Zoe, the new competition to iPhone Siri has been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge and it is actually a virtual face, which can express a range of emotions including anger, happiness and fear. Researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Lab and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering collaborated to build Zoe.
The new creation is modelled after Zoe Lister, who spent time with the team reading more than 7000 lines in a variety of emotions. The lines were confined to six basic emotions of happy, sad, tender, angry, afraid and neutral. Deciphering the applications of Zoe, the team said that it could be helpful in texting applications or assistants.
Talking about Zoe, University of Cambridge professor, Roberto Cipolla said, “This technology could be the start of a whole new generation of interfaces which make interacting with a computer much more like talking to another human being. It took us days to create Zoe, because we had to start from scratch and teach the system to understand language and expression.”
Cipolla added, “Now that it already understands those things, it shouldn’t be too hard to transfer the same blueprint to a different voice and face.” The success of the new technology has also encouraged the research team as volunteers were successfully able to recognize its emotional state up to 77% of the time when Zoe was given a voice.
The only problem researchers state is that Zoe’s voice is impersonal, but the team is working on personalising the technology for the users. What do you think about Zoe?