Sunday, January 17, 2021

Columbia engineers built basic empathy into a robot

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The observer was able to anticipate the movements of the moving robot 98 times out of 100, without receiving additional information about the obstruction or the objectives of the moving object.

It’s a rudimentary situation, but the results are impressive.

“Our results are starting to show how robots can see the world from another robot’s point of view,” lead author Boyuan Chen said. “The ability of the observer to put himself in his partner’s shoes, so to speak, and to understand, without being guided, whether or not his partner could see the green circle from his point of view, is perhaps a primitive form of empathy.

This experiment is a concrete attempt to instill human-like behavior in machines, or what cognitive scientists call theory of mind, according to Columbia Engineering. Theory of mind is the understanding that other people may have different goals or perspectives than yours, and it tends to manifest in humans around the age of 3. This is a critical aspect in the development of the skills of cooperation, competition and empathy, then the basis of deception.

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