Physically Interactive Intelligence — A path towards autonomous embodied agents

Roberto Martin-Martin, Stanford University


Location: Zoom

Time: 2:40p.m.

Abstract: What is the role of physical interaction in embodied intelligence? In robotics, physical interaction is often reduced to a minimum because it is considered difficult to plan, control and execute, has unpredictable effects and may be dangerous for the robot and anything or anyone around it. To compensate, we impose extremely high requirements on computation: perception, planning and control. However, when observing humans, we see that our autonomy to perform tasks in a versatile and robust manner come from rich, continuous and resourceful interactions with the environment, what I call Physically Interactive Intelligence.

In my research, I develop new learning algorithms to enable embodied AI agents to exploit interactions to gain autonomy, and I test them in realistic integrated robotic systems. I propose to promote physical interaction to foundational component of novel robotic solutions. I will present new methods to learn to control and exploit physical interactions even for tasks where they are not traditionally used such as perception and navigation. These lines of work support my overall research hypothesis: autonomous behavior and grounded understanding in embodied AI agents are achieved through the resourceful use of physical interaction with the environment, i.e. through physically interactive intelligence.