Sony Aibo is back!

I’m so glad Sony finally decided to come back to the AI and robotics frontline. As many of my colleagues working in robotics, I was so disappointed 11 years ago when Sony decided to discontinue Aibo and Qrio… Aibo played a very significant role in research, being a really good performing robot in challenges such as the Robocup, it was a shame to lose all that research momentum that we had acquired over the years with such a nice platform.

Aibo resurrection is great news, the new model, Aibo ERS-1000, resembles a lot the last ERS-7 model. It is now available to pre-order in Japan, going on sale around mid-January 2018. Check the official Aibo website for more details. The rest of the world will have to wait a little longer for the new Sony Aibo.

It’s for us to see now whether Sony has been doing a great effort during these years to improve the robot or it is just coming back to a redecorated version of the ERS-7 (according to the company they’ve been working on AI internally over these years, although no commercial products were available). My humble opinion: you need to be in the market, even when AI is not the trending topic, in order to really advance the field and play a significant role in the development of new AI and robotics products. Over these years, in many research areas and business prototype applications, Aldebaran Nao kind of took the place left by the discontinuation of Aibo. It’ll be interesting to see now if Aibo is able to reclaim its lost position. My opinion again, that depends on how well the company does with SDK and APIs.

Of course, apart from research and business applications, we have the wide potential market for robotic pets. But again, I think the success in this market depends on the ability of Sony to foster a strong research and developer community around Aibo. Keeping a technology-closed or fully proprietary platform will prevent Aibo to reach its full potential. On the other hand, if Sony decides to go for an open community collaboration, my guess is Aibo will have a successful future.

There is no doubt that current enthusiasm about AI and Deep Learning is influencing all companies worldwide and all industries. Sony decided to take a step back from this arena more than a decade ago, let’s see now if they can keep a strong position in such a competitive domain these days. One key feature of new Aibo is clearly artificial vision using deep learning, and here we can make some comparisons with Google TensorFlow. Sony has developed their own neural network libraries (see https://nnabla.org/), which are written in C++ and designed to be embedded in devices such as Aibo. Apart from that, the whole library scheme seems to be much like TensorFlow. There is a web-based and app-based neural network console you can use to play with Sony’s neural network lib (https://dl.sony.com/). However, it looks like it is only available in Japan for the time being… So, we’ll stay tuned for news about this.

The new Aibo is being evaluated at Psicobōtica Labs as a possible platform for social interaction training.

A better way to test for consciousness?

ConsScale Pyramid

No doubt we need better ways to test for consciousness, as much as we need better definitions. From the point of view of science, Consciousness is a controversial and quite elusive phenomenon and trying to build good tests is actually a crucial part of the quest to understand it. Assessment and definition are always inseparable (otherwise, we wouldn’t know what we are testing).

Effectively testing for consciousness in humans is something we take for granted, specially when we put our trust in anesthesiologists right before going into surgery, or when ER physicians perform a Glasgow coma test to assess the level of consciousness of a patient. Assessing the level of consciousness in human subjects is usually a non problematic or challenging task (except from locked-in syndrome patients and the like). However, when we consider the vast number of other sorts of organisms, such as other animals, plants and machines things get much more complicated. The problems is essentially the same for all creatures, and scientifically speaking it involves the very same problem. However, there is a huge difference when we speak about humans: for humans we do assume consciousness as a legitimate feature of the living organism.

So, what do we do if we want to come up with a universal test for consciousness? One that might be applicable to virtually any creature possible, including biological organisms, artificial machines or cyborgs? What features or what measurements do we need to do? In other words, what is consciousness made of, so we can measure it?

ConsScale Summary

As neatly described by Musser in his aeon essay (Consciousness Creep. Our machines could become self-aware without our knowing it) we are making efforts, and hopefully some progress, into building new ways to test for consciousness. ConsScale is an example of this quest for both understanding and measuring consciousness.

Musser presents in his essay several of the tests that have been recently proposed, explaining the vision and position of the authors, including my own. It’s interesting to see how different approaches for testing imply different assumptions about what consciousness is. Tononi’s approach is based on the Information Integration theory, ConsScale is based on cognitive development, Haikonen stresses the importance of inner talk, Schwitzgebel raises the question of consciousness in groups (super-organisms). Perhaps we need to look for a new approach able to deal with all these aspects within the same framework.

