A communicative robot to learn about us and the world

Piek Vossen*, Selene Baez Santamaria, Lenka Bajc̆etić, Suzana Bašić, Bram Kraaijeveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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We describe a model for a robot that learns about the world and her com-panions through natural language communication. The model supports open-domain learning, where the robot has a drive to learn about new con-cepts, new friends, and new properties of friends and concept instances. The robot tries to fill gaps, resolve uncertainties and resolve conflicts. The absorbed knowledge consists of everything people tell her, the situations and objects she perceives and whatever she finds on the web. The results of her interactions and perceptions are kept in an RDF triple store to enable reasoning over her knowledge and experiences. The robot uses a theory of mind to keep track of who said what, when and where. Accumulating knowledge results in complex states to which the robot needs to respond. In this paper, we look into two specific aspects of such complex knowl-edge states: 1) reflecting on the status of the knowledge acquired through a new notion of thoughts and 2) defining the context during which knowl-edge is acquired. Thoughts form the basis for drives on which the robot communicates. We capture episodic contexts to keep instances of objects apart across different locations, which results in differentiating the acquired knowledge over specific encounters. Both aspects make the communica-tion more dynamic and result in more initiatives by the robot
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationPapers from the Annual International Conference “Dialogue” (2019)
Place of PublicationMoscow
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Event2019 Annual International Conference on Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, Dialogue 2019 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: 29 May 20191 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameKomp'juternaja Lingvistika i Intellektual'nye Tehnologii - Issues
ISSN (Print)2221-7932


Conference2019 Annual International Conference on Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, Dialogue 2019
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


This project was funded through the NWO-Spinoza funds awarded to Piek Vos-sen and by the VU University of Amsterdam. We specifically thanks Selene Kolman and Bob van Graft for their support

FundersFunder number
Universiteit van Amsterdam


    • Knowledge acquisition
    • Modeling
    • Multimodal communication
    • Social robots


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