Even young children seem to have an early understanding of the world around them, and the people in it. Before children can reliably say “ball”, “wall”, or “Saul”, they expect balls to not go through walls, and for Saul to go right for a ball (if there’s no wall). What is the formal conceptual structure underlying this commonsense reasoning about objects and agents? I will raise several possibilities for models underlying core intuitive physics as a way of talking about models of core knowledge and intuitive theories more generally. In particular, I will present some recent work trying to capture early expectations about object solidity, cohesion, and permanence, that relies on a rough-derendering approach.
Tomer Ullman is a cognitive scientist interested in common-sense reasoning, and building computational models for explaining high-level cognitive processes and the acquisition of new knowledge by children and adults. In particular, he is focused on how children and adults come to form intuitive theories of agents and objects, and providing both a functional and algorithmic account of how these theories are learned. Dr. Ullman received his B.Sc in Cognitive Science and Physics from Hebrew University in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT in 2015. From 2015-2018 he was a post-doctoral associate at the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines. He is currently an assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, Harvard University.
This is an Invited Talk as part of our USC AI Futures Symposium on AI with Common Sense
Hosted by Yolanda Gil and Filip Ilievski
POC's: Alma Nava and Amy Feng