New Generation of Atlas Humanoid Robot

Looks like Boston Dynamics is moving fast from quadripedal locomotion to the outstanding Atlas biped robot. In the Atlas the upper limbs are free and they are effectively used to carry and handle loads, and even opening doors! This new Atlas prototype seems to be much more agile and more human-like size. Although the focus for Atlas is in balance and dynamics, I guess next step is endowing this humanoid robot with proper hands (I don’t really see this Atlas version dealing with a regular door handle. Anyhow, I can imagine how it might be able to open the door anyway…).

I’m always taking about robots and emotions…, but this time I just think it’s a good thing that the Atlas robot didn’t show any anger when dealing with the annoying guy with the hockey stick (luckily for the human).

BotPrize 2014 Competition

Call for Competitors – BotPrize 2014 Competition

A Turing test for Non-Player Characters in Video Games

http://human-machine.unizar.es/

cartel_BotPrize2014

The 2014 BotPrize competition challenges programmers / researchers / hobbyists to create a bot for UT2004 (a first-person shooter) that can fool opponents into thinking it is another human player. In the competition gaming environment, both computer-controlled bots and human players (judges) meet in multiple rounds of combat, and the judges try to guess which opponents are human. To win the prize, a bot has to be indistinguishable from a human player. In other words, it has to pass this adapted version of the Turing Test.

The results will be announced at a Special Session in the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (IEEE CIG 2014), in Dortmund, Germany, taking place between 26-29 August, 2014.

AGI – Artificial General Intelligence 2013

AGI 2013 – Artificial General Intelligence 2013 – Beijing, July 31 – Aug 3 2013: Call for Papers

It is our great pleasure to remind you about the Sixth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, which will be held in Beijing, China, this upcoming summer.   The deadline for paper submission is coming up fairly soon — March 1.  Details about the conference follow.

* Date and Website *

July 31, 2013 – August 3, 2013, Beijing, China

Conference Website: http://www.agi-conference.org/2013/

* Mission *

The AGI conference series (http://www.agi-conf.org/) is the premier international forum for cutting-edge research focusing on the original goal of the AI field — the creation of thinking machines with general intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond. The AGI conference series is held in cooperation with AAAI, and AGI-13 will co-locate with IJCAI-13.

* Topics *

As in prior AGI conferences, we welcome papers on all aspects of AGI R&D, with the key proviso that each paper should in some way contribute specifically to the development of Artificial General Intelligence.

* Special Session on Cognitive Robotics and AGI *

This Special Session will feature papers giving new AGI ideas inspired by current research in Cognitive Robotics.

* Workshops *

AGI-13 will include the following workshops:
1. Formalizing Mechanisms for Artificial General Intelligence and Cognition (Formal MAGIC)
2. Probability Theory or Not? Practical and Theoretical Concerns on Uncertainty Handling in AGI

See http://www.agi-conference.org/2013/workshops/ for details of the workshops.

* Tutorials / Demonstrations *

Tutorials and demonstrations will be held alongside the conference. For the requirements for proposals, please see the AGI-13 website.

* Keynotes *

Keynote speeches will be delivered by leading scientists in the area of AGI and adjacent disciplines; they will be announced at a later stage at the website of AGI-13.

* Important Dates *

Conference paper submission: March 1, 2013
Workshop/tutorial/demonstration submissions: April 10, 2013
Acceptance Notification: April 20, 2013
Camera-ready copy: May 15, 2013
Conference: July 31, 2013 – August 3, 2013

* Submission Information *

All papers have to be submitted via the conference submission page, to be announced at the AGI-13 website.

The authors should not expect any extension of the deadlines, though special situations can be arranged in a case-by-case manner. If for a special reason your submission will be delayed for a few days, please contact the program committee co-chairs for advance approval.

The conference papers will be published by Springer in the Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (LNAI) series. Paper templates for both LaTeX and Word may be found here: http://www.springer.com/computer/lncs/lncs+authors?SGWID=0-40209-0-0-0 . Use the templates for “LNCS Proceedings and Other Multiauthor Volumes”. The LaTeX template (use of which is preferred) is also given directly here:ftp://ftp.springer.de/pub/tex/latex/llncs/latex2e/llncs2e.zip.

