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Boredom and Motivations


A while ago I was chatting up a like minded maker and the idea of boredom came up and how to handle that scenario. I get bored… I imagine our mechanical friends will too.
And since YouTube only has so many cat videos for a multi-core system with high speed internet to ingest, what would they turn to afterwards?

The system that I started to think through was giving them the idea of motivations… for lack of a better term.

When they are not busy what should they be do?
What would they want to do?

If their power is low, a high motivation to recharge.
If a number of errors have been occurring maybe a self diag like motivation.
Maybe their ‘compaion’ has been asking for jokes a lot and they should learn more.
Multiple motivations may ‘fire’ at or around the same time so they should have weights.
A recharge motivation should override a ‘learn more about x’ motivation.

Anyone have any thoughts?


Hey Tony,

Our autonomous behavior engine (coming in Misty II) is designed to let the robot activate skills by itself, when it hasn’t been told anything else specific to do, so that the robot can entertain itself. Which skill gets triggered at a given time is, of course, where the magic happens. Internally we’ve been exploring the idea of applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs [Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - Wikipedia] to our robots, to give them some ‘motivation’ to do things. Like you suggest, this hierarchy provides some structure to the needs, so that, say, a physiological need like charging would supersede a belonging need like learning new jokes.


Maslow’s Hierarchy - I kind of like this.

I’d also suggest having Misty monitor her WiFi signal strength and Bluetooth connection (if relevant) as two possible safety needs. These would be one level up from a physiological need like like charging her battery…


Yes, signal availability and strength should be up there. Great idea.