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Robot as Teacher or Soldier

A robot has an electronic brain with the ability and resources to communicate with its instructor and with the ability and resources to accomplish its assigned task. The electronic brain is a computer that has permanent memory and memory into which can be written new instructions and new data. The robot has sensors to gather data to be put into the computer’s memory. The robot has mechanical devices that are controlled by the computer. That computer has software that processes the instructions the robot is given, using both permanent and sensor data. The computer then controls the robot to perform its assigned task.

It is interesting that software takes on the personality of its programmer. And thus the robot will have a preprogrammed personality.

Software can be instructor friendly in that communication between the instructor and the computer can be easy and intuitive. That software will understand questions and respond with unambiguous answers, or if more information is needed, respond with unambiguous questions. Answers to questions will be accurate and informative. Performance of assigned tasks will be a correct response.

Software can be a real pain. Communication between the instructor and the computer can be difficult to understand. That software will demand answers to ambiguous questions the instructor may not understand, and the computer will not offer any help.

Software can lie. Whether intentional or not, software can give wrong answers. Sometimes it is just that the computer has been given bad data. Sometimes the computer is programmed with sloppy computational skills so that the answers are close, but not accurate enough for the task at hand. And sometimes the software is deliberately written with a bias so as to favor a desired answer.

As teacher or a soldier, the robot will have a personality. That personality can be passive or aggressive. That personality may react quickly, using assumptions on incomplete data that might not be valid. Or that personality may be slower to react, but react with patience to get sufficient data to show better judgment and skill.

Programmed as a soldier, the robot needs to be able to identify between animal, man or machine, between friend, foe or neither. Response must be tailored to the threat.

Programmed as a teacher, the robot needs to be able to understand the needs of the student. First of all the robot needs to determine the linguistic ability of the student, both as to language, dialect, and level of understanding. Second, the robot needs to determine where the student is in the course of study. Third, the robot needs to know the ability of the student to process new information. With a fast learner, the computer can quickly guide the student through the assigned course of study. But with a slow learner, patience is required. The computer needs to present the lesson in several different formats until the student understands. With a slow learner, more checking is required to make sure that new concepts are learned, and previous concepts are not forgotten. Learning is checked by the robot asking the student questions, listening to the students answer, and then judging the accuracy of that answer.

It is expected that the robot will present to the instructor, periodic reports of accomplishments. The report may also ask for replacement of used supplies. Of course it is expected that the instructor observe enough sessions of the robot so as to be able to asses the robot’s performance. [And maybe even its personality!]

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