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Cast Iron Dummy

Posted 25 Aug 2003 at 13:29 UTC by steve Share This

In what may be the best definition of a robot since Douglas Adams', "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with", the Hindustan Times defines a robot as "A cast iron dummy that walks like a hopeless arthritic and talks like Tonto". It presents the definition only to say that ASIMO has proven it wrong by walking like a real human. It then predicts we have about 30 years before robots become more capable and intelligent than humans.


30 years, posted 25 Aug 2003 at 15:07 UTC by jup » (Apprentice)

Ineterestingly, Japanese researchers said they need 30-years and furthemore 50 billion yen (over $400 million) per year to build a robot with the abilities of a 5 year old child. That certainlly doesn't seem that optimistic, but looking at what ASIMO can really do now, it's probably a more reallistic guess. OTOH, Marshall Brain in his essay was also relativelly optimistic, setting the breakthrough somewhere around 2025. At least it's nice to see that these guesses generally agree that within 30 years, we could see robots with abilities similar to at least 5 year old humans.

Now, if I could just push fast forward.

My £0.02 worth, posted 25 Aug 2003 at 21:37 UTC by motters » (Master)

All these predictions are pretty vaccuous, but I recon 30 years is a reasonably conservative estimate for reaching the intellectual level of a 5 year old.

For what its worth I think there will be some interesting developments over the next decade but that things will really start to hot up after 2010.

Actually I think even when robots are as smart as the average person (and it has to be said that there are many people who aren't very smart) there will still be those who say "ah but it's not really intelligent, its just following some sophisticated program" - just as there are some people today who claim that other animals aren't intelligent or in any way conscious.

In my humble opinion, posted 26 Aug 2003 at 16:57 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

I think DARPA is probably already near that point if not there already. They've been sinking 100's of millions of dollars into various secret and not so secret robotics projects for quite a few years now.

Why did my glasses go dark?, posted 27 Aug 2003 at 17:40 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Beware, today I found my favorite 80's game on the net as a Java web applet: here. I forgot how to get the bablefish out of that dratted machine. I guess I'll have to listen to some more opera in a language I can't understand.

Don't panic!, posted 27 Aug 2003 at 19:28 UTC by motters » (Master)

That HHG text adventure is quite amusing. I must have missed it the first time around.

An enormous waste of time, posted 27 Aug 2003 at 23:01 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Yep, I don't think I ever finished it, but I did waste a lot of time on it.

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