It's uncertain whether developing a functional baby cognitive model is the right direction towards human-level adult AI, but at least the progress is measureable, which can't be said for a lot of other approaches, such as animal models, games, or Turing-test-like setups. For example, just look at how the competition to create a Turing-test passing chat bot has turned out. Has creating a world champion chess computer advanced our knowledge at all of building a human-like AI? Not by much.
Below I have a timeline of an infant's cognitive development up to 1 year, and my own comments on what AI work is involved in emulating that functional behavior.
- Between 1 and 2 months of age, infants become interested in new objects and will turn their gaze toward them. They also gaze longer at more complex objects and seem to thrive on novelty, as though trying to learn as much about the world as possible.
The ability to detect changes also implies the ability to filter out what's old. i.e. pattern recognition. Old things are, by definition, things that fall into a pattern. So, I believe that the first step of AI is to have generalized pattern recognition(knowing what's old) and differencing(tracking the new changes).
- At around 3 months of age, infants are able to anticipate coming events. For example, they may pull up their knees when placed on a changing table or smile with gleeful anticipation when put in a front pack for an outing.
- At around 4 months, babies develop keener vision. Babies' brains now are able to combine what they see with what they taste, hear, and feel (sensory integration). Infants wiggle their fingers, feel their fingers move, and see their fingers move. This contributes to an infant's sense of being an individual.
- Between 6 and 9 months of age, synapses grow rapidly. Babies become adept at recognizing the appearance, sound, and touch of familiar people. Also, babies are able to recall the memory of a person, like a parent, or object when that person or object is not present. This cognitive skill is called object permanence.
- Babies observe others' behavior around 9 to 12 months of age. During this time, they also begin a discovery phase and become adept at searching drawers, cabinets, and other areas of interest. Your baby reveals more personality, becomes curious, and demonstrates varied emotions.
Gizmodo-Seeing the world through the eyes of a baby
Yahoo! Health-Cognitive development between 1 and 12 months of age