This article presents a wonderful set of experiences from researchers who study infants and children, and it discusses parallels in robotics.
A part of the thesis presented therein discusses what is termed “the six Cs of modern learning: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence.” To paraphrase, the learning process for human children goes beyond decoding symbols and making connections, as it is a complex process that is continuous, communal, interactive, and social.
At the end of the article, they conclude that robots can never be used to replace learning in humans, and robots might be destined only to augment human learning ability. For a robot to achieve true understanding, it would need to transcend beyond abstraction and anything formulaic to become “embodied, emotive, and subjective,” because human children don’t just comprehend when they learn; they also create new meaning as they learn.
The article discusses some excellent lessons that we can apply to robots based upon how children navigate their complex world during the formative first few years. Some of my favorite lessons from the article include:
- Behavior encodes rich information that should not be ignored; it is an indicator that the being is trying to tell you something.
- Creative play, freedom from constraints, and allowing risk-taking in learning creates richer outcomes and advances the learning process further than learning with the absence of these qualities.
- Don’t underestimate the power of exploration and it’s impact on the learning process.
- “Shared attention is the starting point of conscious human learning.”
- The human brain forms itself through interaction with sensory experience.
Based on your own personal experiences with children and watching them grow up & learn in the world, what takeaways or lessons learned would you propose for people who are developing “learning” algorithms for robots? Do you have any thoughts or ideas about how children learn that we should apply to robots?