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Humanoid robot tricks people into thinking it has a mind of its own

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Study co-author Agnieszka Wykowska pictured with the deceptively “self-aware” robot iCub. (Image credit: Italian Institute of Technology)

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A supernaturally human-like robot that was programmed to socially interact with human companions tricked people into thinking the mindless machine was self-aware, according to a new study.

The digital trickster, dubbed “iCub” by the researchers, is a child-sized humanoid robot created by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa to study social interactions between humans and robots. This advanced android is 1.1 meters tall and has a human face, camera eyes that can maintain eye contact with people, and 53 degrees of freedom that allow it to perform complex tasks and mimic human behavior. Researchers can program the iCub to behave remarkably human, as evidenced by its appearance in 2016 on Italy has talent (will open in a new tab) when the robot performed tai chi moves and impressed the judges with its smart conversational skills.

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