A Developmental Model of Trust in Humanoid Robots
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Trust between humans and artificial systems has recently received increased attention due to the widespread use of autonomous systems in our society. In this context trust plays a dual role. On the one hand it is necessary to build robots that are perceived as trustworthy by humans. On the other hand we need to give to those robots the ability to discriminate between reliable and unreliable informants. This thesis focused on the second problem, presenting an interdisciplinary investigation of trust, in particular a computational model based on neuroscientific and psychological assumptions. First of all, the use of Bayesian networks for modelling causal relationships was investigated. This approach follows the well known theory-theory framework of the Theory of Mind (ToM) and an established line of research based on the Bayesian description of mental processes. Next, the role of gaze in human-robot interaction has been investigated. The results of this research were used to design a head pose estimation system based on Convolutional Neural Networks. The system can be used in robotic platforms to facilitate joint attention tasks and enhance trust. Finally, everything was integrated into a structured cognitive architecture. The architecture is based on an actor-critic reinforcement learning framework and an intrinsic motivation feedback given by a Bayesian network. In order to evaluate the model, the architecture was embodied in the iCub humanoid robot and used to replicate a developmental experiment. The model provides a plausible description of children's reasoning that sheds some light on the underlying mechanism involved in trust-based learning. In the last part of the thesis the contribution of human-robot interaction research is discussed, with the aim of understanding the factors that influence the establishment of trust during joint tasks. Overall, this thesis provides a computational model of trust that takes into account the development of cognitive abilities in children, with a particular emphasis on the ToM and the underlying neural dynamics.