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February 3, 2011 / Martijn

How Babies Know What Robots Are Thinking

Computer scientists don’t usually see their labs filling up with dozens of mothers and their infants, but that’s exactly what happened to Rajesh Rao as he embarked on one of his most recent experiments. In order to discover what it takes to make an infant engage with a robot as if it were a sentient being, he had to get his hands on the real thing.

At one year of age, infants typically begin to follow the gaze of the adults in their line of sight. It’s a useful way to recognize what’s important and discern which words attach to which objects. Indeed, there’s even a theory in evolutionary biology that holds that the highly visible whites of humans’ eyes may have evolved in order to facilitate gaze following as an important mechanism of social interaction.

via http://feeds.technologyreview.com/click.phdo?i=8aae538fa6ce08b5ea128e22ebd8f82c

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