[AI] Coming soon: A computer that can talk to you

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 24 07:58:27 EDT 2008

Coming soon: A computer that can talk to you

The computer which has a Sensitive Artificial Listener
will perceive a person’s facial expression, voice and
then engage with him in discussion is being developed
by experts in Belfast


London: Scientists are developing a new computer
system which they claim will be able to talk to human
beings by simply reacting to signals such as tone
of voice and facial expression.

A team at Queen’s University in Belfast is making the
computer, known as Sensitive Artificial Listener (SAL)
system, as part of a European project called

SAL will perceive a person’s facial expression, voice
and then engage with him in a discussion. When
engaging with a human, it will adapt its own
and pursue different actions depending on the
non-verbal behaviour of the user.

“A basic feature of human communication is that it is
coloured by emotion. When we talk to another person,
the words are carried on an undercurrent of signs
that show them what attracts us, what bores us and so

“The fact that computers do not currently do this is
one of the main reasons why communicating with them is
so unlike interacting with a human. It is also
one of the reasons we can find them so frustrating.

“SEMAINE and projects like it will change the way
people interact with technology. They mean that you
will be talking to your computer in 20 years’ time.

“These new developments depend on connecting
technology to the relevant understanding of people,
and it is recognised worldwide that we have a
strength in bringing psychology, linguistics and
ethics to bear on the process of developing the new

“Today when we use technology we adopt a style of
communication that suits the machine. Through projects
like , SEMAINE, we will develop technology that
will eventually communicate in ways that suit human
beings,” lead researcher Prof Roddy Cowie was quoted
by the ‘ScienceDaily´ as saying.

SEMAINE is led by DFKI, the German centre for research
on Artificial Intelligence. 

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