Computer Program Looks a Few Minutes into the Future

Recently, some computer scientists from the University of Bonn developed a program that can look into the future. First, the program learns the typical order of activities, such as cooking, from audiovisual sequences. With this knowledge, it then correctly predicts in new conditions what the cook will do at which point in time.

The perfect butler has a special capability: He senses the wishes of his employer before they have even been uttered. Researchers want to teach computers something similar. They want a computer to predict the duration and timing of actions – minutes before they happen.

A robot in the kitchen, for example, could pass the ingredients immediately they are required, pre-heat the oven in time and even warn the cook if he is about to forget or overlook a preparation step. Meanwhile, the automatic vacuum cleaner knows that it is not needed in the kitchen, and therefore takes care of the living room.

Humans are very good at anticipating at anticipating other people’s actions. However, for computer this ability is still in its infancy. Having developed self-learning program that can estimate the duration and timing of future activities , computer scientists at the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Bonn are about to announce their success.



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