In one San Francisco hospital and other places, delivery robots – about the size of a mini-fridge – zip through the hallways delivering pills, bringing lunch to patients and ferrying specimens and medical equipment to different labs
Your vacuum cleaner that you leave to do its job while you are away is a robot. It senses the world around it and makes driving decisions as it sucks and sweeps. But your washing machine is not a robot. You tell it how to wash when you select the cycle and it gets on with it. There are grey areas and the definition is debated, but let’s leave it there.
Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, according to a statement by the US Department of Defense. Their clarification comes amid fears about a new advanced targeting system, known as ATLAS, that will use artificial intelligence in combat vehicles to target and execute threats. While the public may feel uneasy about so-called “killer robots”, the concept is not...[Read More]
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are becoming more like us. You can ask Google Home to switch off your bedroom lights, much as you might ask your human partner. When you text inquiries to Amazon online it’s sometimes unclear whether you’re being answered by a human or the company’s chatbot technology.
Given that we want to incorporate robots into our social world, it’s no wonder that creating a sense of self in artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the ultimate goals for researchers in the field. If these machines are to be our carers or companions, they must inevitably have an ability to put themselves in our shoes. While scientists are still a long way from creating robots with a human-like ...[Read More]
Nowhere is the advance of technology more evident than in the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. From smart devices to self-checkout lanes to Netflix recommendations, robots (the hardware) and AI (the software) are everywhere inside the technology of modern society. They’re increasingly common in ads, too: During the 2019 Super Bowl alone, seven ads aired featuring either robots or AI.
For most people today, robots and smart systems are servants that work in the background, vacuuming carpets or turning lights on and off. Or they’re machines that have taken over repetitive human jobs from assembly-line workers and bank tellers. But the technologies are getting good enough that machines will be able work alongside people as teammates – much as human-dog teams handle tasks like hun...[Read More]
The film Robot and Frank imagined a near-future where robots could do almost everything humans could. The elderly title character was given a “robot butler” to help him continue living on his own. The robot was capable of everything from cooking and cleaning to socialising (and, it turned out, burglary). This kind of science fiction may turn out to be remarkably prescient. As growing numbers of el...[Read More]
“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.” Anyone who has ever tried to have a deeper conversation with a virtual assistant like Siri knows how frustrating it can be. That’s despite the fact that AI systems like it are increasingly pushing into our lives, with new success stories on an almost daily basis. Not only do AIs now help radiologists detect tumours, they can act as cat repellent and even detec...[Read More]
Google recently successfully put its DeepMind artificial intelligence system to work recognising eye diseases. With AI also being used to diagnose cancer, and the launch of AI-driven smartphone apps that can discuss symptoms and triage patients, it might sound like we’re not too far from the creation of a fully fledged AI doctor. Similar progress is being made putting AI to work writing software a...[Read More]
Ready or not, autonomous robots are leaving laboratories to be tested in real-world contexts. With more and more people living in cities, these technologies offer ways to cope with ageing populations and poorly maintained infrastructures, while promoting safer transport, productive manufacturing and secure energy supplies. Urban “living labs” are one way scientists are trying to understand how aut...[Read More]
Vision is one of nature’s amazing creations that has been with us for hundreds of millions of years. It’s a key sense for humans, but one we often take for granted: that is, until we start losing it or we try and recreate it for a robot. Many research labs (including our own) have been modelling aspects of the vision systems found in animals and insects for decades. We draw heavily upon studies li...[Read More]