• We use the word 'awareness' in the Center for Applied Intelligent Systems Research (CAISR) program to describe a quality in artificial systems, of high-level knowledge--comprising recognition and prediction of states including wellness, layout and activities, in humans, situations, or a system itself--which also facilitates adaption in complex interactions.
  • Our usage accords with a dictionary definition of 'awareness' as meaning "having knowledge" [1], the higher tiers of a knowledge pyramid model [2], and Endsley's definition in the context of situations as not merely perception of elements but also "comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future” [3].
  • Some differing definitions exist. We do not use 'awareness' to refer to consciousness as some other groups do [4] or qualities of biological systems, a simpler precursor to intelligence [5], attention or computational awareness (e.g., measured by the number of seconds required to notice an entity) [6], or any isolated single facet of perception, recognition, and prediction. Furthermore, awareness differs from 'intelligence' in that the latter term can refer to either low-level or high-level knowledge processing.
  • To further clarify, we provide a few concrete examples of how we use awareness.

We are working to build, inter alia: Vehicles which can be aware of their own wellness or that of other vehicles for rapid fault detection. Auto guided lift trucks which can be aware of the layout of inventory and stock in a warehouse. Intelligent environments which can be aware of a person's activity patterns.


[1] aware. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from website:

[2] Biermann, J, et al. (2004) From Unstructured To Structured Information In Military Intelligence–Some Steps To Improve Information Fusion. Systems, Concepts and Integration Methods and Technologies for Defense against Terrorism.

[3] Endsley MR. (1995) Toward a theory of situation awareness in dynamic systems. Human Factors 37 (1), pp. 32–64.

[4] Madani K, Ramik DM, and Sabourin C. Multilevel CognitiveMachine-Learning-Based Concept for Artificial Awareness: Application to Humanoid Robot Awareness Using Visual Saliency, 2012

[5] Zhao Q. (2013) Computational Awareness: Another Way towards Intelligence, Computational Intelligence: Studies in Computational Intelligence, Volume 465, pp 3-14.

[6] Devanur NR, Fortnow L. (2009) A computational theory of awareness and decision making. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge, pp 99–107.