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Google: We Can Download Dead People’s Personalities To Robot

Google has patented a system that allows robots to download personalities, including those of the deceased, online. 

The Daily Mail reports:

The system would allow machines to download them in a similar way to an app – and even have a different personality for each user.

The patent says that the personality could replicate the robot’s owner, ‘a deceased loved one,’ or ‘a celebrity,’

Google’s patent details a cloud-based system where a personality could be downloaded to a robot, in the same way one might download an app.

‘The robot personality may also be modifiable within a base personality construct (i.e., a default-persona) to provide states or moods representing transitory conditions of happiness, fear, surprise, perplexion (e.g., the Woody Allen robot), thoughtfulness, derision (e.g., the Rodney Dangerfield robot), and so forth,’ states the patent.

Friends will even be able to clone their robots and swap aspects of its personality.

‘The personality and state may be shared with other robots so as to clone this robot within another device or devices.

‘In this manner, a user may travel to another city, and download within a robot in that city (another ‘skin’) the personality and state matching the user’s ‘home location’ robot.

‘The robot personality thereby becomes transportable or transferable.’

The firm also explains ‘This disclosure relates to a robot imbued with a personality, or personalities.

‘In particular, but without limitation, the disclosure provides for a robot that operates with personality attributes and related capabilities drawn from cloud computing capacities.

‘Personality may be thought of as personification in the sense of human characteristics or qualities attributed to a non-human thing.

‘A robot can be programmed to provide a desired look as well as interactability for the robot, which may be subject to change by the user or by the robot itself, such that the robot interface is customized to provide a desired personality for the robot.’

Google already owns several firms developing robotic technology, including Atlas, 6.2 feet of metal with a plastic body that can walk, run, jump and even open doors.

This is latest version of the Atlas robot created by Boston Dynamics, a Google-owned robot firm.

Later this year, seven of the robots will compete in a ‘robo oylmpics’ – designed to recreate natural disasters the robots could one day be sent into.

A total of $3.5 million in prizes will now be awarded to the top three finishers in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), the final event of which will be held June 5-6, 2015, at Fairplex in California.

Aside from the previously announced $2 million grand prize, DARPA plans to award $1 million to the runner-up and $500,000 to the third-place team.

DARPA expects at least twenty teams to compete in the DRC Finals.

‘The goal of the DRC is to generate groundbreaking research and development in hardware and software that will enable future robots, in tandem with human counterparts, to perform the most hazardous activities in disaster zones, thus reducing casualties and saving lives,’ it said.

The teams using the DARPA-developed Atlas robot will use an entirely new version, which is battery powered for the first time.

The Atlas robot created by Google-owned firm Boston Dynamics is a formidable figure at 6ft 2in tall and weighing in at 330lb.

The robot boasts 28 hydraulically actuated joints and stereo vision, and is one of the most advanced robots ever created.

Atlas will also now carry an onboard 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with the potential for one hour of ‘mixed mission’ operation that includes walking, standing, use of tools, and other movements.

Gill Pratt, of DARPA said: ‘Atlas unplugged is the upgrade to allow it to run entirely on batteries.

‘The new Atlas is 75% new, it has much more dexterity and is quieter, and stronger.

‘The introduction of a battery and variable-pressure pump into Atlas poses a strategic challenge for teams,’ said Pratt.

‘The operator will be able to run the robot on a mid-pressure setting for most operations to save power, and then apply bursts of maximum pressure when additional force is needed.’

During the finals, a series of events will be held to replicate disasters.

‘The finals will be very hard. We want them to be more like real disasters, the robots will have to do all these tasks in sequence with no human help.

Given their identical hardware, the Atlas teams will have to differentiate themselves through software, control interfaces, and competition strategy.

Teams will have a few options on the selection of tasks they choose to attempt and the order they do them—and must manage time and battery life during their runs—but DARPA expects that the top-placing teams will complete all of the tasks.

Teams are likely to keep their robots connected to fall arrestors during much of the remaining months of training as a safeguard against premature damage to the robot. DARPA demonstrated the new Atlas with a fall arrestor in place.

‘Risk mitigation is part of the game,’ Pratt said. ‘It’s up to the teams to decide what chances they’re willing to take during training and risk falls and damage, but come the DRC Finals, the cords are cut.’

The researchers even taught the robot to stand on one leg – recreating a key scene from the film in the process.

However, it’s not just karate – Ian has another trick up his sleeve – software written by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Interaction which allows him to drive a car.

‘To achieve this level of maneuverability in robots, researchers at IHMC look toward nature,’ the team say.

‘Inspired by the speed of cheetahs, the endurance of horses, the maneuverability of monkeys, and the versatility of humans, IHMC researchers are on a quest to develop legged robots that are fast, efficient, and graceful, with the mobility required to access many of the same places that humans can.’

At the US Government’s Robo-Olympics, Ian came second, despite competing as a virtual software simulation.

Despite his lack of limbs, the world’s most innocuously named ‘bot was able to walk, carry a fire hose and, most impressively, get in a car and drive it.

Atlas is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain, Boston Dynamics said.

‘Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.

‘Articulated, sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso.

Atlas is powered from an off-board, electric power supply via a flexible tether – although a new version promises to remove this.