How do you make a robot smarter? Program it to know what it doesn’t know

Engineers have come up with a new way to teach robots to know when they don't know. The technique involves quantifying the fuzziness of human language and using that measurement to tell robots when to ask for further directions. Telling a robot to pick...

Engineers have come up with a new way to teach robots to know when they don't know. The technique involves quantifying the fuzziness of human language and using that measurement to tell robots when to ask for further directions. Telling a robot to pick up a bowl from a table with only one bowl is fairly clear. But telling a robot to pick up a bowl when there are five bowls on the table generates a much higher degree of uncertainty -- and triggers the robot to ask for clarification.