Forget Siri, Zoe is Your New Best Friend [VIDEO]
Researchers at Toshiba's Cambridge Lab and the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering have developed what they believe is the future of computer technology - and her name is Zoe.
Using the face and voice of the actress Zoe Lister from the show "Hollyoaks," digital Zoe is programmed to express a full range of human emotions as well recite any text given her with the emotion the user requests, be it sad or happy or something a little more complex, like afraid.
Its creators imagine Zoe replacing things like texting in the future. Instead of typing in the message "He didn't show up" with a semicolon and parentheses for a face, Zoe could appear on your friend's screen with a sour expression as she tells your friend the message.
In fact, developers believe the day isn't too far off when individuals can upload their own face and voice and replace Zoe altogether.
But the technology isn't just limited to "face messaging." Rather, Roberto Cipolla from Cambridge's Department of Engineering believes Zoe represents the future of humans' interaction with technology.
"Present day human-computer interaction still revolves around typing at a keyboard and pointing with a mouse," he says in an article posted on the Cambridge's website. "For a lot of people, that makes computers difficult and frustrating to use. In the future, we will be able to open up computing to far more people if they can speak and gesture to machines in a more natural way."
Among other envisioned uses, developers imagine Zoe will one day help those with autism recognize human emotion and the deaf to lip-read. Data that supports this theory comes from a crowd-sourcing website where individuals were asked to evaluate Zoe's emotions. In all, 77 percent were able to successfully evaluate the system's mood - a full four percentage points ahead of those given the actual Zoe Lister to evaluate.
In all, perhaps one of the system's greatest hallmarks is that it's light. The total program comes in at just 10 megabytes and thus is small enough to fit on any device the future may hold.