As part of an experiment involving the testing of humanoid robots and their reaction emotionally to external stimuli, staff at Japan’s Toshiba Akimu Robotic Research Institute successfully programmed a humanoid robot named Kenji to emulate human emotions. One of the key emotions they believed they had successfully emulated, was love.
The first signs of success involved the robot holding onto a stuffed doll for hours on end. The robot would then react curiously to where the doll was whenever not around. The researchers at the institute interpreted this as signs of love and yearning, therefore interpreting initial tests as a success.
A young female intern was assigned to spend hours a day working on the robot, testing various versions of the software. One evening however, as she tried to leave, Kenji simply wouldn’t let the intern out of the enclosure, blocking off the exits and repeatedly hugging her. The intern only managed to escape after calling for help.
After further tests, the researchers determined due to the complexity and repetitive learning nature of the code, Kenji has begun to “feel” deep love for anyone he comes into contact with.
“Despite our initial enthusiasm, it has become clear that Kenji’s impulses and behavior are not entirely rational or genuine,” said principal project investigator Dr. Takahashi.
Remaining positive, Dr Takahashi is confident it’s a minor setback and in his own words “I have full faith that we will one day live side by side with, and eventually love and be loved by, robots.”
On that note.