SkyNet Fans Rejoice: Scientists Develop Robot Brain Made Out of the Internet
Providing robots with intelligence that deserve comparison with the human brain has been a failed ambition of the artificial intelligence movement for decades. A new project by European Robo Earth sets out to try and close the gap.
It will utilize the Internet to try and assist robots with their thinking and decision making. A web-based database of information called Rapyuta has been created by scientists.
The database describes objects the robots have met, while also providing some computational assistance. Its creators hope that as well as making robots smarter, it will also make them cheaper, as less processing will need to be done within the unit itself.
The database forms part of the European Robo Earth project that was started in 2011. The project aims to create a standard for how robots perceive the human world.
The database aims to provide this uniform approach. So rather than each robot having to deal with situations based upon its own idiosyncratic experience, it can instead consult Rapyuta to find a desired response.
The scientists behind the project believe that it will prove useful for areas such as drone aircraft, self-driving cars and similar devices that are required to process extensive information on the fly.
In addition, the web-based service is able to do complicated computation on behalf of a robot - for example if it needs to work out how to navigate a room, fold an item of clothing or understand human speech.
"On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost." said Dr Heico Sandee, Robo Earth program manager at the Dutch University of Technology in Eindhoven in a statement. As wireless data speeds increase more and more robotic thinking could be offloaded to the web, he said.
It is hoped that using this type of system will allow robots to evolve towards more complex tasks that require dynamic processing of fresh information, and thus grow out of the controlled environments they currently thrive in.