Shanghai : She is beauty with the brains! Say hello to Jia Jia, a bionic woman, who is claimed to be China’s first ever human-like robot. The charming Jia Jia is life-like as she can hold simple conversation. Not only this, she can even change her facial expressions when she is asked to do so.
According to her creators, the eerily robot heralds a future of cyborg labour in China. Last year, a team of engineers at the University of Science and Technology of China trotted out Jia Jia for the first time.
Jia Jia’s prototype was unveiled by a team of its creators on Monday at an economic conference organised by banking giant UBS in Shanghai’s futuristic financial centre. Team leader Chen Xiaoping sounded like a proud father as he introduced Jia Jia to the world.
Chen said that in near future artificially intelligent (AI) robots such as Jia Jia will be able to perform a range of tasks in Chinese restaurants, nursing homes, hospitals and households.
“In 5-10 years there will be a lot of applications for robots in China,” Chen said.
Jia Jia looks strikingly real as she dons traditional Chinese attire and boasts beautiful black hair. However, her charm has limits and she is frequently stumped by simple questions.Despite the drawbacks, Chen says his team has made great progress over the past two years in developing the robot’s AI.
When asked about the weather, Jia Jia accurately answered, she got involved in basic conversations and was even able to recognise the gender of her questioners.
“You are a handsome man,” she complimented one, but when asked later if she has a boyfriend, replied, “I prefer to stay single.”
Products related to AI were among the major attractions at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Several products were introduced that were capable of responding to voice commands, playing music at home and following other remote-control orders—or even think on their feet by accessing and “learning” from the Internet cloud.
Hanson Robotics introduced a life-like “Professor Einstein.” It had realistic facial expressions and even engaged in informative conversations such as lessons in math and science.
Jia Jia is not quite there yet, but Chen sees a bright future for her kind in China.
He said growing prosperity was causing many young Chinese to eschew jobs like waitressing, while an ageing population would require more hands on deck in hospitals and nursing homes—even if they aren’t human hands.