Scientists help robots understand humans with board game idea | 3/8/2018 | Staff
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Information scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the University of Michigan have borrowed from the popular game "20 Questions," to make an important step towards helping robots maintain continuous and purposeful conversation with humans. They have developed an optimal strategy for asking a series of yes/no questions that rapidly achieves the best answer.

In the game, a player wishes to estimate an unknown value on a sliding scale by asking a series of questions whose answer is binary (yes or no). In this way, scientists say, their research findings could lead to new techniques for machines to ask other machines questions, or for machines and humans to query each other.

ARL - Scientist - Dr - Brian - Sadler

ARL senior scientist Dr. Brian Sadler teamed with University of Michigan researchers Hye Won Chung, Lizhong Zheng, and Professor Alfred O. Hero to conduct the study, which appears in the February 2018 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory.

The work is part of a larger study to develop methods for machines and humans to interact.

Intelligence - Systems - Nowadays - Smartphone - Questions

"It is well known that artificial intelligence systems, such as those found nowadays on every smartphone, can answer at least some questions," Sadler said. "They can even win a game like Jeopardy, focusing on only one question at the time. A real, purposeful conversation, especially in complicated military environments, is different. It requires the AI system to understand a whole sequence of questions and answers, and to handle every question or answer with consideration of what has been asked or answered before. Such computer algorithms do not yet exist, and the scientific theory for building such algorithms is not yet developed."

Sadler said it is a signifcant challenge to find ways for a machine...
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