She may look and act like a little girl, but this creepy entity may be the next big thing in artificial intelligence (AI).
Tong Tong, which means “girl”, has been dubbed the world’s first artificially intelligent girl after it was revealed by scientists at the Beijing General Institute of Artificial Intelligence (BIGAI).
According to its creators, the child with AI can assign tasks to himself, learn autonomously and explore his environment.
And while it may sound like the plot of the sci-fi movie The Creator, Tong Tong engineers say AI can even experience emotions.
In a video, BIGAI says that Tong Tong “has her own joy, anger and sadness.”
Chinese scientists have unveiled the “first AI girl,” an AI entity called Tong Tong, meaning girl, who supposedly has her own emotions.
Tong Tong was introduced at the General Artificial Intelligence Technology Exhibition held in Beijing at the end of January.
Unlike AI-powered robots you may have seen in movies like Terminator, Tong Tong has no physical form.
Instead, the AI entity exists and operates within a virtual environment with which it can interact.
Its creators say Tong Tong displays the intelligence and skills of a three or four-year-old child.
According to a report from South China Morning Post, Visitors to the conference were able to talk to Tong Tong and assign him tasks.
For example, asking Tong Tong to order would cause the AI to fix a crooked picture frame.
If the image was too high, the AI would find a stool so it could reach it without outside help.
The Beijing Institute of General Artificial Intelligence (BIGAI) introduced Tong Tong at an exhibition in late January. Visitors were able to interact with Tong Tong, who then responded to changes in his virtual environment.
The science fiction film The Creator (pictured) focuses on the possibility of creating a child with advanced artificial intelligence. Tong Tong may not be as advanced as this movie imagines, but it could pave the way to the creation of Artificial General Intelligence.
Meanwhile, if a human “spilled milk” inside the virtual room, Tong Tong could infer that it needed to be tidied up and would find a towel to clean it up.
However, Tong Tong’s most unique feature is its ability to self-assign tasks.
AI chatbots like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard only respond to tasks assigned to them by human agents and will not act unless explicitly requested.
This means that even the most advanced robots do not act truly autonomously.
Some AI-powered robots like Ameca, called “the world’s most advanced humanoid robot,” operate on a “human-in-the-loop” system where a person must give instructions for the robot to carry out.
More autonomous systems, such as loitering munitions and other robotic weapons, use a “human loop system.”
Even the most advanced robots like Ameca (pictured) do not act autonomously. However, BIGAI says it wants to create intelligences that can act on their own based on values and common sense.
This means that the AI carries out some tasks itself, but a human still gives final authorization, sets the parameters, or can cancel the action.
It is unclear whether Tong Tong is a truly autonomous agent, but its creators seem to imply that it is much more independent than previous AI.
According to BIGAI, Tong Tong is capable of defining new tasks based on human-like values and common sense.
The video posted by BIGAI says: ‘Tong Tong possesses a mind and strives to understand the common sense taught by humans.
“She discerns right from wrong, expresses her attitudes in various situations, and has the power to shape the future.”
At the exhibition, BIGAI director Zhu Songchun also introduced the “Tong test”, which is intended to replace the Turing test for artificial general intelligence.
While the Turing test asks whether a human could tell whether they were talking to an AI or a robot, the Tong test looks at a much broader set of parameters.
Their goal is to develop an AI that can “learn and execute tasks in complex environments, driven by values and an understanding of causality.”
Zhu told the South China Morning Post: “To move towards artificial general intelligence, we must create entities that can understand the real world and possess a wide range of abilities.”