Deceptive Robots Learn Lying From Squirrels

Roboticists have been keeping an eye on squirrels; in particular, their habit of engaging in deceptive practices regarding their hoards of nuts. Squirrels sometimes check a false "hoard" in case other squirrels are watching, just to throw rivals off the track.

(Deceptive Robots Learn Lying From Squirrels)

The project is funded by the Office of Naval Research and is headed by Professor Arkin of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He explains one possible application this way:

"This application could be used by robots guarding ammunition or supplies on the battlefield. If an enemy were present, the robot could change its patrolling strategies to deceive humans or another intelligent machine, buying time until reinforcements are able to arrive."

This capability could be built into planned systems like the Lockheed Martin MULE (Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment) autonomous robotic supply vehicle.

(MULE robotic vehicle [pdf])

Science fiction writers have depicted robotic systems or computers that lie in their works; often, it ends badly. In the 1984 film 2010, Dr. Chandra learns at last why the HAL-9000 computer exhibited unusual behavior in the earlier film 2001: A Space Odyssey:

(From 2010 - HAL tries to lie)

"... he was given full knowledge of the two objectives and was told not to reveal these objectives to Bowman or Poole. He was instructed to lie...

The situation was in conflict with the basic purpose of HAL's design - the accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment. He became trapped... HAL was told to lie - by people who find it easy to lie.

Via Technabob.

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