Thursday, September 30, 2010

Decepticons Assemble! Deceptive Robots Hint At Machine Self-Awareness

A robot that tricks its opponent in a game of hide and seek is a step towards machines that can intuit our thoughts, intentions and feelings.

the robotic car is creating a decoy. It trundles forward and knocks over a marker pen stood on its end. The pen is positioned along the path to a hiding place - but Rovio doesn’t hide there. It sneaks away and conceals itself elsewhere.

When a second Rovio arrives, it sees the felled pen and assumes that its prey must have passed this way. It rolls onwards, but is soon disappointed.

The behaviour of the deceptive Rovio represents something much more significant than a crude game of robot hide-and-seek. It is a demonstration of an aspect of social intelligence known as theory of mind, which humans only develop around the age of 4 or 5. If robots can be made to display theory of mind in other situations, it could endow them with a sophisticated intelligence. They might then be able to reason the thoughts, intentions and even feelings of people and other robots

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