Towards robots with teleological action and language understanding

Abstract : It is generally agreed upon that in order to achieve generalizable learning capabilities of robots they need to be able to acquire compositional structures - whether in language or in action. However, in human development the capability to perceive compositional structure only evolves at a later stage. Before the capability to understand action and language in a structured, compositional way arises, infants learn in a holistic way which enables them to interact in a socially adequate way with their social and physical environment even with very limited understanding of the world, e.g. trying to take part in games without knowing the exact rules. This capability endows them with an action production advantage which elicits corrective feedback from a tutor, thus reducing the search space of possible action interpretations tremendously. In accordance with findings from developmental psychology we argue that this holistic way is in fact a teleological representation encoding a goal-directed per- ception of actions facilitated through communicational frames. This observation leads to a range of consequences which need to be verfied and analysed in further research. Here, we discuss two hypotheses how this can be made accessible for action learning in robots: (1) We explore the idea that the teleological approach allows some kind of highly reduced one shot learning enabling the learner to perform a meaningful, although only partially "correct" action which can then be further refined through compositional approaches. (2) We discuss the possibility to transfer the concept of "conversational frames" as recurring interaction patterns to the action domain, thus facilitating to understand the meaning of a new action. We conclude that these capabilities need to be combined with more analytical compositional learning methods in order to achieve human-like learning performance.
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Britta Wrede, Katharina Rohlfing, Jochen Steil, Sebastian Wrede, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, et al.. Towards robots with teleological action and language understanding. Humanoids 2012 Workshop on Developmental Robotics: Can developmental robotics yield human-like cognitive abilities?, Nov 2012, Osaka, Japan. ⟨hal-00788627⟩

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