DARPA seeks to deepen human connections with machines

the brain

WHAT: A call for ideas on Communicating with Computers.

WHY: Computers have a way of taking things literally. Instructions given to computers are typically understood without context or any of the factors that give texture and unspoken specificity to human conversation. A new DARPA agency announcement takes the instruction "add one more" as an example. A child looking at an assemblage of blocks might understand possible responses from the physical context in which the request is made, while a computer would find the request ambiguous.

DARPA thinks we can do better. Their new Communicating with Computers program "seeks to develop technology to facilitate communication between humans and machines, which we take to mean, technology for assembling complex ideas from elementary ones given language and context." This can potentially include language, gestures and vocal inflection.

The program isn't necessarily looking to develop artificial intelligence, but DARPA is not exactly ruling it out either. Technical challenges posed by the announcement include developing a sensing apparatus to facilitate communications tests, building a software library of elementary concepts to guide communications, designing software that builds complex ideas by combining language-based instruction and physical context, and developing ways of understanding whether machines are truly communicating with people.

Click here to read the full announcement.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Feb 26, 2015 at 6:53 AM


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