EmoSPARK - First A.I. Home Console
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Dave...". 2001's famously malfunctioning sentient computer HAL 9000, was the first thing that sprang to mind watching the IndieGoGo pitch for EmoSPARK: an 'artificial intelligence console' that apparently wants to make you happy.
Measuring 90 x 90 x 90 mm, it's a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled cube that interacts with a user’s emotions using a combination of content analysis and custom face-tracking software, made possible by it's proprietary Emotional Processing Unit chipset; it can - it is claimed - distinguish between individuals and create emotional profiles not just of the people it comes into contact with but also itself.
You interact with the cube by typing or speaking to it through your TV or remotely via smartphone, tablet or computer. Over time EmoSPARK builds up a picture of each user through their likes and dislikes by analysing eight primary human emotions. At the outset the cube will just try to make you happy by recommending and accessing online media content - Facebook, YouTube... the usual suspects etc. But as the ‘relationship’ develops, the onboard AI will learn and adapt, developing a personality of its own and making the interaction more subtle and nuanced. "A system that will be able to reply to a free association test, not only based on logic, but also based on its emotional status at the time you ask it a question” says the inventor, Patrick Levy Rosenthal.
The EmoSpark cube also doubles as an e-learning tool. It comes connected to Freebase, a large collaborative knowledge base owned by Google, which Rosenthal says enables it to answer questions on over 39 million topics. It can also be used to control other robotic devices independently.
Apparently, the rather austere design was a very conscious attempt to move away from the more humanoid forms that robots have traditionally been given - presumably to encourage us to trust them. Instead it resembles a miniature Borg cube… so if the homicidal computer don't get ya, there's a good chance you will be assimilated.