Home » Artificial Intelligence » 4 Weekend Reads: Robots – you don’t want one to fall on you

4 Weekend Reads: Robots – you don’t want one to fall on you

Humanoid robots are nowhere close to having the “brain” and motor control of a human VIDEO: The smartest people in the world have spent millions on developing high-tech robots. But even though technology has come a long way, and will advance further still through the DARPA Robotics Challenge, humanoid robots are nowhere close to having the “brain” and motor control of a human. Why is that? MIT+k12 Videos takes a look behind the motor control processes in the human brain, and explains how cutting-edge research like that taking place at the MIT School of Engineering and CSAIL – MIT is trying to implement it in robots. Helios, MIT’s Atlas robot for the DARPA challenge plays a starring role. (MITK12 videos) Building Robot Companions for Children Some day, robot “personal trainers” will teach kids to speak, read, exercise and eat their vegetables, say Yale researchers. A $10 million federal grant is funding the five-year project. “The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians.” (The Washington Free Beacon) Robots need to be able to effectively sense and navigate whatever might be thrown at it “Robots need to get less expensive, lighter (you don’t want a robot that weighs 300 lbs to fall on you), and softer in case they make unintended contact. But even if you gave me one of those tomorrow, we would still have to do research on how to make it do useful tasks.” (Robotics Industries Association) Hat tip: Andre Montaud. The technology and jobs debate – we can learn a lot from the 1960’s Economists, struggling to disentangle the effects of technology, trade, and other forces, don’t have a certain answer to the question of whether this time is different. David Autor, an MIT economist who is one of the leading researchers in the field, argues that trade (imports from China and elsewhere) has increased unemployment, while technology has reshaped the job market into something like an hourglass form, with more jobs in fields such as finance and food service and fewer in between. (Wilson Quarterly)


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