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Robot Learning by Visual Observation by Farrokh Janabi-Sharifi, Aleksandar Vakanski

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Preface

The ability to transfer knowledge has played a quintessential role in the advancement of our species. Several evolutionary innovations have significantly leveraged the knowledge transfer. One example is rewiring of the neuronal networks in primates’ brains to form the so‐called mirror neuron systems, so that when we observe tasks performed by others, a section of the brain that is responsible for observation and a section that is responsible for motor control are concurrently active. Through this, when observing actions, the brain is attempting at the same time to learn how to reproduce these actions. The mirror neuron system represents an especially important learning mechanism among toddlers and young kids, stimulating them to acquire skills by imitating the actions of adults around them. However, the evolutionary processes and modifications are very slow and prodigal, and as we further developed, we tended to rely on employing our creativity in innovating novel means for transferring knowledge. By inventing writing and alphabets as language complements, we were able to record, share, and communicate knowledge at an accelerated rate. Other innovations that followed, such as the printing press, typing machine, television, personal computers, and World Wide Web, each have revolutionized our ability to share knowledge and redefined the foundations for our current level of technological advancement.

As our tools and machines have grown more advanced and sophisticated, ...

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