Human Relationships with Machines Are Changing

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - How we interact with machines - and how they interact with us - will be discussed by some of the world's top researchers in artificial intelligence this month.

On June 26-29, Worcester Polytechnic Institute will host an international conference, "Artificial Intelligence in Design 2000," in Salisbury Laboratories' Kinnicutt Lecture Hall, on the WPI campus, Institute Road, Worcester, Mass. World-renowned expert Rodney A. Brooks, professor of computer science and director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, will give the keynote address Monday, June 26, at 9:15 a.m.

"His work is based on the hypothesis that humanoid intelligence requires humanoid interactions with the world," says local conference chair David C. Brown, professor of computer science and coordinator of the Artificial Intelligence in Design Group at WPI. Brooks' keynote address is titled "Mankind's Evolving Relationship with Machines."

At MIT, Brooks and his colleagues have been building Cog and Kismet, prototypical humanoid robots. Cog is capable of learning from his experiences, as humans do, and Brooks hopes that this robot eventually will have the intelligence of a six-month-old baby. If successful, it will become the most advanced robot in existence. Ultimately, Brooks envisions creating robots that can operate in the world like human beings and even outperform them.

John Gero, the conference chair, is a professor of design science and co-director of the Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition at the University of Sydney in Australia. He is the author or editor of 30 books and more than 400 papers on design science, artificial intelligence, optimization and computer-aided design and is an international consultant in the field of computer-aided design and artificial intelligence.

"We will have attendees from many countries including Australia, Japan, England, Scotland, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland and China," said Brown. "The accepted papers come from 12 countries, and we are expecting between 100 and 150 attendees." A full conference schedule can be found at www.arch.usyd.edu.au/kcdc/conferences/aid00/.

To support student travel to the June conference, Brown received a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. In coordinating WPI's Artificial Intelligence in Design Group, Brown has been involved for more than 10 years in a variety of design-related projects. The group maintains links with other researchers worldwide.

For more information, contact David C. Brown, AI Research Group, Computer Science Department, WPI, Worcester, Mass. 01609; phone: 508-831-5618; e-mail dcb@cs.wpi.edu; or for more information, go to https://www.wpi.edu/~dcb/.

Founded in 1865, WPI enrolls 2,700 undergraduate and 1,000 full- and part-time graduate students in science, engineering, management, the humanities and arts and the social sciences. Under the WPI Plan, undergraduates complete three projects that focus respectively on humanities and arts, on the student's major field, and on the interactions among science, technology and society.