B1 Intermediate 14942 Folder Collection
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My job is to design, build and study
robots that communicate with people.
But this story doesn't start with robotics at all,
it starts with animation.
When I first saw Pixar's "Luxo Jr.,"
I was amazed by how much emotion
they could put into something
as trivial as a desk lamp.
I mean, look at them -- at the end of this movie,
you actually feel something for two pieces of furniture.
And I said, I have to learn how to do this.
So I made a really bad career decision.
And that's what my mom was like when I did it.
I left a very cozy tech job in Israel
at a nice software company and I moved to New York
to study animation.
And there I lived
in a collapsing apartment building
I'm not using this phrase metaphorically,
the ceiling actually collapsed one day
in our living room.
Whenever they did those news stories
they would put the report in front of our building.
As kind of like a backdrop
Anyway, during the day I went to school and at night
I would sit and draw frame by frame
And I learned two surprising lessons --
one of them was that
when you want to arouse emotions,
it doesn't matter so much how something looks,
it's all in the motion -- it's in the timing
of how the thing moves.
And the second, was something
He actually did the weasel in Ice Age.
And he said:
"As an animator you are not
So, if you want to find the
don't think about it, go use your body to find it --
stand in front of a mirror, act it out
in front of a camera -- whatever you need.
And then put it back in your character.
A year later I found myself at MIT
in the robotic life group, it was one of the first groups
researching the relationships
And I still had this dream to make
an actual, physical Luxo Jr. lamp.
But I found that robots didn't move at all
in this engaging way that I was used to
for my animation studies.
Instead, they were all --
how should I put it, they were all kind of robotic.
And I thought, what if I took whatever
and used that to design my robotic desk lamp.
So I went and designed frame by frame
to try to make this robot
as graceful and engaging as possible.
And here when you see the robot interacting with me
on a desktop.
And I'm actually redesigning the robot so,
unbeknownst to itself,
it's kind of digging its own grave by helping me.
I wanted it to be less of a mechanical structure
giving me light,
and more of a helpful, kind of quiet apprentice
that's always there when you need
And when, for example, I'm looking for a battery
that I can't find,
in a subtle way, it will show me where the battery is.
So you can see my confusion here.
I'm not an actor.
And I want you to notice how the same
mechanical structure can at one point,
just by the way it moves seem gentle and caring --
and in the other case, seem
And it's the same structure,
Actor: "You want to know something?
He was already dead!
Just laying there, eyes glazed over!"
But, moving in graceful ways is just one
called human-robot interaction.
I was at the time doing my Ph.D.,
I was working on human robot teamwork;
teams of humans and robots working together.
I was studying the engineering,
the psychology, the philosophy of teamwork.
And at the same time I found myself
in my own kind of teamwork situation
with a good friend of mine who is actually here.
And in that situation we can easily imagine robots
in the near future being there with us.
It was after a Passover seder.
We were folding up a lot of folding chairs,
and I was amazed at how quickly
Everybody did their own part.
We didn't have to divide our tasks.
We didn't have to communicate verbally about this.
It all just happened.
And I thought,
humans and robots don't look at all like this.
When humans and robots interact,
it's much more like a chess game.
The human does a thing,
the robot analyzes whatever the human did,
then the robot decides what to do next,
plans it and does it.
And then the human waits, until it's their turn again.
So, it's much more like a chess game
and that makes sense because chess is great
for mathematicians and computer scientists.
It's all about information analysis,
decision making and planning.
But I wanted my robot to be less of a chess player,
and more like a doer
that just clicks and works together.
So I made my second horrible career choice:
I decided to study acting for a semester.
I took off from a Ph.D. I went to acting classes.
I actually participated in a play,
I hope theres no video of that around still.
And I got every book I could find about acting,
including one from the 19th century
that I got from the library.
And I was really amazed because my
the previous name was in 1889. (Laughter)
And this book was kind of waiting for 100 years
to be rediscovered for robotics.
And this book shows actors
how to move every muscle in the body
to match every kind of emotion
But the real revelation was
when I learned about method acting.
It became very popular in the 20th century.
And method acting said, you don't have
Instead you have to use your body
You have to use your sense memory
to reconstruct the emotions and kind of
think with your body to find the right expression.
Improvise, play off yor scene partner.
And this came at the same time
in cognitive psychology called embodied cognition.
Which also talks about the same ideas --
We use our bodies to think,
we don't just think with our brains
but our bodies feed back into our brain
to generate the way that we behave.
And it was like a lightning bolt.
I went back to my office.
I wrote this paper -- which I never really published
called "Acting Lessons for Artificial Intelligence."
And I even took another month
to do what was then the first theater play
with a human and a robot acting together.
That's what you saw before with the actors.
And I thought:
How can we make an artificial intelligence model --
computer, computational model --
that will model some of these ideas of improvisation,
of taking risks, of taking chances,
even of making mistakes.
Maybe it can make for better robotic teammates.
So I worked for quite a long time on these models
and I implemented them on a number of robots.
Here you can see a very early example
with the robots trying to use this
to try to match my movements
sort of like a game.
Let's look at it.
You can see when I psych it out, it gets fooled.
And it's a little bit like what you might see actors do
when they try to mirror each other
to find the right synchrony between them.
And then, I did another experiment,
and I got people off the street
and try out this idea of embodied
So, I actually used two kinds
The robot is the same lamp that you saw,
and I put in it two brains.
For one half of the people,
I put in a brain that's kind of the traditional,
calculated robotic brain.
It waits for its turn, it analyzes everything, it plans.
Let's call it the calculated brain.
The other got more the stage actor, risk taker brain.
