Microsoft has announced a new project called Project Natal. A software that allows the user to interact with an artificial intelligent character named Milo.
As you can see and hear in the video Milo is able to recognize people. Even more interesting the system is able to recognize emotions in face, voice and gesture and Milo reflects emotions as well.
“This is about you meeting a character, a person.”
After a short period of time the real person experiencing Milo interacts with him like a real person. She even felt the need to catch the glasses Milo throws in her direction. It is even possible to hand in things into the system, as this is done with a painting that has been handed into the system, and Milo recognizes the hand-painted picture.
„This is a landmark in computer entertainment.“
These are the words with which the video ends. But we don’t think that this technology is limited to entertainment only.
Just image the possibilities with such a technology in systems like ticket automats at central stations or interactive 3D billboards where a Milo talks to your customers and can interact with them, answer their questions or places an order with them directly. Or think about complaint management via telephone or webcam calls – service employees that are totally snowed under and on their limits – Milo will never become angry or irritated and will consult your customers at any time. In this case waiting times could be reduced to zero, as there is a Milo available for everybody at any time and he will never forget anything.
This could revolutionize interactive advertising, services and many more.
The question is how many years will it take Milo to become more emphatic. At the moment he has some emotions and can react to emotions of real people, but probably he won’t be able to analyze really complex emotions and situations like humans do. To analyze situations humans make use of previous knowledge and experiences the brain has made and organizes this in patterns. So we are able to analyze situations unconsciously, hence, very quickly through these patterns. By the way, this is what is commonly called ‘gut instinct’.
Nevertheless Project Natal is a really interesting and fascinating Project by Microsoft and we look forward for more innovations on artificial intelligence like this.