A new algorithm capable of inferring goals and plans could help machines better adapt to the imperfect nature of human planning. 

The critical component to engineering this type of understanding is arguably what makes us most human: our mistakes. Just as the toddler could infer the man’s goal merely from his failure, machines that infer our goals need to account for our mistaken actions and plans. 

In the quest to capture this social intelligence in machines, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences created an algorithm capable of inferring goals and plans, even when those plans might fail.