Rity Software Agent Has 'Genomic' Personality

Rity is a software agent with what amounts to a genome with personality traits. Rity's "genome" is made up of 14 chromosomes with a total of 1,764 "genes", each with its own value. Rity's creators use an evolutionary process to generate a genome with a desired personality.


(The many faces of Rity the sobot [software 'robot'])

“This is the first time that an artificial creature like a robot or software agent has been given a genome with a personality,” Jong-Hwan Kim told PhysOrg.com. “I proposed a new concept of an artificial chromosome as the essence to define the personality of an artificial creature and to pass on its traits to the next generation, like a genetic inheritance. It is critical to provide an impression that the robot is a living creature. With this respect, having emotions enhances natural human-robot interaction for human-robot symbiosis in the coming years.”

As the researchers explain, an autonomous artificial creature - whether a physical robot or software agent - can behave, interact, and react to environmental stimuli. Rity, for example, can interact with humans in the physical world using information through a mouse, a camera, or a microphone, with 47 perceptions. For instance, a single click and double click on Rity are perceived as “patted” and “hit,” respectively. Dragging Rity slowly and softly is perceived as “soothed,” and dragging it quickly and wildly as “shocked.”

Rity is able to react to these stimuli using a complex internal architecture consisting of three units (motivation, homeostasis and emotion) divided into fourteen states (the basis of the 14 "chromosomes") like curiosity and happiness.

By varying the stimuli, the researchers can develop different Rity instances with very distinct personalities; an "agreeable" Rity and an "antagonistic" Rity, for example.

Rity's creators are Jong-Hwan Kim of KAIST in Daejeon, Korea; Chi-Ho Lee of the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, Korea; and Kang-Hee Lee of Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd., in Suwon-si, Korea.

It looks to me like Rity is an early stage version of Douglas Adams' Genuine People Personalities. In his 1979 novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he develops the idea that robots should have distinct personalities.

For example, the self-satisfied door is almost unbearably pleased with itself as it opens and closes.

“All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.”

As the door closed behind them it became apparent that it did indeed have a satisfied sigh-like quality to it. “Hummmmmmmyummmmmmm ah!” it said.

Marvin the Robot is another example of a GPP featured-product.

“GPP feature?” said Arthur. “What's that?”

“Oh, it says Genuine People Personalities.”

“Oh,” said Arthur, “sounds ghastly.”

A voice behind them said, “It is.” The voice was low and hopeless and accompanied by a slight clanking sound. They span round and saw an abject steel man standing hunched in the doorway...

I covered Rity several years ago; see Rity - Sobot Longs To Be Near You for another fascinating trait of this experimental software agent. Read more details about Rity's genome workings at PhysOrg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/20/2009)

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