China makes AI child named Tong Tong, scientists claim it feels emotion

Scientists in China unveiled what is being dubbed the "world's first AI child" named Tong Tong at the Frontiers of General Artificial Intelligence Technology Exhibition in Beijing at the end of January. Daily Mail called it "the next big breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI)."

Tong Tong, which means "little girl," can reportedly assign itself tasks, learn autonomously, explore its environment, and, as its engineers claim, can experience emotion.

The scientists from the Beijing Institute for General Artificial Intelligence (BIGAI) said in a video that Tong Tong "has her own joy, anger and sorrow" and believe it displays the intelligence of a 3 or 4-year-old child.

Tong Tong does not have a 3D tangible form, but exists and operates in a virtual environment that can interact with humans outside of it. The South China Morning Post reports that conference attendees could speak with the AI child and assign it tasks such as tidying a room within its realm.

What stands out though, is that it can assign itself tasks, something that chatbots such as ChatGPT are not capable of. Even the "world's most advanced humanoid robot[s]" operate with a "human in the loop system" which requires human instructions.

While it's unclear if Tong Tong is truly autonomous, its inventors claim it is much more independent than previous AI.

BIGAI said: "Tong Tong possesses a mind and strives to understand the common sense taught by humans."

"She discerns right from wrong, expresses her attitudes in various situations, and has the power to shape the future."

Image: Title: chinese AI tong tong