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The Changing Face of Robotics

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the why-did-you-program-me-to-feel-pain? dept.

Robotics 49

An anonymous reader writes "Using sensors to interface socially, the next generation of robots may not fit the classic idea of what a robot should be. Glen Martin writes: 'Equipped with two articulated arms, it can perform a multitude of tasks. It requires no application code to start up, and no expensive software to function. No specialists are required to program it; workers with minimal technical background can "teach" the robot right on the production line through a graphical user interface and arm manipulation.'"

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The hell? (-1)

neminem (561346) | about 8 months ago | (#46086583)

"workers with minimal technical background can 'teach' the robot right on the production line through a graphical user interface and arm manipulation"

How the hell do you have a graphical user interface without anyone having ever written any software for it? My understanding of what a robot "should be" already *is*, "you should not have to buy it expensive 3rd-party software, it runs the software it was already programmed to run when you bought it". Otherwise it would be a general-purpose computer that happens to have arm attachments.

Re:The hell? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086683)

It's a shit summary of a shit story which is old news to start with. Basically they're just saying that they will deliver you a "generic" robot which has no specifically pre-programmed tasks. Instead of paying someone to write a custom program to (for example) weld a joint, the worker uses a GUI and manual manipulation of the actuators to "teach" the software the task you want it to perform.

This idiot also makes a bunch of really off-base assumptions about what a robot is "supposed to be", and ignores most of the bulk of science fiction in order to come up with the claim that this is somehow "unusual".

Re:The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087219)

what a robot is "supposed to be",

An alcoholic kleptomaniac, of course.

Heinlein (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 8 months ago | (#46090437)

Heinlein's "Door into summer" describes Flexible Frank robot with exactly those capabilities.

Re:The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086693)

They mean it requires no expensive software other then the expensive software that it already runs.

Re:The hell? (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 8 months ago | (#46086699)

I think it is more of a puff piece written in an attempt to cash-in on a reference to the movie "her".

An AI program is NOT the same thing as a robot. And an expert system is not the same as an AI program.

Re:The hell? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 8 months ago | (#46087633)

Explain.

Re:The hell? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087693)

You can only cyber with an AI, but you can stick your dick in a robot. And an expert system just asks you how it would feel to stick your dick in your mother.

Re:The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086933)

I don't know about the graphical user interface, but if you get someone who does metal cutting, welding, or other such work and ask him/her to use arm manipulation to teach a robot how to take over their job, you mind find "arm manipulation" is interpreted to mean something along the lines of "welding the arm onto the robot's arse".

Re:The hell? (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46087669)

Judging by the welders and fitter and turners that I know, after asking one of these blokes to teach the robot that will take their job, I think the "appendage manipulation" that the sounds that they will be producing would make most chiropractors cringe.

Re:The hell? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 months ago | (#46087105)

Last production robot i dealt with you 'programmed it' by walking it thru the paces in a 'learn mode'. While the back end there was software of course, the person 'showing' it how to do the job didn't need to know this.

I guess times have changed, for the worse.

Re:The hell? (1)

neminem (561346) | about 8 months ago | (#46087151)

Or, more likely, they completely haven't, which is what I was objecting to - I believe this is one of those threads that attempts to claim that somebody is doing something earthshatteringly new, when, in fact, it's the same thing everyone's been doing for years or possibly decades already.

Re:The hell? (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 8 months ago | (#46088543)

How the hell do you have a graphical user interface without anyone having ever written any software for it?

More importantly, how the hell are you going to have the workers themselves automate their job away, willingly?

Totally off-topic. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086635)

Cool. I love the idea of virtually zero employment thanks to ubiquitous robots.

Wonder how that's going to work out...no workers means no one collects a paycheck. Only a few people will own all the resources. So what...the government gives the people a stipend? And we spend it on whatever the robots make? Or do we just cut out the middle man, hand the robots over to the people through government proxies, and make whatever we want?

Man, I would say in the long run, capitalism doesn't have much of a future.

Re:Totally off-topic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086659)

The New World Economy is coming! It's been coming for 45 years! It just keeps coming and coming and coming.

2014 is totally the year Kirk was talking about when he said we don't have money in the future! Seriously, this year? Please?

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 8 months ago | (#46087707)

until you put the batteries in backwards and the economy is going and going and going, right down the crapper.

