Will robots really take over the world? Quite possibly, but not in the way you imagine.
The quest to develop artificial intelligence took off in the 1980’s as technology began to develop at rapid rates. As you read this, thousands of scientists around the world are teaching robots to recognise images, learn human behaviour patterns and make decisions for themselves.
But what does this mean for us? To answer this question, let’s look at some of the most advanced robots created to date and how they’re being used today.
A Tiny Droid
For those unfamiliar, the 3 laws are as follows:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Using these principles, the researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts, US have created a robot capable of analysing its surroundings and refusing human commands if they conflict with the laws. When given an order, the robot decides if it should complete the task, then figures out how to comply.
Applications for the future: At this stage of development, the robot can’t accomplish more than serve as a human companion. However, with increased coordination and a bigger body, they could assist the disabled and elderly with everyday tasks around the house, gradually making their way into every home.
Actroid F – Human Robot
Developed by Osaka University, this ultra realistic robot was first unveiled in 2003. The robot is taught to analyse its surroundings and imitate facial expressions of people nearby.
With cameras installed in the retinas, it is able to scan the room and respond to movement/voice by looking in the direction of the speaker. Using voice recognition software, the robot analyses the question and responds with one of the hundreds of pre programmed responses.
Applications for the future: Since it’s release in 2003, Actroid F has undergone several field trials in hospitals. The applications for this robot are endless from monitoring patients, to speaking with the elderly to help prevent mental decline. The creators hope it will go a long way to improve patient care.
Phillip – Human Robot
Perhaps the most advanced out of the group, this robot truly learns. Philip not only listens to the speaker, but creates a mental model and tracks behavioural patterns as the conversation progresses.
The speech recognition software transcribes the speaker’s comment while facial recognition software tracks and analyses the speaker’s face. In seconds, this information is sent to the database for a reply.
This robot is not limited by the preprogrammed responses as it has access to the web and is able to retrieve and use information for a response in real time. The database allows it to learn new concepts by recording them and connecting them to others previously learned.
Application for the future: This machine has all the ingredients to create independent AI. Not only does this robot make a great conversation companion, given a mobile body and fine motor skills, this robot can complete most tasks carried out by humans.
In a few hundred years, these machines can live amongst us, carrying out jobs, processing our payments in supermarkets and serving us in our homes.
Although we’re a while away from independent AI, it is undeniable that humans will live amongst robots in the future. These robots will eliminate the need for humans to carry out monotonous tasks, leaving us to focus on the things that matter. As far as emotion is concerned, those feelings are still reserved for biologically created beings.
What are your thoughts on AI and the future of robots? Leave it in the comments below.