Research challenges in four areas:

I. Cognitive Education (Learning Behavior)

Adaptive learning

  • Can we avoid a dependence on large training sets?
  • How can we leverage Subject Matter Experts to draw out expected behavior?

Unsupervised learning

  • Can Watson observe reactions to its behavior to make appropriate adjustments?
  • How can it recognize subtle reactions – avoid depending on explicit (thumbs-up / thumbs-down) feedback?

II. Cognitive Expression

Increasing input fidelity and error correction / accuracy improvements

  • Can we augment text / speech input?
    • Speech inflection / stress detection and attribution
    • Facial expression recognition
    • Lip reading
    • Body language and gesture recognition
  • Can we add other context to help resolve ambiguity?  (location, environment, people, landmarks)
    • Using GPS, maps, weather, SSID / Bluetooth / RFID, visual recognition

Increasing output fidelity

  • Can we increase expressiveness through the use of personified or symbolic avatars?
  • What is socially acceptable?
  • Can we create original natural language expressions?
  • Can we vary those expressions to be socially normal and responsive to differences in personality and emotion?

Create empathy through personality

  • Can we use personality to increase identity and adoption through humor, emotional cues, cadence and intonation, pausing, sympathy, etiquette, … ?

III. Cognitive Expertise

Bio-inspired Neural Networks

  • What are the role of BNNs in recognizing patterns and knowledge acquisition?

Fast and Slow Thinking

  • Is there an advantage in emulating Fast and Slow thinking (Kahneman)?


  • How to use dialoguing to draw out more context and drive a deeper conversation?
  • Can we learn how to respond appropriately to lack of confidence? When to say “I don’t know” vs. “Tell me more” vs. “Go see my (human) colleague”?

IV. Cognitive Evolution

  • How to assimilate repeating patterns to increase cognitive efficiency?
  • How to accumulate new behaviors?
  • When to discard antiquated behaviors?
  • How to recognize source veracity?
  • How to censor inappropriate information?


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