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The Curiosity Lab at Tel Aviv University

TAU Assoc. Prof. Goren Gordon, PhD, started his groundbreaking work in robotics during his post-doc at the MIT Media Lab and now studies the intersection of artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, education and engineering — through the lens of curiosity. His socially curious robots are introduced as social companion learners for children, in hopes of promoting the children’s learning and curiosity.

Robots behave more and more like human infants every day. They can learn by themselves, discover their own bodies and even learn to cry to get attention. And now Goren has developed a new algorithm that allows curious robots to use what they've learned to learn new things. The next step: Goren wants his robots to mirror the social interaction between an infant and its caregiver and to adapt to changing environments — two basic principles in human development. He proposes engaging Israeli couples to nurture the robots as if they were their own children. Play with them, talk to them, take them places. This will provide unprecedented data on how social interaction and changing environment influence how robots and human children learn!

Curiosity is one of the most significant aspects of human learning. The intrinsic drive to learn has to be protected, nurtured and promoted throughout a child's life. A first and crucial step: assess it. Goren proposes a large-scale curiosity assessment study using his novel, brain-inspired, mathematical curiosity model and a variety of innovative new digital assessment tools to evaluate the curiosity-driven behavior of three- to 15-year-old children in the Israeli educational system. The goal: develop novel and efficient ways to promote curiosity in children.

Goren is also creating a brain-inspired robotic model of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in hopes of identifying deviations from the model without ASD. The goal: shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of the abnormal behaviors and develop interventions that can re-establish a more normative behavioral pattern in the robot. This innovative approach will enable full monitoring of all the underlying mechanism of ASDs, in real time and in full detail; easily test hundreds of intervention types without restrictions; and target specific behavioral deficits in search of a possible single trigger.

Visit the TAU Curiosity Lab!

Goren Gordon Tour
Locations and Dates

Los Angeles, CA
October 16

Palo Alto, CA
October 18

San Francisco, CA
October 18

Chicago, IL
October 19-20

Miami, FL
October 22-23

Newton, MA
October 23
Alumni & Friends Dinner
6:30–8:30 p.m.

New York, NY
October 24


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