Pascale Fung, a Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in an article published by the World Economic Forum about the lingering argument of whether or not to build robots that feel human emotions highlighted some unbelievable abilities robots now possess.

It’s been a while we knew robots build our cars and our smartphones. It’s also common knowledge that rehabilitation robots help people walk again.

Below are some of the abilities Professor Fung highlighted robots now possess:

1. Robots can paint; even to the point of fooling humans into believing the result to be that of a professional human artist.

2. Robots can compose music

3. Robots can learn like humans: Artificial Intelligence (AI) engineers have successfully created robots that can learn. Robots are able to do this through machine learning – algorithms that enable machines to learn and simulate human-like responses, such as a chess move, or to answer a question. A critical part of machine learning is to learn the representation of the characteristics, called features, of the physical input. A cat is represented by its contour, edge, facial and body features. Speech input is represented by the frequency components of the audio. Emotions in speech are represented by not just the pitch, but the chroma, the tempo, the speed, of that voice. Machine learning needs to first perform feature engineering to extract these characteristics.

4. Robots beating humans at sophisticated games: Professor Fung stated that an Artificial Intelligence programme just beat a human at “Go’, known to be the most complicated board game. IBM Watson beat human champions at Jeopardy.

5. Robots now act as teaching assistants and can answer students’ questions.

6. Software programmes can write legal documents.

7. Software systems can write stories for newspapers.

8. Software systems can grade essays.

Author: Yemi Olarinre