Stunning, amazing, surprising… These are the words used by the media to talk about the first presenter on television, humanoid chinese, inaugurated recently by the news agency Xinhua News Agency. It is said that he was impressed by the technical performance to design this kind of a robot and its appearance is strongly anthropomorphic. But it is not to consider the reality of mechanisms technology behind this cluster of electrical circuits and silicone. This robot is manipulated algorithmically by a human, has no knowledge of the situation and no empathy. And yet, it is obvious that the presenter robot without heart and without body heat we touch the point you want to congratulate him for his first tv ! We are trapped, and the culprit of this empathy spontaneous is none other than Eliza. A well-known phenomenon in artificial Intelligence, but little-known victims who feel emotionally committed to a machine with a human appearance. Do not trust appearances ! Eliza you trap !

In 1966, the scientist Joseph Weizenbaum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing a chatterbot by the name of Eliza, who communicates in writing with patients in psychotherapy. Eliza does that reformulate the statements of the patients in the form of questions or add answers such as ” I understand you. “For example, in the phrase of the patient” little, I did not get along with my brother “, the machine could meet the ” small, you do not hear it with your brother ? “After a few exchanges of the kind, the patient developed very frequently an empathy spontaneous to Eliza, who seemed to be human. Since we are talking about the phenomenon Eliza to describe this emotional dependence triggered by the contact and interaction with a robot with a strong human resemblance in its words, its morphology, or its actions. We throw out our microwave broke without states of soul, but we can be sad to give up our voice assistant to be defective. And yet, the two have algorithms without any beating of the heart !

Be wary of appearances

The presenter of television robotic chinese is not human, has no general intelligence, and not will probably be never. It has, therefore, no consciousness to exist. And yet, we give it a special place by its characteristics highly anthropomorphic. Eliza has acted ! What would we have felt if this robot was accidentally fell out of his seat, or if he had lost an eye or an arm in the air ? Discomfort painful. We need to understand the functioning of such robots to prevent Eliza to take place in our lives, to risk of us to lose our critical mind and ultimately our free will.

Ironically, we talk more about this robot low-impact on the world that the robot LarvalBot, which will soon repopulate the seabed of corals for the protection of the planet. LarvalBot has no human appearance, a pity for him, Eliza will not be his accomplice. It is certain, the impact of an innovation is independent of its characteristics anthropomorphic. It is thus necessary to be wary of appearances… and Eliza !

* Aurélie Jean is a doctor in sciences and digital entrepreneur. This specialist French algorithms has conducted five years of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On the same subject, Aurélie Jean, The man soon to be obsolete in the face of the machines ?

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