Smart Help: Strategic Opponent Modeling for Proactive and Adaptive Robot Assistance in Households

Despite the significant demand for assistive technology among vulnerable groups (e.g., the elderly, children, and the disabled) in daily tasks, research into advanced AI driven assistive solutions that genuinely accommodate their diverse needs remains sparse. Traditional human-machine interaction tasks often require machines to simply help without nuanced consideration of human abilities and feelings, such as their opportunity for practice and learning, sense of self-improvement, and self-esteem. Addressing this gap, we define a pivotal and novel challenge Smart Help, which aims to provide proactive yet adaptive support to human agents with diverse disabilities and dynamic goals in various tasks and environments. To establish this challenge, we leverage AI2-THOR [32] to build a new interactive 3D realistic household environment for the Smart Help task. We introduce an innovative opponent modeling module that provides a nuanced understanding of the main agent’s capabilities and goals, in order to optimize the assisting agent’s helping policy. Rigorous experiments validate the efficacy of our model components and show the superiority of our holistic approach against established baselines. Our findings illustrate the potential of AI-imbued assistive robots in improving the well-being of vulnerable groups.
Zhihao Cao, ZiDong Wang, Siwen Xie, Anji Liu, Lifeng Fan
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