Universität Bielefeld Technische Fakultät - AG Wissensbasierte Systeme

Embodied Cooperative Systems: From Tool to Partnership

Ipke Wachsmuth

Faculty of Technology
Bielefeld University


One of the most basic mental skills is inferring intentions – the ability to see others as intentional agents and to understand what someone is doing – which, in conjunction with attentive processes, brings about shared intentionality. In this, different aspects of "mind-reading" abilities (Theory of Mind) are important. Understanding others' intentions and representing them as being able to understand intentions, are relevant factors in coordinating actions, as is the ability to represent shared goals and coordinated action plans (joint intentions). The incorporation of all these levels of intentionality will also help endow technical systems with collaborative functionality. Such systems are often embodied as robotic agents or as humanoid agents projected in virtual reality ("embodied cooperative systems"). In these contexts, the view that humans are users of a certain "tool" has shifted to that of a "partnership" with artificial agents, insofar they can be considered as being able to take initiative as autonomous entities in cooperative settings. A central research question is how the processes involved interact and how their interplay can be modeled. For example, inter-agent cooperation relies very much on common ground, i.e. the mutually shared knowledge of the interlocutors. Nonverbal behaviors such as gaze and hand gestures are important means of coordinating attention between interlocutors ("joint attention"). We will outline these ideas taking the virtual humanoid agent "Max" as an example.

Talks: Kyoto 16-01-2008, London 12-02-2008, Bielefeld/ZiF 4-04-2008, Dresden 20-09-2008, Bielefeld/CITEC 7-11-2008, Seoul 7-11-2009, Stuttgart 22-07-2013, Ankara 23-05-2014

Ipke Wachsmuth, last updated 2014-05-27