Biological and artificial curiosity: models, behaviors and robots

November 18, 2014 - 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Goren Gordon


Personal Robots Group


Media Lab, MIT

Curiosity is one of the major human drives. Can we model curiosity in biological agents? Can we implement these models in artificial systems? What happens when a curious child meets a curious robot? In this talk I present recent work on the study of curiosity. First, studies of curiosity-driven behaviors in humans and rodents are presented, where I show that biological agents attempt to manage their novelty in a structured manner. A model that captures this structure is presented, wherein emergent exploration behaviors are balanced with novelty-based withdrawal-like actions. The model, which has only a few free parameters, reproduce, explain and predict many observed behaviors in mice and rats. A similar model explained human subjects’ behavior, when artificial whiskers were attached to their fingers and they were asked to localize poles, just like rodents. The same curiosity-based architecture is also implemented in curious robots that learn about their own body and people interacting with them, resulting in emergent behaviors that have similar characteristics to infants’ behaviors. Finally, results from a recent study show that children’s curiosity is higher after interacting with a curious social robot, compared to a non-curious one. Future work on studies of infants’, children’s and adults’ curiosity-driven behavior as well as the development of autonomous curious robots, concludes the talk.


November 18, 2014
9:00 pm to 10:30 pm
MIT: McGovern Institute Seminar Room, 46-3189

43 Vassar Street
MIT Bldg 46
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States