Getting to know each other-Artificial social intelligence for autonomous robots

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This paper proposes a research direction to study the development of 'artificial social intelligence' of autonomous robots which should result in 'individualized robot societies'. The approach is highly inspired by the 'social intelligence hypothesis', derived from the investigation of primate societies, suggesting that primate intelligence originally evolved to solve social problems and was only later extended to problems outside the social domain. We suggest that it might be a general principle in the evolution of intelligence, applicable to both natural and artificial systems. Arguments are presented why the investigation of social intelligence for artifacts is not only an interesting research issue for the study of biological principles, but may be a necessary prerequisite for those scenarios in which autonomous robots are integrated into human societies, interacting and communicating both with humans and with each other. As a starting point to study experimentally the development of robots' 'social relationships', the investigation of collection and use of body images by means of imitation is proposed. A specific experimental setup which we use to test the theoretical considerations is described. The paper outlines in what kind of applications and for what kind of robot group structures social intelligence might be advantageous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-356
Number of pages24
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial social intelligence
  • Autonomous robots
  • Body images
  • Communication
  • Imitation
  • Movement learning
  • Robot societies


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