Stephen Brawner

I am a Computer Science PhD student at Brown University working with Stefanie Tellex and Michael Littman. I’m currently researching user modeling in robotics, robotic inference of helpful actions and co-planning.

As people become busier and busier, and as robots become more capable, we would like robots to take over the dull and annoying chores in the home and office so that people have more time to do they activities they personally enjoy. Recent advancements in research and the continuing evolvement of robotic platforms provides promise that this day is not too far away. However, we still find that developing intuitive methods of managing and collaborating with robots is difficult. Many methods require just as much time and effort than if the human were to do the task itself.

I believe that robots will need to predict helpful actions that maximize their human user’s satisfaction. If this were the case in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL would never have deliberately tried to kill its human partners when they were repairing their ship, but instead offered them tea and cookies after the repair was successful.