Babybot: an artificial developing robotic agent

"[...] It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. This process could follow the normal teaching of a child. [...]"
Alan Turing (1912-1954)

Metta et. al. [MPMS00a,MPMS00b] describe their experimental robot which is displayed in figure 3.6. The theoretical foundation of Metta e.a. are rooted in the `Piagetian' theory of Jean Piaget, psychologist with a biology background. He is widely known for his theories on the development and `the teaching of a child' (in `The origin of intelligence in children' [Pia36]). He defined intelligence as a basic life process that helps an organism to adapt to its environment [Sha02, p. 50].

The example of evolving morphology and control is biologically similar to insects with more or less deterministic, static responses to stimuli. Evolution produces a 1 on 1 mapping of genotype to phenotype. To model higher level organisms such as a humanoid baby, with its complex brain structure, it is essential to take into account the interactions of development of the phenotype of the individual. This `development' allows the emergence of qualities such as intelligence.

Erik de Bruijn 2007-10-19