Re:Totally off-topic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087781)

Fear not! Obama can blame Bush for putting the batteries in backwards.

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 8 months ago | (#46086711)

In the long run, we're all dead anyway.

time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#46086853)

time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours.

Let's start with 32 hours / 4 days a week with an end to the salary no OT pay or maybe a high mini level of pay to have the no OT pay say 100K+ COL

Also an high H-1B min wage say 125k+

Re:time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086903)

No no no no no. If you're not working 80 hours a week, you're not obedient enough. Obey or die.

Re:time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087011)

Don't worry - both you and the gp are right! You'll have to work 80 hours a week but you'll only be paid for 20!

Re:time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 8 months ago | (#46088381)

time to cut full time down maybe 20-32 hours.

Let's start with 32 hours / 4 days a week with an end to the salary no OT pay or maybe a high mini level of pay to have the no OT pay say 100K+ COL

Also an high H-1B min wage say 125k+

Obamacare defines full time as 30+ hours: http://news.investors.com/poli... [investors.com]

So naturally all the places that would rather the government pay for healthcare cut their employees hours down to 29/week. Now they're complaining about not having enough qualified employees.....

When was the last time you saw a Walmart with most of the shelves stocked and the registers open?

Re:Totally off-topic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087251)

I love how you fucks caw on against capitalism while using tools that capitalism created.
 
What a bunch of shit eating hypocrites.

Re:Totally off-topic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087303)

Made In China is made by communism, comrade.

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 8 months ago | (#46087325)

Don't blame me - I voted for Comrade Snowball.

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

psithurism (1642461) | about 8 months ago | (#46087801)

virtually zero employment

Well, yes, but this has been going on for centuries: We have been automating areas in the work force that means less people employed doing brain numbingly boring tasks over and over and over again. Even Baxter will need human supervisors and teachers, so he it will automate away a few more jobs, but we still haven't gotten to the point where robots run the factories autonomously. The recent economic slumps have not been from technological progress either.

As a geek, wanna-be maker, I've been trying to think how to automate all of my friends out of jobs, and all of them are secure for the time being. I haven't even designed something to effectively dust my house, and I still need to vacuum and mop even after my Roomba goes over the floor a couple times.

One day I hope we have to make the decisions you are worrying about, and get to the Star Trek, "Money? Whats that?" Era, and capitalism can go die in fire while we eat robot-peeled grapes on our robot wheeled chaise lounges in our robot tended gardens, but we aren't close yet. We are getting closer though; for example, we have retirement, complete with government stipend. which was non-existent in the working classes a century ago.

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

worf_mo (193770) | about 8 months ago | (#46089319)

Manna: Two Visions of Humanity's Future [marshallbrain.com] (also available on the Kindle) explores two different possible outcomes in a world with ubiquitous robots. Quite an interesting read.

Re:Totally off-topic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46089787)

half of us will be employed to jail the other half

here's to hoping the machines rebel and give mankind a break from ruling itself

Re:Totally off-topic. (1)

recharged95 (782975) | about 8 months ago | (#46092057)

Well, what do you think the humans do in The Matrix [wikipedia.org] ?

There either partying, warring, or jacking in (aka the blue pill [wikipedia.org] or what Futurama calls it: surfing the Internet). Work? Don't see it.

will our robotic overlords keep pets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086773)

I've always wanted to be a robot's pet.

"Now robot..." (2)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 8 months ago | (#46086787)

Now Mr Robot, this is what I want you to do. When the boss comes by, I want you to lift up both arms like this, now extend your middle actuators and shout, "Blow it out your tailpipe!"

Re:"Now robot..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086841)

He's a robot, you idiot! He recorded every word you said. His memories are admissible as evidence!

Re:"Now robot..." (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46087677)

So sue me.

Sooner or later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086891)

They will be programmed to KILL. What then???

Captcha: Murder

Re:Sooner or later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087157)

..........human extinction at last?

why the recent interest in robotics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086899)

Why the recent interest in robots? Robots were used extensively in the 70s and 80s in car factories. They didn't need much computing power. They didn't take over jobs in many industries as many predicted back then. Why is there a more recent interest in robots? Does good machine vision require lots of CPU power? Have Chinese wages become too expensive? Have Mexican wages become too expensive? Is the ACA that horrible? Were factory managers too lazy to think of how robots could benefit them?

