Robotic Assistants for Persons with Dementia

In Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 230 (Jan 2016), Jesse Hoey, Tobias Schröder, and Areej Alhothali (University of Waterloo, Canada) present theoretical foundations of an artificial intelligence (AI) system that could assist persons with dementia by emotionally tailored messages. The system is based on the sociological Affect Control Theory which so far has not been recognized much in AI modeling, and POMDPs (Partially observable Markov Decision Processes).

Dementia is the main reason for elderly people becoming dependent on special care. An AI system may better be able to adapt to the changing personality of a person with dementia than a human, without ever getting impatient or angry. In that sense, the Canadian scientists sketch out a promising path to a future of peaceful and fruitful co-existence between humans and robots.

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