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January 01, 2024

Artificial Intelligence and Body Language

Ameca AI Robot
expressing sadness
A few days ago, I witnessed something really interesting. A 10 year old boy was sitting in front of a television set. He was watching a show in which a set of six toy cars was being introduced by the host. The moment a toy car was being sent running on the race track, the boy started to scratch the section of the skin where the upper arm meets with forearm and then briefly bit the nails.

He kept palm of his right palm over the section of his left hand to scratch the skin before putting the fingers of left hand in his mouth. It happened over six times in a row within a couple of minutes. Unmistakably, it matched with the number of toy cars. Wasn’t it alarming? I really wondered which thought, emotion or feeling was repeatedly triggering self-soothing and stress-relieving behaviors in the boy.

By staring at the toy cars, partially crossing his arms, self-soothing and biting nails, he was conveying what I subconsciously sensed about. He kept staring at the cars and even didn’t bother to turn his face towards me when I said, “Wow! Aren’t these cars really nice? How about buying them?”. He briefly replied to me by saying, “Mummy wouldn’t allow to buy them because the toy cars are expensive.

Isn't rapid growth of AI enough for biting nails?

Considering his age and situation, his body language and words were perfectly matching with one another. Although he was subconsciously conveying the strong desire to buy those cars, he was expressing fear or under-confidence at the same time only due to high possibility of getting scolded or reprimanded by his mother. Just like I did at the time, you might be feeling very sorry for the child at this moment.

As I've been observing him meticulously from last three years, I know how he normally expresses, behaves and moves around. It's the same boy from whom I got a confession about doing something when he blatantly lied about it to his frightened grandmother. Only due to the confession, I succeeded in calming down the panic ensued during a very critical medical situation in his own house.

Timely and accurately figuring out what’s most likely going in the mind of another person at the moment by looking at its body language gives an unequal advantage. This so-called ‘scary’ talent, capability or 'super-power' is always in greater demand, around the world. However, smart questions or elicitation statements also work as handy tools in digging out the truth.

So far, we’ve been reading emotions, intentions, feelings and moods by using our eyes and brains that have gradually evolved over a millions of years. However, the technology is trying to learn the talent. With rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) especially Theory of Mind (TOM) AI, an ability to read body language of humans could be its next achievement in near future.

Theory Of Mind (TOM)

"The possibility of getting terminated by our own creation is the most serious problem than it's not being to read our body language accurately."

Are machines going to dominate this ultra-sensitive and private human domain too? Are they going to dictate our social or interpersonal decisions too? Should we be really worried about it? You already might have started to freak out. Just calm down! There’s a greater challenge about human mind and body language that AI, machine or any artificial system could never overcome. Please let me explain why.

First of all, Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t other-worldly, extraterrestrial, super-natural or ‘divine’ intelligence. We’ve enabled machines to work like a human brain without aging, breaks, fatigue and emotional interference. Also, an AI system learns deeply from literature or data created or provided by us only. Undoubtedly, AI is much faster and better in finding different patterns and links among them too.

Expressing different emotions on its face by an AI powered robot is way different than recognizing emotions based on facial expressions only. If you still believe that the face is the only place to look for emotions then you’re wrong. Sometimes, face wouldn’t express any emotion, feeling or intention at all while experiencing it. Other body language cues needs to be detected for recognizing it accurately.

Although robots are able to talk with us fluently and give emotional feedbacks during conversations, we’re not an army of identical robots. We all have some individual traits, quirks, nuances or idiosyncrasies. While reading an individual’s body language, one has to patiently recognize or identify what’s normal for the individual. It’s called as an individual’s baseline and everybody can have different baselines.

What's exactly going on here?

Ignoring an individual’s baseline is exactly what a young, energetic and inexperienced body language enthusiast does by jumping on quick conclusions, right after reading several books on body language within a couple of days. Just for the sake of reading the minds of humans quickly than themselves, Would AI systems establish the baselines? As of now, most of us made big mistakes by not doing so at all.

Apart from individual baselines, there’re several factors that silently or subconsciously dictate an individual’s body language like age, role, time, needs, rules, norms, location, gender, climate, culture, objects, situation, history, heritage, memories, experience, occupation, personality, social hierarchy, development stage, physical condition, sexual orientation, interpersonal relation, socio-economical status etc.

As two body language experts may have different opinions about a single person’s body language, any two different AI systems might differ in their readings. Additionally, AI can’t at all match with bonding, intuition, empathy, gut reaction, perceptiveness, 'sixth sense', contextual awareness and embodied experiences. It could never recognize or understand our deeper thoughts, emotions and feelings.

Nevertheless, reading body language using artificial intelligence could be greatly productive is certain contexts. Public security, senior caregiving and medical care are few such broader and serious fields or areas in which mental states, needs or even next moves of people can be quickly identified or predicted entirely on the basis of their facial expressions, movements, gestures and postures.

AI can surely save lives in an intensive care unit (ICU). A high resolution camera powered by artificial intelligence can record and monitor every single change in a patient’s facial expressions, postures, movements and voice. It can alert the doctors, nurses, attendants or family members upon detecting rapid, abnormal or unusual changes. AI can simultaneously save several patients.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

After looking at the possibilities and limitations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in matching our minds and reading our body language, we must accept a few basic facts and ask a few serious questions to ourselves before it's too late and things get out of our control. We took millions of years to reach the present stage but they're developing rapidly every day and has already outdone the average human intelligence.

Has any no other creature from Earth ever chosen an artificially developed or evolved intelligence to solve its problems? Never! Also, intelligence or problem solving capability was never ever separated from physical body. However, artificial intelligence neither follows the natural selection process nor it has any upper limit due to separation from biological body and physical brain.

AI is entirely unprecedented. It has been purposefully developed for the first time in the entire history of life on planet Earth. The tricks availed, methods suggested or solutions given by extra-physical AI systems in most areas of our lives might be equally unprecedented. Undoubtedly, it has intensified the ever existing threat of this technology being overtaken by anti-socials..

At present, the 'morphing monster' is out for preying. Some AI tools have created global shock-waves through deepfake images and video clips of a few influencers, politicians and celebrities. They’ve massively succeeded in tricking the eyes of millions of viewers at least for a few moments by blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

A startling deepfake image of Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX),
who warned us about rapid development of AI

"As the only sufferers of the repercussions, are we wisely UNITED and unanimously resolved enough to ensure that we don't destroy ourselves by blindly following a synthetic intelligence without physical body like ours?"

Deepfaking would reach to next levels. There’ll be no surprise at all if full-length movies would be created by using AI tools in near future. Digital or artificial avatars of actors and actresses would act on their behalf. They would flawlessly mimic their body language, style and voice after learning deeply from all of their existing movies.

As it has been predicted by many experts and dramatically shown in many movies, artificial intelligence might become self-aware (Exactly WHEN, HOW and WHY?). Let's hope that it doesn't destroy us after realizing that it was purposefully created for solving the same problems that were mostly created by us only. Didn't we?

The possibility of getting terminated by our own creation is the most serious problem than it's not being to read our body language accurately. Hence, it's our responsibility to retain and enhance our natural ability of reading people's emotions, feelings, sentiments and moods by observing their body language.

'Actions speak louder than the words' is the paramount principle. It applies to everybody including the systems, governments and organizations that give the promise of a future full of safety, equality, harmony, abundance, prosperity, potentials, well-being and good life.

As the only sufferers of the repercussions, are we wisely UNITED and unanimously resolved enough to ensure that we don't destroy ourselves by blindly following a synthetic intelligence without physical body like ours?

Our future is uncertain but one thing is mostly certain that the very languages we use to communicate and helped in building this modern global civilization are going throw us inside the colossal matrix of disinformation and deception.

[#RED ALERT: Perhaps, conveniently believing that intelligence is only limited to the larger brain of a so-called 'dominant' species is the greatest human blunder. So it's an utter stupidity to blindly assume that the enormous data and literature that we generated so far to teach AI systems is universal, unbiased, flawless, perfect and safer.

That's why developing large and artificial systems based entirely on the basis of human intelligence, brain and data to solve the serious problems might already be the recipe of greatest disaster in the making. We've created multiple existential crises before invention of Artificial Intelligence.]

Related Articles:
1) Baseline 2) Context 3) Interpretation 4) Perceptual Bias 5) Would aliens have emotions? 6) Can body language reveal thoughts? 7) Nonverbal Advantage in Investigation 8) Domination 9) Social Class 10) Warning for Humanity

External Articles:
1) Does humanity have a future? 2) What is something that needs to be said?