THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 22 February 2020 (Artificial Human (Indian Express))

Artificial Human (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 3:Science and Tech
Prelims level: NEON
Mains level: Robo technology and artificial human development


  • Samsung backed STARLabs has recently introduced what it calls the world’s first ‘Artificial Human’called NEON - the word derives from NEO (new) + humaN.
  • NEON is described as a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a realhuman, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.
  • Currently, NEONs don’t have a physical embodiment, but rather, are digitally composed nextgeneration artificial intelligent entities.
  • Even though NEONs are virtual, they can exhibit the most important aspects of human capabilities:the ability to communicate with human affect, the ability to learn from experiences, and the ability toform new memories.

Difference from Virtual Assistants:

  • NEON is not a virtual assistant or a bot which gives answers to questions like what’s the weather.NEONs are also not androids, surrogates, copies of real humans or an interface to the Internet to askfor cricket updates or to play one’s favourite music.
  • Virtual Assistants now learn from all the data they are plugged into, while NEONs will be limited towhat they know and learn. Their learning could potentially be limited to the person they are cateringto and maybe their friends — but not the entire Internet.
  • They will be built to become friends, collaborators, and companions, continually learning, evolving,and forming memories from their interactions.

Functioning of Neons:

  • There are two core technologies behind NEONs. First, there is the proprietary CORE R3 technologywhere R3 stands for Reality, Realtime and Responsive.
  • CORE R3 leapfrogs in the domains of Behavioral Neural Networks, Evolutionary GenerativeIntelligence and Computational Reality, and is extensively trained on how humans look, behave and interact. But in the end, it is like a rendition engine, converting the mathematical models to look likeactual humans.
  • CORE R3 can computationally create lifelike reality that is beyond normal perception to distinguish.With a latency of less than a few milliseconds, CORE R3 makes it possible for NEONs to react andrespond in real-time.
  • The next stage will be SPECTRA, which will complement CORE R3 with the “spectrum of intelligence,learning, emotions and memory”. But SPECTRA is still in development, and is not expected until laterthis year.
  • StarLabs does not want NEONs to have collective memory, or to share data among themselves. So, what is known to one NEON cannot be useful for another. The idea is to have a small network that can live independently.
  • Further, no one except the person and the NEON can ever have access to the interactions, and theprivate data will never be shared without permission.
  • Although Artificial Humans may borrow the likeness of or are modelled after real people, each NEONhas his or her own unique personality and can show new expressions, movements, and dialogs.
  • In the near future, one will be able to license or subscribe to a NEON as a service representative, afinancial advisor, a healthcare provider, or a concierge and over time, NEONs are meant to work asTV anchors, spokespeople, or movie actors.

Way Ahead:

  • The plan is to continue developing the CORE R3 engine, and to beta launch NEON in the real world withselected partners from around the world but a physical embodiment for NEONs is not envisioned anytime in the near future, as the technology is not in the realm of the possible atleast for the next 25-30years.
  • In the long run however, it is expected that NEONs will integrate with the world and serve as newlinks to a better future, a world where humans are humans and ‘machines are humane.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the private member’s Bill, consider the following statements:
1. Bills introduced by private members are referred to as private member’s Bills and those introduced by ministers are called government Bills.
2. It can be introduced and discussed on any day.

Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) None of the above

Ans: A
Mains Questions:

Q.1) Starlabs has recently launched NEONs. What are NEONs? Throw light on their functioningwhile delineating their difference from virtual assistants.