If you’re a tech geek worth your salt, you’ll know there are some pretty awesome robots out there, you’ll see the gradual progression in AI technology and probably have come to one conclusion: We’re not too far away from machines becoming smarter and more able than we are.
How close exactly is hard to put a number on, but some estimate advanced machines helping us out, walking our dogs and doing our washing by as early as 2025.
Sound like science fiction? You’re not wrong; though remember aeroplanes seemed a preposterous idea in 1900. As Tim Peake took his very own spacewalk last week science fiction is becoming science fact and hopefully this look at just how advanced our machines are becoming will transport you dead-set into the middle of a sci-fi blockbuster.
First up, let’s look at Pepper, the household assistant with the ability to recognise emotions, play games and entertain the family (It’s been on sale in Japan for around six months). Pepper’s 20 motors all with highly articulated arms make its display of human emotion fairly impressive.
Priced at £1000 (198,000 yen) it becomes a rather expensive toy, but a good step forward in the way of consumer robotics.
Now for the most famous humanoid robot in the World, Asimo who has frankly mind blowing features. His/her hardware uses sensors to replicate each of our senses, with two cameras as eyes that allow it to recognise and remember faces, eight microphones that allow it to understand three requests for different drinks at once and touch sensors in its fingers so it can gauge the density of objects. Its intelligence and advanced kinetic tech will then allow it to run along to the coffee machine for you without bumping into co-workers. Asimo truly is a piece of engineering genius; good luck getting one though, Honda’s been working on this bot in secret since 1986!
As advanced as these may appear the one thing missing so far is the ability to think like a human. Machines think how we programme them to think, and by that logic, they can only ever be as smart as we are. That is until we can develop a robotic brain. IBM has been trying with their answer to C-3PO – Watson.
Watson is computer software like none other; it uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. You can ‘tell’ it to learn something, or perform a complex data task and it’ll do it in a fraction of the time it would take one of us. It can be a cognitive aid, it can analyse medical data in seconds and it can even manifest itself in robotic technology, and it’s done just that by teaming up with Pepper to learn Japanese.
Interested? Check out Pepper, Asimo, Watson and let us know what you think about AI and robo-tech in the comments below.