It might look and act like a little girl, but this creepy entity may just be the next big breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI).
The World’s First AI Child
Tong Tong, meaning ‘little girl’, has been dubbed the world’s first AI child after it was revealed by scientists from the Beijing Institute for General Artificial Intelligence (BIGAI).
According to its creators, the AI child can assign itself tasks, learn autonomously, and explore its environment.
Can She Experience Emotions?
And, although it sounds like the plot of the science-fiction movie The Creator, Tong Tong’s engineers say the AI can even experience emotion.
In a video, BIGAI says that Tong Tong ‘has her own joy, anger and sorrow’.
Tong Tong was unveiled at the Frontiers of General Artificial Intelligence Technology Exhibition held in Beijing at the end of January.
What’s the Entity of Tong Tong?
Unlike the AI-powered robots you might have seen in films like Terminator, Tong Tong does not have a physical form.
Instead, the AI entity exists and operates within a virtual environment with which it is able to interact.
Its creators say that Tong Tong displays the intelligence and abilities of a three or four-year-old child.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, visitors to the conference were able to speak with Tong Tong and assign it tasks.
What Tong Tong Can Do
For example, asking Tong Tong to tidy would cause the AI to fix a crooked picture frame.
If the picture was too high up the AI would find a stool so that it could reach it without outside help.
Meanwhile, if a human ‘spilt milk’ within the virtual room, Tong Tong was able to infer that this needed tidying and would find a towel to clean it with.
Tong Tong’s most unique feature, however, is its ability to self-assign tasks.
AI chatbots like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard only respond to tasks set to them by human agents and won’t act unless explicitly asked to.
This means that even the most advanced robots don’t act in a truly autonomous way.
The World’s Most Advanced Humanoid Robot
Some AI-powered robots like Ameca, called ‘the world’s most advanced humanoid robot’ operate with a ‘human in the loop’ system where a person needs to give instructions for the robot to carry out.
More autonomous systems like loitering munitions and other robot weapons use a ‘human on the loop system’.