Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Mannered Robots

PostedJuly 30, 2017

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LEDE: DARPA, a government agency focused on technological breakthroughs, is challenging researchers with a big task: teaching robots manners.

Randy Atkins: Robots are likely to become more and more integrated into the work place and even our homes.  Bertram Malle, a social cognitive scientist at Brown University, says that in order for robots to successfully assist humans...

Bertram Malle: …they better have an idea of how to behave well, how to behave appropriately, how to follow the social and moral norms that humans have set up.

Randy Atkins: Like, say, being quiet in a library. Malle’s working with engineers on an algorithm that allows robots to learn what behaviors are appropriate.

Bertram Malle: We feed it the information about multiple people behaving a certain way in a certain context, and the algorithm pieces together the pattern of consistent behavior that then indicates a norm.

Randy Atkins:  Malle says it could be customized for various cultures.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.