A recent TechnicianOnline.com
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.
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.
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