Papers must be in English, and submitted in PDF format. There are two types of submissions:
1. Full papers (up to 10 pages): Original research in the above areas.
2. Technical Communications (up to 4 pages): Results and ideas with interest to the AGI audience, including reports about recent own publications, position papers, and preliminary results.

All accepted conference papers will be included in the proceedings, as well as presented at the conference as talks or as posters. At least one author of each accepted paper must register for the conference and present the paper there.

* AGI Summer School *

Collocating with AGI-13, An AGI Summer School will be held in July 17 to 30, 2013. For details, see http://www.mindmakers.org/projects/agi-summer-school-2013

We look forward to seeing you in Beijing!

Yours,

Dr. Pei Wang
Temple University
AGI-13 Conference Chair

Dr. Ben Goertzel
Novamente LLC & Hong Kong Polytechnic University
AGI Conference Series Chair

EAIS 2012

EAIS 2012

2012 IEEE Conference on Evolving and Adaptive Intelligent Systems

Deadline extended: February, 15. 2012.

This EAIS Edition will be held in Madrid, Spain, between May 17-18, 2012.

One of the important research challenges today is to develop new theoretical methods, algorithms, and implementations of systems with a higher level of flexibility and autonomy, we can say with higher level of intelligence. Intelligent systems should be dynamically evolving and be able to adapt and learn. That is, the system must be able to evolve, to self-develop, to self-organize, to self-evaluate and to self-improve. The emerging area of Evolving Intelligent Systems targets non-stationary processes by developing novel on-line learning methods and computationally efficient algorithms for real-time applications. Some of the natural implementation areas of Evolving and Adaptive Intelligent systems are: wireless sensor networks, assisted ambient intelligence, embedded soft computing diagnostics and prognostics algorithms, intelligent agents, smart evolving sensors, autonomous robotic systems etc.

EAIS 2012 continues the tradition established by the successful series of IEEE conferences starting with EFS’06 (Lake District, England), GEFS’08 (Witten-Bomerhoz, Germany), ESDIS’09 (Nashville, USA), EIS’10 (Leicester, England), and EAIS’11 (Paris, France). It will provide a friendly atmosphere and will be a leading international forum focusing on discussing problems, research, results and future directions in the area of Evolving and Adaptive Intelligent Systems.

More Information: www.uc3m.es/eais12

CfP “Enaction: Challenges and Successes” AISB’13

CALL FOR PAPERS: Enaction: Challenges and Successes
We are pleased to announce the AISB symposium “Enaction: Challenges and Successes” to take place during the AISB Annual Convention 2013, Univ. Exeter, UK, April 2-5th, 2013.
 
 
Enaction represents one alternative to “good old-fashion cognitive science”, in the form of a change of focus for models of cognition: from computation to interaction, from the brain-in-a-vat to the embodied brain in the world. This extension, dubbed enactive cognitive science, arises from both the inability of current theoretical frameworks to account for recent data in the social and life sciences, and from growing debates on the defining features of a cognizant organism in its environment.
 
The symposium will foster discussions around 1) the challenges that any alternative to current frameworks will have to overcome, and 2) the successes from enactive cognitive science that respond to shortcomings in the orthodox frameworks. The outcome of this symposium will be a critical perspective of the state of the field today, as well as a tentative roadmap for the future.
 
It will be organised around talks and panel discussions. Papers should be no more than 7000 words, including refs and figures. All accepted papers will be provided to the AISB’13 delegates on memory sticks at the beginning of the Convention and, subject to a sufficient number of high-quality submissions, proceedings of the symposium will be published in a more formal outreach, like the Springers series Studies in Applied  Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics (SAPERE).
 
Submissions should be made using the EasyChair portal for the symposium:
 
Timeline:
– Submission of full papers: 14th January 2013 – Notification of acceptance: 11th February 2013 – Camera-ready for inclusion in proceedings: 4th March 2013
 
The symposium is a sequel to the workshop “Foundations of Enactive Cognitive Sciences”, which took place in Windsor, on February 27-28th, 2013, sponsored by the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, at the University of Reading.
More information and update can be found at:
 
Dr. Etienne B. Roesch (Univ. Reading)
Prof. Slawomir Nasuto (Univ. Reading)
Prof. J. Mark Bishop (Goldsmiths Univ. London)

CFP: Brain Inspired Cognitive Systems 2013

Paper submissions and special session proposals are invited to the

International Conference on Brain Inspired Cognitive Systems

(http://sentic.net/bics ) to be held in Beijing next June.
 
