Handheld rebel robots

“Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. have developed a handheld robot that predicts a user’s plans, and then frustrates the user by rebelling against those plans, demonstrating an understanding of human intention.”

Demonstrating an understanding of human intention — more than we can say for most humans, on the conscious level. Studies show that we do react before our thinking brains get around to deciding what to do, though our thinking brains can over-ride the so-called animal brain. Interesting if we think we can create robots that successfully predict humans actions. And then thwart them.

The goal of this research, from the University of Bristol, is to better understand human machine cooperation, to thus better develop helper robots.

“This research is a new and interesting twist on human-robot research as it aims to first predict what users want and then go against these plans.”

Professor Mayol-Cuevas said: “If you are frustrated with a machine that is meant to help you, this is easier to identify and measure than the often elusive signals of human-robot cooperation. If the user is frustrated when we instruct the robot to rebel against their plans, we know the robot understood what they wanted to do.”

I’d be interested to have access to the speaking that occurs in this process, and assess the levels of anger, frustration in the voices, and any acts of violence that occur, in the humans engaged with the robots.