Some Requirements for Human-like Robots: Why the recent over-emphasis on embodiment has held up progress
Creating Brain-like Intelligence, Springer-Verlag, 2009
Some issues concerning requirements for architectures, mechanisms, ontologies and forms of representation in intelligent human-like or animal-like robots are discussed. The tautology that a robot that acts and perceives in the world must be embodied is often combined with false premises, such as the premiss that a particular type of body is a requirement for intelligence, or for human intelligence, or the premiss that all cognition is concerned with sensorimotor interactions, or the premiss that all cognition is implemented in dynamical systems closely coupled with sensors and effectors. It is time to step back and ask what robotic research in the past decade has been ignoring. I shall try to identify some major research gaps by a combination of assembling requirements that have been largely ignored and design ideas that have not been investigated -- partly because at present it is too difficult to make significant progress on those problems with physical robots, as too many different problems need to be solved simultaneously. In particular, the importance of studying some abstract features of the environment about which the animal or robot has to learn (extending ideas of J.J.Gibson) has not been widely appreciated.