Cognimates: collaborative creative learning with embodied intelligent agents


Conversational agents and intelligent toys are present in children's homes and influence their development. The introduction of these devices in the home raises questions about how children's development and their interactions with their peers and family may be impacted. Most of the current intelligent agents (connected toys, conversational devices, robots, computers) can only be placed along an animate-inanimate continuum (Keil 1991; Van Duuren & Scaife, 1995). As these devices become more human-like in form or function, they are being attributed more social and moral characteristics (Kahn 2012). 

This raises the question of family engagement and interventions in children's interaction with connected toys and intelligent agents (Druga 2017, Mcreynolds 2017). In order to further explore this I am designing a platform where children could program and customize embodied intelligent agents together with their family, and especially with their grand-parents. The agents will play an active role in prompting and guiding the users through the learning activities. This novel paradigm of interaction aims to explore new potential learning pathways and outcomes from having a reflective conversation with an artifact in the making.