Developing robots that distinguish fiction from reality

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About Developing robots that distinguish fiction from reality


1. Developing robots that distinguish fiction from reality

Within the SELEMCA project that focuses on robots for care, an internship on developing robots that distinguish fiction from reality is available. In this internship, theory is formalized as a computational model. The internal logics will be proven by simulation experiments. If within the student’s reach, lab experiments are performed with real humans and/or working prototypes of applications are developed. Background of the SELEMCA project and the model follows next.

2. Services of Electro-Mechanical Care Agencies

SELEMCA (Services of Electro-Mechanical Care Agencies) is part of the national Crisp program to sustain the creative industries (e.g., arts, design, video, animation, games) with academic knowledge, tools, and methods so to come up with novel product-service combinations that boost the knowledge economy ( Research in SELEMCA focuses on three topics: Intelligence, Affect, and Creativity. Intelligence should be interpreted as both information and reasoning. Affect is limited to involvement-distance trade-offs, emotion generation and regulation. Creativity focuses on the process of insight, conceptual blending, and idea optimization. The application area and population under investigation are in the health domain, where we compare adolescents with the elderly. The aim is to keep patients empowered and self-supportive for as long as possible. The means are to develop technologies that behave as smart, sensitive, and ingenious humanoids. These agents, robots, avatars, coaches and so on work in interactive environments such as games, virtual reality, or inhabit augmented household objects (e.g., chairs, tables, and coffee machines). We cooperate in a consortium of academic, social, and business partners – of national as well as international origin.

3. How to be a realist: Epistemics of the Virtual

We find it important that a care robot is able to make distinctions between fiction and reality. A care robot may encounter situations that go way beyond outer appearances. The machine has to deal independently with people that may suffer from delusions (e.g., dementia) or people that simulate diseases. How will the robot decide that what the patient says is nonsense or not? Is she insane, telling a fairy tale, joking, or truly serious? In the case of simulation, how as a robot will you know that the limping, moaning, and groaning of a patient are an act? Should you do a health intervention if nothing is wrong? Should not the robot know whether it deals with a real human or just another agent?

Epistemics of the Virtual is a self-synchronizing system regulating transactions between incoming data (robot sensing) and concepts already stored in a database. Dependent on the fuzziness of concept boundaries and the criterion placement of the signal detection, the robot tolerates more or less deviations from the already stored information and updates its database accordingly (Hoorn, 2012). It suffices to know that the system can be divided in logics, where input is verified against known categories; empirical validation, where deviant information is checked in detail for soundness; figurative interpretation, where deviant information that cannot be validated is extended with non-literal meaning; and a weighing system, where each piece of information is checked against its utility for robot goals (threat or promise). Actually, the weighing system is identical to Silicon Coppélia and the figurative interpretation is a derivation from ACASIA.

4. Other internships within the SELEMCA project

Within the SELEMCA project that focuses on robots for care, several other internships are also available:

• Developing creative robots: Computational ACASIA (creativity model)

• Developing robots that distinguish fiction from reality: Computational Epistemics of the Virtual (knowledge model of virtual encounters)

• Developing emotionally intelligent robots that stimulate autonomy: Integration of Silicon Coppélia (on emotion regulation) with model of Moral Autonomy

• Developing emotionally intelligent, creative robots: Integration of Silicon Coppélia with ACASIA model

• Explaining criminal behavior with a Moral Coppelia, a model of moral reasoning and affective decision making