Meet BabyX: Your new computer-generated baby overlord (maybe)

Katie Grant@kt_grant
Tuesday 26 August 2014 08:50
Science and Tech

Who’s this adorable little nipper?

This toddler can read basic words, recognise symbols and, like many infants, soak up information like a sponge.

Unlike most of its peers though, this baby could help unlock the secrets of the human brain. Oh, and the child, known as BabyX, is in fact a computer-generated creation designed as part of a project to recreate brain activity and model neural pathways.

So this isn’t really a baby at all?

BabyX was developed by researchers in New Zealand and can see, hear, mimic facial expressions, respond to feedback; and it can even get distracted, frequently losing its focus to stare around the room.

Artificial intelligence has never looked so... creepy

The blonde infant incorporates a number of algorithms, mimicking neural behaviour when it comes to learning and responses to the world around it in real-time – such as the effect of dopamine when it receives praise, for instance, which elicits delighted giggles from the 3D baby.

Researchers have used learning models, such as repetition, association, conditioning, and imitation to teach BabyX basic skills.

And what happens when BabyX grows up?

The project aims to examine the brain during its formative years as opposed to later in life, so fingers crossed the scientists never have to confront a TeenagerX.

And if technological singularity – a time when artificial intelligence exceeds human intelligence – does comes about, let’s hope BabyX uses its powers for good, not evil.

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