A humanoid robot pretends to have a mind of its own

Study co-author Agnieszka Wykowska pictured with the deceptively “confident” robot iCub. (Image credit: Italian Institute of Technology)

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According to a new study, an eerily human-like robot programmed to socially interact with human companions tricked people into believing the mindless machine was self-aware.

The digital impostor, which the researchers dubbed “iCub,” is a child-sized humanoid robot developed by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa to study social interactions between humans and robots. This advanced android, which stands 1.1 meters tall, has a human-like face, camera eyes that can maintain eye contact with humans, and 53 degrees of freedom that allow it to perform complex tasks and mimic human behavior. Researchers can program iCub to behave in a remarkably human-like manner, as shown in its 2016 appearance Italy’s talent (opens in new tab) when the robot demonstrated tai chi moves and wowed the judges with its clever conversational skills.

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