THINKING, EMOTION, AND SELF-AWARENESS
primary colors and human skin tones and motion, so it reacts if a person shakes a brightly colored toy at it. Its auditory system listens both for words and, through prosodic analysis, the messages behind them, such as elements of praise, and it speaks in childlike tones. Judg- ing by the responses of people who have chatted with the robot, Kismet’s behavior conveys a sense that it is a living being of a tender age.Women especially speak to Kismet in “motherese,” the exagger- ated style they might use with a very young child. According to Breazeal, some even empathize with the creature, “often reporting feeling guilty or bad for scolding the robot and making it ‘sad.’”
Equipping Kismet with appropriate facial expressions might seem like a trivial engineering project compared to the difficult one of making ASIMO walk properly, but actually it requires substantial hard- ware. Moreover, Kismet’s actions must be integrated with the robot’s perceptions to give responses that make sense to people, which re- quires a large dose of social or interpersonal intelligence.
The electronic brain behind that interpersonal intelligence could not fit into Kismet’s head. It consists of 15 external networked com- puters that give Kismet “drives”—that is, built-in needs to be with people, and to be stimulated by them—and “emotions.” Each drive has a preferred operating point; for instance, to be neither over- nor understimulated. Depending on how well these ideal conditions are met as Kismet interacts with someone, the robot enters into one of three arousal states—bored, interested, or calm—and its face shows anger, disgust, fear, joy, sorrow, or surprise. Humans respond to these cues by modifying their conversation and actions; for instance, speak- ing soothingly if Kismet is angry or overstimulated, or waving a toy if it is bored. At their most empathetic, the human responses maintain Kismet’s drives at their ideal points, which puts the robot into a state of well-being; it is not overwhelmed, yet it is challenged to interact further—exactly what a good parent or teacher hopes to give a child. Breazeal has set up a complex, socially based feedback loop between robot and human that works to keep them mutually engaged.
ASIMO was built to emphasize kinesthetic intelligence, and Kis- met the interpersonal type.A third smart robot that displays these two