Up until now the most important test for robot sentience has been the Turing Test. But now a roboticist at Yale hopes change the metric for robot consciousness by introducing a testing tool normally used on animals: a mirror.
Justin Hart, lead researcher at Yale's Social Robotics Lab, is attempting to program a robot called Nico that will able to recognize itself in a mirror. The mirror test, which has been passed by apes, elephants and dolphins, would serve as a major leap forward for artificial intelligence and robots that could be deemed to have some level of self-awareness.
Speaking to BBC News, Hart said: "To our knowledge, this is the first robotic system to attempt to use a mirror in this way, representing a significant step towards a cohesive architecture that allows robots to learn about their bodies and appearances through self-observation, and an important capability required in order to pass the Mirror Test."
So far, no robot has been able to pass the mirror test. Nico is scheduled to take the test later this year, after which Hart will publish the results