Advancements in Computing Power and Machine Intelligence Result in Steady Progress in Robotics
Michio Kaku is a futurist, popularizer of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling author and the host of two radio programs. He is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Kaku launched his Big Think blog, "Dr. Kaku's Universe," in March 2010.
Private industry and militaries around the world depend on the continued advancement of computer power and cheaper electronics for the development of robotic systems. Every time you turn on the television or read the newspaper, it always seems as if we are reading about a new advancement in robotics, the development of a new robot or even progress into Artificial Intelligence. In fact, one of my last shows on Sci Fi Science "A.I. Uprising" touched on the possibility of a world ruled by artificial intelligence and how we are approaching the time when computers will exceed the power of the human brain.
However, we should be careful to point out that the remarkable advances mentioned here involve robotic systems which require human guidance. They are not fully autonomous systems which can think for themselves and make decisions independently, except in a primitive way. Many of these robotic systems are remote-controlled by a human, or require continuous human supervision.
Robots that can act like humans are still a very distant dream.
But not all robotic systems necessarily have to "think" in the way that they are portrayed in Hollywood movies like "Terminator" or "Short Circuit." Some robots are used in surgical procedures, fast-paced manufacturing systems, autonomous satellites, and remote-controlled systems. There are even even assistant robots that can help elderly people move about, remind them to take their medication and do household chores.
Let's take a look at some of the advances that have recently made headlines in the world of robotics and machine intelligence
Humanoid Robotics Systems & Domestic Style Robots
Advancements in Military Robotics Systems
The continued advancement of computer power will allow for faster, more intelligent and stronger robotic systems. In addition to Moore's law eventually coming to a halt, prices will continue to drop and hardware will continue to leap forward. Billions of dollars have been spent into the world of robotics and there is no doubt that billions more will be spent over the next couple of decades.
In addition, major strides have been made in the area of robotic vision; being able to recognize faces and remember them. The tumbling cost of camera, optics and sensing chips coupled with increased processing power is going to make for some interesting developments. As these advancements continue to take place, larger growth spurts will span into the domestic markets including smart-toys and remote controlled devices. Robotic systems essentially already play a major role in our lives including ATM's, copy machines that collate, fold, staple and organize all of your documents with the push of a button and even the all popular robotic vacuum cleaner named Roomba. These types of devices have of course have been around for years but now imagine the impact that the increasing computing power, machine intelligence, vision and control systems will do to this market in, say, the next 20 years.
(Image credits: Frank Steiner - software: 3DS Max)
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