Why Robots Should Be More Like Babies

Babies are such little copycats. They learn by watching other humans. This is how small, dependent people turn into larger, independent people. The thing is, babies aren’t just imitators. By the time they’re around 18 months old, they’re pretty adept at figuring out what a person is trying to do—say, stack some blocks, or toss a ball into a toy bin—even if that person doesn’t succeed. In other words, they can infer intent, and even develop their own alternate strategies of achieving a goal. “Humans are the most imitative creature on the planet and young kids seamlessly intertwine imitation and innovation,” said Andrew Meltzoff, a psychology professor at the University of Washington and a co-director of the school’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “They pick up essential skills, mannerisms,…


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