
Virtual Reality Training To Improve Human Senses In The Long Run
To help Japan’s rapidly ageing society, researchers have developed a brand new use of Virtual Reality technology. They’ll be using it to retain motor functionalities in the country’s older population and improve sports training techniques. Here’s how VR comes into play.
Our body not only lets us use our limbs, including legs and arms, but also inform us where they are all the time. It doesn’t matter if your eyes are closed or open; you can easily sense your limbs lying in a particular position.
This combination of ownership and agency is a complex one and scientists are yet to separate them. In the virtual world, however, a Japanese researcher has had a breakthrough. Professor Kazumichi Matsumiya from the Graduate School of Information Sciences at Tohoku University, isolated these two elements using the VR.
In his study, he made his participants wear VR headsets and allowed them to control a virtual hand on the screen. He found that his participants exerted a higher level of motor control over the artificial hand, regardless of its ownership.
His findings suggest that Virtual Reality could massively help in the “effectiveness of rehabilitation” and improve several sports training methods used by athletes.
Such technology could also speed up the recovery process of patients undergoing physical therapy. During unfortunate accidents, the surviving members often end up losing their motor functions. Training them using VR could help them recover without putting their actual bodies at risk.
AI Brings Dead Singer’s Voice To Life, Raises Ownership And Ethical Debate
In South Korea, an AI startup plans to bring a deceased singer back to life to perform his first-ever duet in over three decades. The late Koren sensation Kim-Kwang Seok will perform on Seoul Broadcasting System’s (SBS) new show titled “Competition of the Century: Ai vs Human.”
During the show, Kim’s AI-made voice will sing a duet alongside another popular female singer Ock Joo-Hyun, a popular Korean singer from the ’90s.
The AI startup responsible for bringing Kim’s voice to life is called the “Supertone.” According to the firms COO Heedoo Choi, their main motive is to provide AI-enabled audio solutions to the interested parties. He explained that if the popular K-Pop band BTS is too busy, they can still easily record a new piece of content using Supertone’s AI technology, without physically being present in the recording studio.
Experts at Supertone used 100 different songs from 20 singers to ready the sound mimicking AI to produce the deceased singer’s voice. After the initial training, the AI was given Kim’s 10 songs to learn and mimic.
Not only the AI was capable of producing the voice of the singer but also successfully recreated his accent.
Such kind of AI-precision is bound to raise some eyebrows from ethicists and legal rights advocates. Particularly, people are concerned about the ownership rights of the new content being produced by deceased artists.
In Kim’s case, the label took permission from his family members and paid them a one-time fee before creating a song using his voice. Part of the show will be published on YouTube, but no new single under Kim’s name will be published, the record label made it clear.
The issue does raise an important question. Kim’s case was an exception as his family was available to give consent. However, if AI ever brought back a centuries-old artist like Mozart, the ownership of any new creation of his will result in a heated debate.
Google Wants AI To Be The Hero
Google is again in the news and not for a good reason. Last time we reported that the tech giant fired one of its prominent AI researcher over a disputed issue. And this time Google is allegedly telling its scientists not to publish any research papers critical of Artificial Intelligence.
This year, Google established a “Sensitive Topics” review section to fish out any scientific papers that criticise AI. According to a Reuter’s report, four scientific team members claim that Google is interfering in studies that can potentially point out the AI’s danger.
According to Google, due to the modern world’s ever-growing complexities, even our seemingly inoffensive projects can raise ethical, legal, regulatory or reputational issues. The tech giant has currently asked its scientists to consult with the concerned legal and policy team before publishing new findings critical of AI. Google made it clear that its research teams have “substantial” freedom.
Needless to say, the entire situation is not a good look for the company.
AI To Teach Robot Dogs Human Emotions
There is no surety of an AI takeover, but the technology will certainly make life easier for all of us. For instance, the new robot dogs from a company called “Koda,” will soon understand human emotions thanks to AI.
Unlike other robot dogs made by companies like Boston Dynamics, the Koda pet robot dogs are designed to interact socially with their human owners. These dogs possess the ability to sense whenever their owner is sad, happy or excited and respond appropriately.
There is always a risk of electronic devices or machines getting hacked, which is why the Koda robot dogs use de-centralised blockchain technology to store their data, making them impervious to hacking.
In addition to emotional support, the Koda robot dogs also offer real-world surveillance capabilities thanks to multiple inbuilt sensors and high definition cameras. Like real dogs, Koda robot dogs also have functioning head and tail and 14 high-torque motors to make them agile enough for real-world activities.
To provide additional control, Koda robot dogs also come with a 97% accuracy voiceprint recognition. Meaning your pet dog comes with the ability to identify you amongst a variety of voices.
Whenever such an invention shakes the market, people naturally think that robot dogs will replace real dogs in our lives. I, however, have a positive spin on the entire situation. Robot dogs can be a great companion to our dogs in every situation and can aid service dogs and police K9 units in their work.
Doomers always claim that AI will take over humans; on the other hand, some people chose to remain ignorant over any of its shortcomings. The answer as always lies somewhere in between, proving yet again that moderation is the key to all things, even when talking about the infinitely powerful Artificial Intelligence.