UTCS AI Colloquia - Geert-Jan Kruijff/German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, "Asymmetric agency and social sentience in modeling situated communication for human-robot teaming," ACES 2.402

Contact Name: 
Ray Mooney
Nov 9, 2012 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Signup Schedule: http://apps.cs.utexas.edu/talkschedules/cgi/list_events.cgi

Type of Talk: AI Colloquium

Speaker/Affiliation: Geert-Jan Kruijff/German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence

Talk Audience: UTCS Faculy, Grads, Outside Interested Parties

Date/Time: 11/9/12, 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Location: ACES 2.402

Host: Ray Mooney

Talk Title: "Asymmetric agency and social sentience in modeling situated communication for human-robot teaming"

Talk Abstract: The talks looks at situated collaboration between humans and robots, for example in complex situations like disaster response. This collaborative context gives rise to several issues. One, we need to start from the assumption of *asymmetric agency*: Humans and robots experience and understand the world differently. The asymmetry implies that symbols cannot be considered abstract types, embodying an objective truth. Instead, different agents employ different types in building up understanding, or more precisely they construct subjective judgments as proofs for why a particular type can be applied to some experience. This then gives rise to another issue, namely how these different actors could then arrive at some mutually shared understanding or ""common ground."" We see this as the need to align judgments, and formally construct this as an alignment between (abductive) proofs over multi-agent beliefs and intentions. This places grounding meaning in context in a new light: Grounding meaning, between actors, is the alignment of judgments against subjective experience, within a social, situated context. The intentional aspects of social dynamics play thereby just as much a role as do beliefs. In a collaborative activity, meaning becomes socially and situationally construed referential content, with a semi-persistent nature that is subject both to social dynamics (why the meaning is construed and used) and environment dynamics (what the meaning is construed for). This requires an actor, particularly a robot, to be explicitly aware of these social dynamics and its own role(s) in it. The talk captures this through the notion of social sentience. 

Speaker Bio: Geert-Jan Kruijff is Senior Researcher at the Language Technology Lab, at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) in Saarbrucken, Germany.  There, he leads the Talking Robots group, doing several international projects on human-robot interaction. He obtained his engineering title (""ir"") from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and his PhD in informatics/mathematical linguistics from Charles University, in Prague/Czech Republic. During his studies he spent time at Texas Tech University (1993/94) and the University of Edinburgh (1999-2001).  He is interested in developing theories and systems for exploring what makes a robot understand and produce spoken dialogue. Research ranges from fundamental research, to applied-and-out-in-the-field work such as Urban Search & Rescue, or child-robot interaction in hospital settings.