Can robots eventually end up as our mates one day? Who knows, and that is one particular topic that has been approached many times in science fiction endeavors, be it in print or on the silver screen. Until that fateful day arrives, however, plenty of work needs to be done — including making sure that robots of today are able to figure out human emotions. Now that is certainly a big ask by any measure, taking into consideration how men and women have not completely understood each other until today, so what more a robot? Never mind that, as Tapia the robot has adopted Smartmedical’s Empath, a vocal emotion recognition technology that is used in a range of business fields such as mental health, call centers, and entertainment, allowing to a certain degree, Tapia to be able to understand human emotion via dialogue with users — including joy, calm, sorrow, anger, and vigor.
How does Tapia the robot work? For starters, it will respond to users based on their emotion, and will express her feelings by the eyes and voice. Tapia gets to work by analyzing a slew of physical properties of the voice such as pitch, speed, and volume, where Smartmedical’s Empath will then be able to use its algorithms to identify emotion in real-time regardless of language.
As the accuracy of speech recognition technology has significantly improved in recent times, this allows the robot to better recognize and respond to what you say. Unfortunately, the robot is unable to understand how you say something, and they are unable to understand your emotion beyond language prior to Empath. With Empath, that is now reality and possible. Does this mean that we can now have robots as partners to unload our emotions at the end of the day? While emotionally shedding our thoughts, hopes and dreams can be therapeutic, getting the right touch — a hug or a kiss, can also do wonders, and this is where robots still fall short of an actual human.