So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Robot Learning at NIPS 2007

Jan Peters and Marc Toussaint are running a workshop at NIPS this year called “Robotics Challenges for Machine Learning.” Abstracts due Oct 21.

Creating autonomous robots that can assist humans in situations of daily life is a great challenge for machine learning. While this aim has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the cognitive sciences, we have yet to achieve the first step of creating robots that can accomplish a multitude of different tasks, triggered by environmental context or higher level instruction.

It would be great to get the NIPS community thinking about robotics, and in particular the kind of adaptation and learning that needs to happen in order for robots to be useful assistants to humans in everyday life. So, I encourage people to participate. The stated goal of the workshop is to bring together people that are interested in robotics as a source and inspiration for new Machine Learning challenges. My take is that social interaction is a new challange, and that it’s a necessary and useful constraint for Machine Learning algorithms in these scenarios. Should be a great venue for that conversation.

October 11th, 2007 Posted by | Announcements, Conferences | no comments

Everybody loves their Roomba?

Beki Grinter and other colleagues at Georgia Tech recently had a paper at Ubicom on their ethnographic study of people’s Roomba usage. It colllected quite a bit of press, an AP article,, and even inspired Comedy Central’s Colbert Report to feature robots as the #1 Threat Down…nice!

These Roomba studies always leave me wondering about the people that we are not hearing from. I personally know a lot of people that stopped using a Roomba, they either didn’t find that it cleaned very well, or got tired of “roomba-izing” their houses. It’s facinating to learn about the Roomba fans, but as a counterpoint it would be great to see some interviews and analysis of the non-fans too.

October 11th, 2007 Posted by | Fun, HRI, In the News | 4 comments