Those of you who read through the News every week probably already know this, but I’m going to recap it here because there have recently been some significant advances in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
First off, last week we had the IBM Watson super computer competing against people in the American game show Jeopardy. After the first round it was tied for first, but by the end of the competition it was well out in front. This is a big deal because Watson had to take purely audio cues from the host and had the same amount of time to answer as the human contestants. This is a significant step forward in terms of a linguistic interface for computers and despite it’s limitations, testing is underway to bring Watson into the medical field.
The Watson interface could also apply quite smoothly to another of my favorite projects: the South Korean Classroom Robots. These things are great… They’re basically automated conversational partners to help Korean kids learn English. Teachers can also remote control them to give lessons. The South Korean government is putting a ton of funding into the project ($36 Million USD in 2012) and are planning to have the little robots in 8000 preschools by 2013.
Those are just two of the advances in AI and Robotics, we’re also using the latest AI to test theories of human thought, we’ve got another that can tell how we’re feeling from conversational cues, we’ve got robots exploring the bottom of the oceans, and another that has sensitive eyes and fingers.
Robotics and Artifical Intelligence are becoming more and more capable (I’m hesitant to use the term “more human”) and very soon they are going to be interacting with us on a daily basis.
Think about how computers have become an indespensible part of human existance in the last 15-20 years. In the next 20, I think it’s obvious that we’ll be looking at the same integration of Robots and AI into our world, society and daily lives.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’re enjoying the posts. As always, if you think it’s cool (or you think it’s horrible), please comment. And tell your friends.
“Intelligence is the art of good guesswork.” – H.B. Barlow, The Oxford Companion to the Mind