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article imageHelping robots understand humans

By Tim Sandle     Mar 9, 2018 in Science
Scientists are helping robots understand humans, and ways of human thought, through testing out a twenty questions game idea.
Inspired by the popular game "20 Questions," researchers are using a question-based approach as part of a quest to help robots maintain continuous and purposeful conversation with humans. The output, from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, is to ask a series of yes/no questions designed to rapidly achieve the best answer and to assist robots to learn more about human thought processes.
The aim is to reach a future state whereby machines can ask other machines questions, or for machines and humans to query each other. Here the researchers want to establish a means whereby a machine can query a human in a way that takes advantage of the human's expertise. The focus at the moment is with eliminating machine error.
The aim of the research is to enhance military robots. According to lead researcher Dr. Brian Sadler: "A real, purposeful conversation, especially in complicated military environments, is different. It requires the AI system to understand a whole sequence of questions and answers, and to handle every question or answer with consideration of what has been asked or answered before. Such computer algorithms do not yet exist, and the scientific theory for building such algorithms is not yet developed."
The research has been published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, under the heading: "Unequal Error Protection Querying Policies for the Noisy 20 Questions Problem."
In related research, a new study from the University of Texas at San Antonio, describes a new cloud-based learning platform for artificial intelligence that teaches machines to learn like humans. This was modeled on how humans learn as they get older. With this, children, begin by identifying objects such as faces and toys; they then move on from here to understand communication. This process is essential in helping their thought processes mature as they become older. The long-term aim is enable artificial intelligence gents to learn automatic threat detection.
More about Robots, cognition, Thought, Machines
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