Feature: Humanoid robot reporter Jia Jia called "Miss China" with "a temper"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-28 19:51:17|Editor: Mengjie
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BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- China's humanoid robot Jia Jia has gone viral on the Internet since her experimental interviews with the world's top AI experts including Kevin Kelly earlier this week.

In Xinhua's Facebook and Twitter live reports, viewers were astonished by her life-like appearance and also impressed by her performance under "uncooperative" Skype conditions.

"Wow! She is much more beautiful than real female humans. She can easily be Miss China," said viewer NC Chew, and other viewers expressed similar opinions.

"Best looking robot I've seen!" Matthew Fels commented.

"Miss Beauty," Jashu Magar said. "She looks so real!"

Abdul Deng Abdul even joked: "She's the cutest girl ever, is she still single?"

Created by a research team from the University of Science and Technology of China, the life-like robot is designed with natural eye movements and speech, which is in synchronization with its lip movements.

"We worked hard on Jia Jia's micro expressions because we want people to have better interaction with her," said head developer Chen Xiaoping. He noted Jia Jia can recognize human expressions and respond with her own to realize "emotional interaction."

Viewer Sean Lawlor Nelson said: "Most impressive! She's so life-like and pleasant-faced and voiced. She could help to relieve loneliness." In fact, having robots keeping humans company is one of the developers' intended goals.

Many viewers were thrilled to see Jia Jia blink, but there are others like Chinmin Wong who pointed out that she looks "stiff" -- which could give developers a cue about what they still need to improve.

Jia Jia is not all about beauty. She is one of the few robots in the world that have both high intelligence -- for robots of course -- and a life-like appearance, which is why she has received so much attention.

In her live "interview" with famous U.S.journalist and technology observer Kelly on Monday, Jia Jia managed to give satisfactory answers to most of the questions despite some mistakes under serious network latency. Viewer Walter Magee thus called it "a painful first date."

The interview was praised by scientific experts as "having symbolic significance" as it is the world's first interactive conversation between an "artificial intelligence (AI) reporter" and a human being.

Some viewers noticed Jia Jia's ability despite the technical issues. For example, Ricot Telisp said: "There is a lag. But it seems decent in recognizing voice."

"Jia Jia, I am really confused," said Kelly, co-founder of the tech magazine Wired, when his conversation with Jia Jia was challenged by the transoceanic Skype connection. "Well, I said that all the time about life," replied Jia Jia wittily.

When Kelly asked Jia Jia "Can you sing or play me some music?", the android's reply "You can get them yourself" was rather amusing. Viewer Walter Magee said, "Oooh she has a temper!" while Lindsay J. Case commented: "Best comedy line I've seen in years!"

Jia Jia had more surprising answers. During her talk with Professor Bart Selman from Cornell University later that day, she humorously said that what she was looking forward to in her life was Friday and a paycheck.

Afterwards, Lisa Mckay commented: "She may be smarter than all of us." Chua Leong Seng said, "Jia Jia is taking the world by storm."

Even though many viewers praised Jia Jia in the live interviews, there is room for future improvement. Kelly commented on his Google+ page that Jia Jia's abilities were below that of Siri or Alexa, and her development has a long way to go. But he also noted he is sure Jia Jia will improve fast.

Another participant called Tian Yuandong, a research scientist from the Facebook AI team, said it's still early for human-robot conversation.

Chen also said AI robots could not replace human journalists in the short term as they still lack the ability of planning and creativity.