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How Facebook Taught Bots to Mimic Facial Expressions

We’ve dealt a little with bots and artificial intelligence, but we really don’t know what it is going to be like once it really takes off. Right now, there are chat bots and automated telemarketers. We haven’t quite interacted with bots that can express human-like facial expressions. It sounds a little creepy, but nothing we can’t get used to. Recently, Facebook announced that its AI researchers are in the process of training bots to express various facial expressions.

botsThe process for training these bots is pretty straight forward and you have to admit, pretty cool. Facebook’s researchers scanned YouTube for videos of people in Skype conversations. They made sure that in the videos the people were clearly visible. These videos were then uploaded into their AI system as training data. Everyone’s face is different but there are micro-expressions that can be seen in all, and they’ve trained their AI system to recognize these micro-expressions. By learning these patterns, the system was able to determine and repeat back the most human-like expressions.

Though this is an impressive step, they didn’t teach the bots to know the meaning behind different expressions like happy or sad. They taught them to recognize and repeat. As you can see in the image to the left, there is still some work to be done before these computer bots can mimic human expressions perfectly.Facebook’s researchers haven’t quite given out all their methods; however, they have seen that human-bot interactions are more successful when people can engage with the robot. You can read the full study on this AI research from Facebook here.

For now, we just have word on computer bots but it is possible that Facebook is working on more humanoid-like robots. We already know Facebook is investing a lot of money into virtual reality with Facebook Spaces, it is not hard to imagine they are working on more advanced AI as well. In fact, Facebook has encouraged other tech companies to look into similar affairs. Interested in reading more stories like this? Stay up to date with the digital world and sign up for our weekly newsletter!