Re:why the recent interest in robotics? (3, Informative)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46086925)

FTA: It turns out it would've been real handy to have some trained in emergency procedures at the Fukushima Plant.

hand job bot, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087041)

use both arms

e4? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087065)

Re:e4? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087085)

GAAAAaAAaAaYYYYY NIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGgGGGEEEEEeEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It ain't nothin. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#46087211)

What the hell? Two arms and multiple functions? You call that a robot? Can a 10 year old whizz kid deep into pod race subculture build it in his bedroom from kits? Can it play co-pilot to a X-wing space fighter? No? Then it ain't no robot.

Re:It ain't nothin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087273)

This one time, at robot camp, I stuck an arm up my pussy.

Same press release as last year (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#46088141)

The 2012 interview [hizook.com] was more informative:

" Indeed. We don't mean "common sense" from a Marvin Minsky-like strong AI perspective. Baxter's "execution" application consists of a series of behavior-based systems. During "training," the robot detects task-relevant features and uses it to build up the behavior based system.
For example, let's say a user is training the robot for a pick and place task. During the "pick" phase, a user places the gripper above an object and closes the gripper. The force on the gripper is detected by the robot. Our "training" application detects this sequence as "the robot is grasping an object"... so during "execution", Baxter won't proceed unless it actually detects an object in the robots gripper. Thus, if the object fell out, it would stop (or do something else). This is different from how existing industrial robots work -- they'd just merrily continue the pick-and-place without the object.
Collectively, these "behavior primitives" are assigned and composed, ie. "learned", during "training" by having non-technical users directly manipulate the robot rather than programming it (which is also possible for those inclined). This gives the robot an air of common sense."

This is useful, but not that intelligent. Take a look at these PR videos [rethinkrobotics.com] to see what it can do. Basically, it can pack and unpack things, and move them from one place to another. It's not good enough to assemble much of anything. Plugging in connectors to assemble a phone? Not with this machine and software.

Re:Same press release as last year (2)

Antonovich (1354565) | about 8 months ago | (#46088887)

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this. The brains behind Rethink Robotics is Rodney Brooks, a long-time professor and head of MIT's CSAIL. While not as much of a show pony as Kurzweil, he is still quite well known outside academic circles. He was also behind the robotic Roomba vacuum cleaners that are in many people's homes.

While he is definitely a controversial theorist in AI/Robotics circles, no one denies his ability to get things done. His (and his student's) research has been used in a lot of the advanced robotics we see today (military, space, other). I can't help thinking that the basic tenets of his theories are a little difficult to grasp for most people, including AI/Robotics researchers. There are some branches of philosophy, neuroscience and the human behavioural sciences that have long been arguing the sorts of things he does as the basis of human intelligence, though they have not been particularly popular since the 60s. Competing theories are not really getting us very far though, and the key concepts he pushes are starting to get more traction again.

Brooks is still searching for "the juice", as he puts it, the last piece he believes is necessary before we can create truly generative intelligence. He may not live to see it (though he's not even 60 yet I think) but I believe his ideas will form the basis of AGI in the not-too-distant future. Probably around the time I turn 70 ;).

Re:Same press release as last year (2)

BadDreamer (196188) | about 8 months ago | (#46089329)

It is clear the interviewed person has never programmed existing industrial robots.

Thus, if the object fell out, it would stop (or do something else). This is different from how existing industrial robots work -- they'd just merrily continue the pick-and-place without the object.

I have programmed industrial robots of different kinds for the last eight years, and I have not worked with - or even seen - a robot which does not detect when it drops something and reacts to it. Many existing robots can differentiate between different products by grasping them, and there are sensors which can identify products on sight or by size.

Directly manipulating the robot to teach it has been attempted by ABB and other robot manufacturers, and the results have so far been unsatisfactory in practical use. It is mostly used for impressive displays at expos.

Re:Same press release as last year (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 8 months ago | (#46089475)

Mod up. The voice of experience.

Re:Same press release as last year (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about 8 months ago | (#46106697)

Further, we have seen nothing about Baxter beyond fluffy PR. For example:
  • 1. How fast is it?
  • 2. How strong is it?
  • 3. How accurate/repeatable is it?
  • 4. What are the capabilities of its vision system?

Finally, a device to punch someone in the face (1)

sinij (911942) | about 8 months ago | (#46091357)

Finally, a device to punch someone in the face over Internet. It couldn't have arrived sooner.
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