Kindergarten for Robots Is a Lot Like Kindergarten for Kids

Wooden blocks, carpet squares, half-finished juice boxes, busy three-foot tall human beings—this is what today’s kindergarten classrooms (in part) are made of. We send our five-year-olds off to an environment dedicated to helping them learn and grow their minds, so why can’t we do the same with our robots? At first glance, this may seem like a far-fetched idea. Robots don’t learn on their own; they’re given knowledge, programmed with algorithms, and then we humans observe their behavior and determine whether they perform in the way that we intended. If not, we tweak our constructs and try again. This is the traditional notion of programming an “intelligent” robot, but is it the only way? Danko Nikolic, a researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, believes that the future of…

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