One researcher who is moving far beyond just trying to make a system seem smart or trustworthy is David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics. Hanson wants to make a lifelike robot that has human-level intelligence.

“It benefits people to humanize our technology,” said Hanson at the Big Science Summit. “We discover things about ourselves.”

Visually, he’s very close to reaching that goal. Using a substance called frubber and his own background in animation, Hanson has created incredibly (some might say creepily) lifelike heads that can mimic subtle facial movements and expressions.

The robots are loaded with personality profiles and can hold real-time conversations by drawing on a database of dialogue produced by creative writers.

Ideally, Hanson would like to make the robots look and act so human that people would be able to form relationships with them.

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