Researchers describe the ‘emotional chatting machine’ as a first attempt at the problem of creating machines that can fully understand user emotion

An “emotional chatting machine” has been developed by scientists, signalling the approach of an era in which human-robot interactions are seamless and go beyond the purely functional.

The chatbot, developed by a Chinese team, is seen as a significant step towards the goal of developing emotionally sophisticated robots.

The ECM, as it is known for short, was able to produce factually coherent answers whilst also imbuing its conversation with emotions such as happiness, sadness or disgust.

Prof Björn Schuller, a computer scientist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the latest advance, described the work as “an important step” towards personal assistants that could read the emotional undercurrent of a conversation and respond with something akin to empathy.

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