Artificial Intelligence and the Common Sense of Animals

Trends Cogn Sci. 2020 Nov;24(11):862-872. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2020.09.002. Epub 2020 Oct 8.


The problem of common sense remains a major obstacle to progress in artificial intelligence. Here, we argue that common sense in humans is founded on a set of basic capacities that are possessed by many other animals, capacities pertaining to the understanding of objects, space, and causality. The field of animal cognition has developed numerous experimental protocols for studying these capacities and, thanks to progress in deep reinforcement learning (RL), it is now possible to apply these methods directly to evaluate RL agents in 3D environments. Besides evaluation, the animal cognition literature offers a rich source of behavioural data, which can serve as inspiration for RL tasks and curricula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*