TIMEFRAME
• February 1st, 2013: Due date for special session proposals
• February 1st, 2013: Due date for conference papers
• March 5th, 2013: Notification of paper acceptance to authors
• March 20th, 2012: Camera-ready deadline for accepted papers
• June 9-11th, 2013: Conference dates
 
PAPER SUBMISSION
Papers submitted to BICS 2013 must be single-spaced in one column format within an area of 122 mm x 193 mm with 10-point Times-Roman font. Each paper must not exceed 10 pages including figures and references (papers beyond 8 pages are subject to page surcharge). All papers must be written in English using the Springer LNCS (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) style, including all tables, figures, and references.
 
SPECIAL SESSION SUBMISSION
The BICS 2013 technical program will include special sessions. Their aim is to provide a complementary flavor to the regular sessions and should include topics of interest to the BICS community. Prospective organizers of special sessions should submit proposals indicating:
• title of the session;
 • rationale of the need for the special session at BICS. The rationale should stress the novelty of the topic and/or its multidisciplinary flavor, and must explain how it is different from the subjects covered by the regular sessions;
• short biography of the organizers; • list of 5-6 contributed papers (including titles, authors, contact information of the corresponding author).
Proposals are due on or before 1 February 2013 and should be sent via e-mail (in either pdf or plain ascii text form) to the Special Sessions Chairs (Erik Cambria, Sanqing Hu, and Dongbin Zhao). Proposals will be evaluated based on the timeliness of the topic, the qualifications of the organizers and the authors of the papers proposed in the session. Sessions in which three or more papers are co-authored by the same person, or by authors from the same group will not be accepted. In its decision, the committee will try to realize a balance of the topics across the technical areas represented in BICS. Notification of acceptance will be sent to the organizers by 15 February 2013. Authors of papers included in successful proposals should submit a manuscript on or before 1 February 2013. Manuscripts should conform to the formatting and electronic submission guidelines of regular BICS papers. When they submit papers, there is a choice to indicate that their papers are special session papers. All papers will undergo peer review process. It is the responsibility of the organizers to ensure that their special session meets the BICS quality standards. If, at the end of the review process, less than four papers are accepted, the session will be cancelled and the accepted papers will be moved to regular sessions.

General Intelligence in Embodied Agents

conference session on General Intelligence in Embodied Agents, as part of an IEEE Symposium on Human-Level AI
WHEN/WHERE : 15 Mon -19 Fri April 2013, Singapore
 
PAPER SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 12 (12-12-12, midnight GMT), no further extensions
 
Please join us in Singapore April 2013 for presentations and discussions on general intelligence, embodiment and human-level AI!
 
 
This Special Session on General Intelligence in Embodied Agents is part of the IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Human-like Intelligence, which in turn is part of the IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence,
 
 
(to find the Special Session on that page, scroll down till you see “CIHLI 2013, IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Human-like Intelligence” and click on that link).
 
If your research touches human-level AI but not embodiment specifically, you may want to submit to the IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Human-like Intelligence, of which this Special Session is a part.
 

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE IN EMBODIED AGENTS

 
One critical aspect of human-like intelligence is the capability to control bodies in the pursuit of a variety of human-like goals in environments, especially environments resembling the everyday human world.   The achievement of this capability may be pursued via robotics, or via embodying synthetic intelligent software in virtual agents in virtual worlds such as 3D videogame-like worlds.   Controlling embodied agents carrying out a variety of complex goals in complex environments is a difficult problem, requiring robust generalization and transfer learning ability, and practical creativity.   Confronting this problem places various sorts of stringent requirements on the underlying computational intelligence system, which different architectures may seek to fulfill in different ways.
 
The focus of this special session is on how architectures designed with artificial general intelligence in mind, cope with the challenges involved in achieving goals involving controlling bodies in worlds, especially worlds bearing some resemblance to the everyday human world.
 
This Special Session is open to contributions on any topic directly related to the interfacing between artificial general intelligence architectures and the problem of controlling bodies in worlds resembling the everyday human world.   Contributions presenting empirical or mathematical results are very welcome; contributions describing new approaches at an earlier stage of development are welcome as well, if the ideas are novel and clearly presented and argued for.
 
