CSIRO looks to ‘reimagine intelligence’ with $12m program


Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Australian researchers will aim to “reimagine intelligence” and transform how humans and robots work together as part of a $12 million CSIRO project.

CSIRO launched the Collaborative Intelligence (CINTEL) Future Science Platform on Tuesday, with plans to contribute to the growing global study of collaborative intelligence, which aims to maximise the benefits of human and machine intelligence.

CINTEL will be run by CSIRO in partnership with Saber Astronautics, Emesent, the Queensland AI Hub, TAFE Queensland, Department of Defence, QUT and researchers from Monash University and the University of Sydney.

CSIRO’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group

It will run for four years and bring together behavioural and social scientists with computer, robotics and domain experts to develop technology to foster human-robot teams, CINTEL lead Dr Cecile Paris said.

According to Dr Paris, it’s all about moving past the idea of robots replacing humans through automation and towards the idea of how they can better collaborate.

“Human intelligence is creative and adaptable, while machine intelligence is more specific and able to handle vast amounts of data,” Dr Paris said.

“For many problems, particularly those that involve complex, changeable and difficult to define contexts, we are likely to get better results if we design AI systems explicitly to work with human partners, rather than attempting to do the job themselves.

“This requires a new way of thinking, both about how we design AI systems and how workers across different occupations and industries should work with them. This is the next scientific frontier of digital transformation.”

The project will focus on specific and practical issues where this form of research can be useful, she said.

“The project will focus on developing a richer, dynamic human-robot collaboration, enabling humans and robots to respond in real-time to changes in the environment and make better decisions, together,” Dr Paris said.

“CINTEL will research dynamic situation awareness and mechanisms to ensure a collaborative dialogue between humans and robots throughout, for example a rescue mission.”

The first project to be embarked upon as part of this will involve CSIRO’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, which recently came in second place at the international DARPA Subterranean Challenge, dubbed the robot Olympics.

The group will be researching how collaborative dialogue between humans and robots can assist with a rescue mission.

“Rescue missions are often ill-defined and dynamic, and the humans must use their own knowledge and skills, like reasoning, intuition, adaptation and experience, to identify what the robots should be doing. CINTEL will investigate how humans can fully utilise their unique skill set in collaboration with robots for successful outcomes,” Dr Paris said.

Other research projects as part of CINTEL will include the development of a digital team member to assist scientists in making sense of information in modern biological collections, and supporting cybersecurity analysts with collaborative surveillance.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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