‘Self-awareness’ is a term which cannot be associated with animals and bots. A dog retaliates by looking itself in mirror thinking it to be another animal in the extension of the same room. Animals fail to recognize their mirror image, as they are not accustomed to observe the complex recognition senses of the brain.
Justin Hart of Yale University has come up with an interesting endeavor in the same field but the subject here is not a pet but Nico, a robot. Nico infers information about the real world by observing it through a mirror. Currently, it’s not as refined as WALL-E but is definitely an outstanding move in the world of artificial intelligence.
The creators of Nico say that it recognizes its hand in mirror because they have attached a visual token to it. And this forms the basis of observing other objects within the room through mirror itself.
Hart asserted that this form of understanding is missing in animals, as they are not receptive to acknowledge the mirror effect. Justin aims to pass an iconic test wherein an animal (or Nico in this case) identifies changes to its appearance in a mirror hence developing an understanding of one’s own mirror image.
Research on the same lines on bots would definitely pilot the understanding of world in an intuitive manner than mechanical and would be an enhancement of robotic vision and motion systems.
If bots were to work with human civilization in the near future then the concept of “self” and “other” has to be clearly defined for the machines as is depicted by I, Robot & The Bicentennial Man.