Specific topics of interest include (but are definitely not limited to):
 
— Symbol grounding: Learning of groundings for words and/or syntactic and/or semantic relationships, via experience interacting with objects and entities in a world
 
— Adaptive perception: Perception of objects and events in a world, in a manner that displays some adaptiveness, i.e. ability to perceive objects and events qualitatively different from those for which a system was previously trained or programmed
 
— Adaptive control: Learning patterns of actuator control in a manner that displays strong adaptiveness, i.e. ability to learn to carry out actions qualitatively different from those for which a system was previously trained or programmed
 
— Entity identification: Identification of which groups of percepts or atomic objects in a world are sensibly grouped together as a coherent “entity”
 
— Event identification: Identification of which groups of temporal happenings in a world are sensibly grouped together as a coherent “event”
 
— Spatial, temporal and spatiotemporal reasoning: Inference about objects and events in a world, in a manner that takes careful account of the spatial and temporal relationships between them
 
— Self-modeling: Building a model of the agent’s mental and physical self based on the agent’s observations of its own interactions in the world
 
— Modeling of other Agents: modeling of other agents, in terms of their likely behaviors in various contexts in the world
 
— Theory of mind: modeling of other agents, in terms of the knowledge and beliefs on which their actions are based
 
— Autonomy: the capabilities of an embodied AGI to find itself its own motivations and goals.
 
— Sensorimotor integration: methodologies for linking perception with action in an embodied AGI.
 

SPECIAL SESSION ORGANIZERS

 
Chair: Dr. Ben Goertzel, Novamente LLC and Hong Kong Polytechnic University
 
The organizing committee comprises leading researchers with expertise in both AGI and cognitive robotics.
 
Itamar Arel, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN, USA
Joscha Bach, Humboldt University, Germany
Antonio Chella, University of Palermo, Italy
David Hanson, Hanson Robotics,  Austin TX, USA
Matthew Ikle’, Adams State College, USA
Stephen Reed, TexAI, Austin TX, USA
Brandon Rohrer, Sandia Labs, New Mexico, USA
Pei Wang, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA

II ReteCog Workshop on Interaction 2013

II Workshop ReteCog on Interaction 2013

 
17-18th January, 2013
Zaragoza, Spain

Scope

In the aftermath of Turing’s anniversary, who famously proposed an interactive test of intelligence, the Spanish Network of Research in Cognitive Science –ReteCog- has chosen “INTERACTION” as the topic of its second meeting. The thematic network ReteCog is inspired by the “European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems” (EuCognition). With the support of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government, ReteCog aims to consolidate an interdisciplinary research network, composed by teams from 11 universities and the Spanish Science Research Council, in order to improve the understanding of cognitive systems, within the framework of the Spanish Research system.
The “II Workshop ReteCog on Interaction-2013” will be articulated through two main symposia, one on “The dynamics of agent-environment interaction” that will cover experimental and theoretical contributions to the understanding of agent-environment interactions from a dynamicist perspective, and one on “Social and emotional interaction” where the question of how to relate the role of emotions and interactive processes in the understating of other people´s minds will also be raised. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in workshops, keynote speeches and networking events involving academic experts and prestigious international researchers. It will hopefully give assistants the chance to learn about hot topics, outstanding perspectives and current results in the area of “Cognitive interaction”.

Submission of contributions

The “II Workshop ReteCog on Interaction-2013” invites contributions in issues related to the themes of both symposia (ecological psychology, perception-action coupling, sensorimotor contingencies and cognition, situated models of agent-environment interaction, philosophy of dynamical, situated and enactive approaches to cognitive science, self-organization and behavioural neuroscience, etc.). Researchers from these areas are all expected contributors or participants.

Venue

The workshop and plenary conferences will be held at the Paraninfo Building of the University of Zaragoza from the 17th to the 18th of January 2013. Zaragoza is a lively and historical Spanish city, capital of the Aragón Region. It is located in the centre of Northeast Spain and is very well communicated with other major cities, lying in the centre of the Madrid-Barcelona and Valencia-Bilbao.

Important Dates

* Submission deadline: December, 3rd, 2012.
* Notification of acceptance: December, 17th, 2012.
* Conference: 17–18th January, 2013.

Contact

Dr. Manuel G. Bedia
Dpt. Computer Science, University of Zaragoza (Spain)
Email: mgbedia unizar es