Monday, November 14, 2011

Robots are taking over.

Who hates doing the dishes or making their bed? I bet there isn’t a person in this room who hasn’t dreamed of owning a humanoid robot. The great thing about owning one would be that you could communicate with it... like: “Hey, could you rinse the dishes better the next time you wash them? My glass of water tastes soapy.” Now... the question I have for you today is... should we really welcome the introduction of humanoid robots into our lives?
Scientists are designing advanced robots to assist people in their daily lives. Some of these robots are... well, they’re just machines. However, humanoid robots will be altogether different because they’ll have a higher range of capabilities. But the most important difference between ordinary robots and humanoid robots is that they’ll look, think, and act like humans. Scientists’ success in developing effective automated telephone attendants is ample proof that science will one day bring us highly intelligent, humanlike robots.* Researchers developing humanoid robots assure us they’ll be programmed to tell right from wrong, which will help them to make decisions, and to learn from their mistakes. The result? They’ll become even more intelligent. Female Student: Why do robots have to learn to become intelligent? Can’t they be programmed to be intelligent in the first place? Male Professor: Good question. Basically, it’s impossible to program a robot to be highly functional in all situations. Programmers would have to dream up every possible experience a humanoid robot could encounter. It would be like trying to create a catalog about life itself. That’s why researchers are programming humanoid robots to mimic human cognition... the mental processes that we use in thinking. These robots acquire information by observing... through sensory mechanisms that allow the robot to see, hear, touch, and feel the world around them.

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