13 Aug MIPUS the Robot Assistant
MIPUS Graphical Study Aid
I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine: His name is MIPUS. The main intent of the Understanding Context blog is to investigate mechanical models of cognition. What do robots have to do with language understanding (my main focus), you may ask. As you can see in the illustration, this robot features an interaction control system that allows the device to subserviently receive and act upon new instructions,
In order to illustrate these models of cognition, we have invited MIPUS the robot to serve as a graphical study aid. MIPUS stands for Mobile Interactive Personal Utility System. In other words, he’s a household-helper robot, and a robot assistant to your learning. In addition to explaining some of his mechanical physiology, MIPUS will illustrate how he relates to human cognitive form and function. Observing MIPUS’s characteristics may help us envision other applications of artificial intelligence and neural network technologies. Hopefully, the applications we envision will be more relevant to each of us than a general household android (in the traditional SciFi interpretation – a robot that can think and talk).
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I am interested in robots because I see cognition and communication intrinsic to the whole body. So the more body automation we can achieve in a single package, the better the system will be able to talk about actions from personal experience, and possibly relate to body actions and body metaphors.
Can (should) a Robot have Emotions?
I recall a beautiful robot from “Lost in Space” (after whom MIPUS is modeled), who would reliably warn his friend, Will Robinson, of impending danger with flashing lights, waving arms and an unmistakable “Danger! Will Robinson.” When Star Wars’ R2D2 exhibits emotion in the face of impending disaster or recent victory, we humans take it in stride. We should note at the outset that, although MIPUS is relegated to tasks that may seem mundane, his abilities are extremely advanced. While MIPUS occasionally has to sit in the closet for long periods of “retraining” after breaking dishes he was supposed to be washing, he is usually very reliable and seldom allows his personal insecurities to interfere with his job. Personal insecurities are, of course, emotional responses. In this blog we discuss information on the amygdala and emotional processing. I believe that emotions are a fundamental component of human’s ability to process information.
As MIPUS appears in this blog, you will see how emotions may help understand the meaning of instructions, and how they may interfere with rational decision making. Tomorrow I will post on Association Neurons and use MIPUS to help illustrate some points. Please note that any resemblance MIPUS may have to my cartoon hero is strictly incidental.
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