Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby's errors are crucial first step for a smarter robot

Published on 05.10.07 by Michael Reilly and David Robson
on NewScientist Magazine issue 2624

When your software crashes, you probably restart your PC and hope it doesn't happen again, or you get the bug fixed. But not Rachel Wood. When a program she was testing screwed up a task that a 2-year-old would find easy, she was elated. The reason for this seemingly perverse reaction is that Wood's program didn't contain a bug, but had committed a famous cognitive goof identified by the psychology pioneer Jean Piaget. Known as the A-not-B error, it is made by babies between 7 and 12 months old and is seen as one of the hallmarks of fledgling human intelligence. Wood's robot has a brain far simpler than a baby's. But unravelling the events that led to this human-like behaviour - something that is easier to do in a computer program than a real brain - could help improve our understanding of artificial intelligence. Click for more...

[G.K Comment: Robots with built-in trial & error functionality for fixing "bugs"... that's the future.]