Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teach your robot well

Date:
March 8, 2012
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
A new study identifies the types of questions a robot can ask during a learning interaction that are most likely to characterize a smooth and productive human-robot relationship.

Simon the Robot, created in the lab of Andrea Thomaz (School of Interactive Computing), learns a new task from a participant in a study seeking to determine the best questions a robot learner can ask to facilitate smooth human-robot interaction.
Credit: Image courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology

Within a decade, personal robots could become as common in U.S. homes as any other major appliance, and many if not most of these machines will be able to perform innumerable tasks not explicitly imagined by their manufacturers. This opens up a wider world of personal robotics, in which machines are doing anything their owners can program them to do -- without actually being programmers.

Related Articles


Laying some helpful groundwork for this world is, a new study by researchers in Georgia Tech's Center for Robotics & Intelligent Machines (RIM), who have identified the types of questions a robot can ask during a learning interaction that are most likely to characterize a smooth and productive human-robot relationship. These questions are about certain features of tasks, more so than labels of task components or real-time demonstrations of the task itself, and the researchers identified them not by studying robots, but by studying the everyday (read: non-programmer) people who one day will be their masters.

The findings were detailed in the paper, "Designing Robot Learners that Ask Good Questions," presented this week in Boston at the 7th ACM/IEEE Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).

"People are not so good at teaching robots because they don't understand the robots' learning mechanism," said lead author Maya Cakmak, Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Computing. "It's like when you try to train a dog, and it's difficult because dogs do not learn like humans do. We wanted to find out the best kinds of questions a robot could ask to make the human-robot relationship as 'human' as it can be."

Cakmak's study attempted to discover the role "active learning" concepts play in human-robot interaction. In a nutshell, active learning refers to giving machine learners more control over the information they receive. Simon, a humanoid robot created in the lab of Andrea Thomaz (assistant professor in the Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing, and co-author), is well acquainted with active learning; Thomaz and Cakmak are programming him to learn new tasks by asking questions.

Cakmak designed two separate experiments: first, she asked human volunteers to assume the role of an inquisitive robot attempting to learn a simple task by asking questions of a human instructor. Having identified the three main question types (feature, label and demonstration), Cakmak tagged each of the participants' questions as one of the three. The overwhelming majority (about 82 percent) of questions were feature queries, showing a clear cognitive preference in human learning for this query type.

Type of question -- Example

Label query -- "Can I pour salt like this?"

Demonstration query -- "Can you show me how to pour salt from here?"

Feature query -- "Can I pour salt from any height?"

Next, Cakmak recruited humans to teach Simon new tasks by answering the robot's questions and then rating those questions on how "smart" they thought they were. Feature queries once again were the preferred interrogatory, with 72 percent of participants calling them the smartest questions.

"These findings are important because they help give us the ability to teach robots the kinds of questions that humans would ask," Cakmak said. "This in turn will help manufacturers produce the kinds of robots that are most likely to integrate quickly into a household or other environment and better serve the needs we'll have for them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Teach your robot well." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308153535.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2012, March 8). Teach your robot well. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308153535.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Teach your robot well." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308153535.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Keep Your Android Device Safe This Holiday Season

How to Keep Your Android Device Safe This Holiday Season

Howdini (Nov. 24, 2014) Protect yourself against malware and hackers, especially during the hectic online shopping season. Mobile device security makes a great holiday gift and protects your loved ones from cyber attacks and identity theft. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Keep You and Your Family's Identitiy Safe Online This Holiday Season

How to Keep You and Your Family's Identitiy Safe Online This Holiday Season

Howdini (Nov. 24, 2014) The hectic holiday season is a prime time for online identity theft, so make sure you’re protected.Be cautious when shopping online Internet security software makes a great holiday gift and protects your loved ones from cyber attacks and identity theft. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins