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Social Cognition for Human-Robot Symbiosis—Challenges and Building Blocks

Sandini, Giulio and Mohan, Vishwanathan and Sciutti, Alessandra and Morasso, Pietro (2018) 'Social Cognition for Human-Robot Symbiosis—Challenges and Building Blocks.' Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 12. ISSN 1662-5218

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Abstract

The next generation of robot companions or robot working partners will need to satisfy social requirements somehow similar to the famous laws of robotics envisaged by Isaac Asimov time ago (Asimov, 1942). The necessary technology has almost reached the required level, including sensors and actuators, but the cognitive organization is still in its infancy and is only partially supported by the current understanding of brain cognitive processes. The brain of symbiotic robots will certainly not be a “positronic” replica of the human brain: probably, the greatest part of it will be a set of interacting computational processes running in the cloud. In this article, we review the challenges that must be met in the design of a set of interacting computational processes as building blocks of a cognitive architecture that may give symbiotic capabilities to collaborative robots of the next decades: (1) an animated body-schema; (2) an imitation machinery; (3) a motor intentions machinery; (4) a set of physical interaction mechanisms; and (5) a shared memory system for incremental symbiotic development. We would like to stress that our approach is totally un-hierarchical: the five building blocks of the shared cognitive architecture are fully bi-directionally connected. For example, imitation and intentional processes require the “services” of the animated body schema which, on the other hand, can run its simulations if appropriately prompted by imitation and/or intention, with or without physical interaction. Successful experiences can leave a trace in the shared memory system and chunks of memory fragment may compete to participate to novel cooperative actions. And so on and so forth. At the heart of the system is lifelong training and learning but, different from the conventional learning paradigms in neural networks, where learning is somehow passively imposed by an external agent, in symbiotic robots there is an element of free choice of what is worth learning, driven by the interaction between the robot and the human partner. The proposed set of building blocks is certainly a rough approximation of what is needed by symbiotic robots but we believe it is a useful starting point for building a computational framework.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive architecture, social interaction, human robot symbiosis, memory system, internal model, cognitive robotics, imitation, lifelong learning
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 12:19
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 13:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22881

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