While getting the usual ‘negative shaking of the head’ from the Mac user login as I type my password incorrectly I wondered, why do we not yet have operating systems that we can train by positive and negative reinforcements? A gentle pad on the side of the monitor (in resemblence to the sony aibo with its padding zones on the head that you can use to let it know that it has done something good), or if you are working alone at home then why not activate the voice recognition system and let it know that it has been a “good boy” after it has open the skype software in reaction to your wife writing you an email that she has arrived home and is ready to speak (say you are away doing research abroad).
Ok. So I’m guessing the reinforcement is the easy part. The interesting part is getting the computer to suggest new things such that they can lead to positive reinforcements more often than negative ones. But surely we could learn something from how infants, dogs, etc. do it. Who knows, we could even learn something about learning in real organisms as that gets done.