Do Real Robots have a Long Way to Go?

Posted 2 Aug 2004 at 22:41 UTC by steve Share This

A recent article about North Carolina State's Center for Robotics and Intelligence Machines summarizes some of the reasons why real robots are a long way from the robots of science fiction. Current AI is "all A and no I", today's robots are restricted by 19th century battery technology, there are still people who raise philisophical objections to the idea of intelligent machines, and many robots are still deaf, dumb, and blind. Researcher Eddie Grant predicts we won't see truly intelligent robots in our lifetime.

A.A. meetings for robot vacuum cleaners?, posted 3 Aug 2004 at 03:42 UTC by WhoPhlungPoo » (Journeyer)

This article is a bit confusing, are we talking about artificial humans or intelligent robots? There's a big difference between the two. If where talking about not seeing artificial humanoid robots in our lifetime, I would say that's a safe bet; if where talking about seeing intelligent robots then I think he's way off. I think the primary reason we will not see humanoid robots running around every where, like in the movie I Robot, is primarily due to the fact that there are more efficient shapes than that of humans; not to mention the desire of marketing personnel to sell us more than one type of robot. Why would companies develop an all around general-purpose robot, i.e. one in a human form, rather than develop a variety of robots specialized for a specific task? I would be willing to bet that the first "intelligent" robot to land in the hands of the everyday consumer will most probability be a vacuum cleaner, lawn mower or some similar house hold robot, very specialized and more closely resembling a microwave oven than a human.

I fully agree that power is a serious problem, however, will it take more than our lifetime to solve this issue? I seriously doubt it, how long could it possibly take to design a robot capable of locating it's charging station and then sip up some ethanol or some other hydrogen based liquid before returning to its chores. Several laptop manufactures are already pioneering the "Micro" fuel cell technology; you might end up catching your robotic house duster sipping on your 30 year old scotch sooner than you think.

Energy efficiency, posted 3 Aug 2004 at 22:17 UTC by motters » (Master)

I will consider myself lucky if I live to see robots with human level intelligence. But this isn't any reason to be discouraged. Whilst I think what some people call "the singularity" is still a long way off over the next couple of decades I think we will see some exciting developments in robotics technology.

Battery power is one side of the problem, but its not the only one. The average person burns energy at about the same rate as a lightbulb, but they are able to use that energy in ways which are very efficient compared to current humanoid robots. Current humanoids lack the compliant limbs or flexible spine of a person, making walking much less energy efficient.

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