To start, taking into account this particular instance of Qbo’s “consciousness” is done programmatically rather than arising naturally out of a deeper awareness of self should not diminish Qbo’s achievement. Qbo not only can recognize itself but also distinguish itself from other identical machines and carry on a simple conversation using speech synthesis (Festival) and recognition (Julius) programs. Qbo’s developers have simulated self-awareness through mimicking the way humans recognize themselves: we learn what we look like and verify by checking to see if our actions are mirrored. The nose flashes are the messaging system. The green robot can figure out if the the flashes coming from the black robot are his flashes and that the black robot looks enough alike to be one of his “species” which triggers the funny seduction line. Stay tuned.
Research and development by TheCorpora. [ qbo robot blog ]