Let's call it the adventurous brain.
It sometimes acts without knowing
It sometimes makes mistakes and corrects them.
And I had them do this very tedious task
that took almost 20 minutes
and they had to work together.
Somehow simulating like a factory job
of repetitively doing the same thing.
And what I found was that people actually loved
the adventurous robot.
And they thought it was more intelligent,
more committed, a better member of the team,
contributed to the success of the team more.
They even called it 'he' and 'she,'
whereas people with the calculated brain called it 'it.'
And nobody ever called it 'he' or 'she'.
When they talked about it after the task
with the adventurous brain,
they said, "By the end, we were good
Whatever that means.
(Laughter) Sounds painful.
Whereas the people with the calculated brain
said it was just like a lazy apprentice.
It only did what it was supposed
Which is almost what people expect robots to do,
so I was surprised that people
of robots, than what anybody in robotics
And in a way, I thought, maybe it's time --
just like method acting changed the way
people thought about acting in the 19th century,
from going from the very calculated,
planned way of behaving,
to a more intuitive, risk-taking,
Maybe it's time for robots
to have the same kind of revolution.
A few years later,
I was at my next research job
and I was working in a group
dealing with robotic musicians.
And I thought, music, that's the perfect place
to look at teamwork, coordination,
timing, improvisation --
and we just got this robot playing marimba.
Marimba, for everybody who was like me,
it was this huge, wooden xylophone.
And, when I was looking at this,
I looked at other works in
yes, there are other works in
and they were also a little bit like a chess game.
The human would play,
the robot would analyze what was played,
would improvise their own part.
So, this is what musicians called
a call and response interaction,
and it also fits very well, robots
But I thought, if I use the same ideas I used
in the theater play and in the teamwork studies,
maybe I can make the robots jam together
like a band.
Everybody's riffing off each other,
And so, I tried to do the same
where the robot doesn't really know
what it's about to play.
It just sort of moves its body
and uses opportunities to play,
And does what my jazz teacher
She said, when you improvise,
sometimes you don't know what you're doing
and you're still doing it.
And so I tried to make a robot that doesn't actually
know what it's doing, but it's still doing it.
So let's look at a few seconds
Where the robot listens to the human musician
and improvises.
And then, look at how the human musician also
responds to what the robot is doing, and picking up
from its behavior.
And at some point can even be surprised
Being a musician is not just about making notes,
otherwise nobody would every go see a live show.
Musicians also communicate with their bodies,
with other band members, with the audience,
they use their bodies to express the music.
And I thought, we already have
why not make it be a full-fledged musician.
And I started designing a socially expressive head
for the robot.
The head does't actually touch the marimba,
it just expresses what the music is like.
These are some napkin sketches
that was dangerously located exactly halfway
between my lab and my home. (Laughter)
So I spent, I would say on average,
three to four hours a day there.
I think. (Laughter)
And I went back to my animation
not just what a robotic musician would look like,
but especially what a robotic
To sort of show that it doesn't like
and maybe show whatever beat it's feeling
at the moment.
So we ended up actually getting the money
I'm going to show you now the
this time with a socially expressive head.
And notice one thing --
how the robot is really showing us
the beat it's picking up from the human.
We're also giving the human a sense
And also how it changes the way it moves
as soon as it starts its own solo.
Now it's looking at me to make sure I'm listening.
And now look at the final chord of the piece again,
and this time the robot communicates with its body
when it's busy doing its own thing.
And when it's ready
to coordinate the final chord with me.
Thanks. I hope you see how much this totally not --
how much this part of the body
actually helps with the musical performance.
And at some point, we are in Atlanta,
will come into our lab at some point.
And we had this rapper come in
and do a little jam with the robot.
And here you can see the robot
basically responding to the beat and --
notice two things. One, how irresistible it is
to join the robot while it's moving its head.
and you kind of want to move
And second, even though the rapper
as soon as the robot turns to him, he turns back.
So even though it's just in
it's just in the corner of his eye --
And the reason is that we can't ignore
physical things moving in our environment.
We are wired for that.
So, if you have a problem with maybe your partners
looking at the iPhone too much
you might want to have a robot there
to get their attention. (Laughter)
Just to introduce the last robot
that we've worked on,
that came out of something kind
At some point people didn't care anymore
and can improvise and listen,
and do all these embodied intelligence
They really liked that the robot was
And they didn't say that the
they said that the robot was enjoying the music.
And we thought, why don't we take this idea,
and I designed a new piece of furniture.
This time it wasn't a desk
It was one of those things you
And I thought, what would happen
if your speaker dock didn't
but it would actually enjoy it too. (Laughter)
And so again, here are some animation tests
from an early stage. (Laughter)
And this is what the final product looked like.
("Drop It Like It's Hot")
So, a lot of bobbing head.
A lot of bobbing heads in the audience,
so we can still see robots influence people.
And it's not just fun and games.
I think one of the reasons I care so much
about robots that use their body to communicate
and use their body to move --
and I'm going to let you in on a little
is that every one of you is
at some point in their life.
Somewhere in your future there's
And if not in yours, then in your children's lives.
And I want these robots to be --
to be more fluent, more engaging, more graceful
than currently they seem to be.
And for that I think that maybe robots
need to be less like chess players
and more like stage actors and more like musicians.
Maybe they should be able to
And maybe they should be able to
And maybe they need to be able to make mistakes
and correct them,
because in the end we are human.
And maybe as humans, robots
are just perfect for us.
Thank you.
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【TED】Guy Hoffman: Robots with "soul" (Robots with "soul" | Guy Hoffman)

14942 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on April 9, 2014
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