Jia Jia, the realistic-looking, smart humanoid robot from China, was recently interviewed by an American journalist, putting her English communication skills to the test.
According to SCMP, observers have noted that the robot did not do well in her one-on-one conversation with Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly, as she fumbled over some pretty basic questions. Despite the reaction, researchers still hailed the interview as a success.
Held via Skype from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, in the Chinese province of Anhui, the interview saw Jia Jia struggling to respond to most of the questions Kelly asked.
Wearing a traditional Chinese dress, Jia Jia certainly looked astonishingly realistic and was even blinking and smiling throughout the interview.
However, answering simple questions, such as identifying the location of the Great Wall in China, proved to be a challenge for the robot. For that question, she responded with: “China”.
Jia Jia also replied with an incoherent answer when Kelly asked her if she could talk about him.
Programmed to understand language and interact with humans, Jia Jia was in development for about three years by Hefei university researchers.
Chinese netizens have dubbed her as a “robot goddess” whose likeness was modeled after the features of five women in the university.
According to Chen Xiaoping, Jia Jia’s head developer, the robot may have failed some of the “challenging” questions, but was still able to respond with “good answers”.
“There were some delays due to the [Skype] network. Apart from that, I think the conversation was successful,” he said.
Netizens, however, have stated that Jia Jia looked way behind other known AIs such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) April 24, 2017
Other commenters pointed out the obvious:
“It is not what I thought it would be, respond too slow and not life like or flexible enough, I thought she would turn at you and look at you, or give emotion when you talk to you. Even the mouth won’t move good,” a netizen commented.
“I’ve never seen a good video of this Jia Jia AI… back to the cutting board. Maybe work on the artificial intelligence instead of ‘skinning’ her as a conventionally beautiful light-skinned Chinese woman, like for real” another netizen wrote.