The reasoning artificial toddler

I was interviewed earlier today by Richard Adhikari, a journalist at TechNewsWorld, about an Artificial Intelligence project. I didn’t know anything about that project except what would be the title of the article: “AI Program Thinks Like a 4-Year-Old”.

There is an excellent summary of what I had told the journalist:

“I’m always suspicious of this kind of thing where they’re dealing with children,” anthropologist and sociologist Paul Jorion told TechNewsWorld. “I always have the feeling that there are some major issues they haven’t been able to solve yet.”

Jorion developed ANELLA, the Associative Network with Emerging Logical and Learning Abilities, whose intelligence was guided by the dynamics of affect, or feeling, back in 1989 for the artificial intelligence unit of British Telecom.

Most of the approaches toward AI “have taken an over-sophisticated view of the problem,” Jorion said. His, on the other hand, was “very simple — I’ve got a universe of words, and you just find a way to connect them that makes sense.”

Now talking about Eddie, the four year old toddler developed at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State by a team lead by Selmer Bringsjord, the article explains that

To test Eddie’s reasoning powers, the group created a demo in Second Life in which Eddie was shown someone placing an object in one location then leaving the virtual room, followed by a second person who moved the object to another location in the room. Eddie was then asked where the first person would look for the object when he got back. Eddie’s response was the first location — incorrect, but typical of a four-year-old child in the real world.

Hmm, what did I tell you!