Disney Reveals Robots With Emotionally Intelligent AI

Disney debuted new robots at SXSW that are designed to foster an emotional connection with the audience using advanced AI capabilities.

By TeeJay Small | Updated

In a move straight out of something from Wall-E, Disney has unveiled an emotionally intelligent AI, capable of capturing complex feelings and humanlike mannerisms. The news of this Disney robot has been reported by a write-up in Yahoo Finance, which details the AI’s ability to copy emotional data in order to convey highly resonant facial expressions and vocal performances. These robots are set to be unleashed across rides at Disney theme parks, allowing your next interaction with iconic characters to come with the fear of Terminator-style robot attacks in place of a teenager in a mouse suit.

With advanced artificial intelligence growing stronger and stronger in recent years, scientists have been rapidly uncovering new and terrifying ways to bring humanity to the brink of a sci-fi novel. Elon Musk‘s self driving cars have been hitting roads in increased numbers, Chat GPT has been assisting students across the country in constructing lifelike recreations of real homework assignments, and now Disney will be employing robots with feelings to make you cry into your ice cream cone with joy. This technology promises to be the next big thing since motion capture, which allows real human performances to be digitized and translated into films or video games such as The Last Of Us.

In the first demonstration of these Disney robots, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairperson Josh D’Amaro took to the stage at a South by Southwest presentation with a robot modeled after the beloved Zootoptia character Judy Hopps. The robot then proceeded to rollerblade around the stage and perform incredible athletic feats to show that it isn’t just writers and chauffeurs losing their jobs to robots, but circus performers, too. The robot’s dynamic movements prove that the sophisticated machinery is capable of perfectly executed acrobatics, though the robot had been programmed to intentionally slip and stumble while catching its balance to mimic the real movements of human beings.

Disney’s SXSW presention

While Disney hasn’t made it clear to the public just yet what their plans are regarding implementing these robots across their parks, this demonstration proves that the corporation has enough faith and money invested in the technology that we’ll soon see it rolled out in some capacity. While utilizing these cyborgs in place of traditional park mascots has its obvious benefits, this also raises several questions regarding interactions the machines would be having with guests. Would Disney outfit each robot with a body cam or nearby guard to ensure that no guests vandalize or steal from the bots, prompting a rise in animosity leading to a robot rebellion?

At this time, we cannot predict the future of this advanced technology. With artificial intelligence convincingly mimicking the emotional mannerisms of its human creators, we’re beginning to wonder if there’s anything that robots can’t do. Additionally, if these Disney robots are capable of mimicking motion capture technology, perhaps the media giant will soon be capable of replacing human beings in their films entirely, like a race of robotic Skrulls blending into plain sight.