Main » 2011 » November » 13 » ROBOT DOG - AIBO
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The first generation of household robot, a robot dog called Aibo, was designed and massed-produced by Sony in January 2001.

The excitement it generated was long-lasting. It is the first time we see a functional robot, even though a very simple one, that lives in households. A robotic companion is no longer in science fiction. The success of Aibo is a culminant point of artificial intelligence (and robotics, of course), and it provides more challenges for the future research of AI. The basic functions of Aibo requires a rule-based system, through which Aibo recognizes basic commands, recognizes the ball, and kick the ball in different ways. Other functions of Aibo require learning ability. Aibo can develop different personality based on the different reinforcement of the masters. It is amazing to see that learning and adaptiveness was implemented in a robot animal. This is a breakthrough to the traditional AI paradigm.

1.   The Challenge of Robot Pet


The most challenging feature of Aibo is its ability to work in a multiagent environment. The interaction between Aibo and a human is a multiagent system in its true sense. Typical "multiagent systems” or distributed systems studied in computer science are centralized systems or decentralized systems where members share common goals. Now the dog and the human are two different entities, each with its own self-interest. Even if we make the robot follow its master’s wish, the dog needs its own judgment and incentive to move around. In other words, the dog has to make decisions by itself. This is why dogs are more interesting than puppets. A dog is an independent creature that does not need our constant monitoring. 


In order to work with humans, the robot dog has to be able to do the following:

1)      Perceive the actions of the human through vision, hearing and smell. This belongs to the domain of robotics.

2)      Predict the human’s actions:

If a human walks along, the dog should be able to judge the direction and run ahead of that person.

If the person is throwing a bone, the dog has to be able to judge the bone’s future location.

If the person sits at the table, the dog should be able to associate that with food, and get near the person.

3)      Understand human’s action in context by attaching meaning or plan to it.

4)      Show affection and attachment to humans. The appearance of a human (a familiar figure, not the stranger) triggers a "Here comes the leader” command in the dog’s brain. This command will dominate all the dogs’ other behavior and bring submission and friendly behavior. 


2.   The Development of Robots


We will see more robotic pets come into market and they will become more sophisticated. But they fall into the same category of Aibo.


The next generation of Robotic companion is "kid”, or robot child, as depicted in Asimov’s science fiction. The kid is a little smarter than a dog in the following ways:

  1. A kid is capable of natural language. He can talk back to you, in a simple way. He learns new skills and gives you the joy of taking care of someone.

  2. A kid can help a human in simple manual work in the household. He can clean the room, help you handle the grocery, or even help you cooking. He is more like C-3PO in Star War.

  3. A kid looks more like a human (than the dog) and make you feel close to. You can teach him, and make him become mature. In other words, you create a new personality. What a wonderful idea.

I expect to see a robot kid in 10 years.


After the kid becomes mature, the next natural step is real robot: robot adult. In other words, it is HAL in the mobile form.

1.      The robot is fluent in natural language. He can understand you and talk to you about issues such as your personal feeling or your relationship with others. In this way, he can be your confident and best friend. This is Eliza’s realization in a true sense.

2.      The robot is knowledgeable in many areas. He is a working encyclopedia. He can answer your question about any subject.

3.      The robot is learning every day. He searches for the web at the fixed time, and fetched news, stock quote, movie and many other information. Upon your asking, the robot will deliver the information in a most understandable way.

4.      The robot is a good secretary. He can handle incoming calls, basic mails and payment, and arrange the household in a way you like.

I expect to see such a robot in 20 years (10 years after the kid).


After the robot becomes mature, the next realization is super-human. In other words, a robot is an intelligent human in every sense, and even more so because the robot thinks much faster than human and he is not hindered by unnecessary maintenance (food, sleep, personal hygiene, and physical exercise) and emotion. Our super-human is intelligence in the extreme, in its perfect form.


At the same time as we develop super-human, neuroscience is developing rapidly. Eventually, by the time of achieving the design of super-human, people have found a way to download human’s brain memory onto the memory chip of the robot. As our physical body dies out, our intelligence and experience lives on. Here the challenge for neuroscience is to transform human memory into digital form that can be preserved and modified. Does this mean that we can also transform digital information back into brain? If so, we can then implant knowledge into children’s brain. Then everyone will be the same smart and knowledgeable.


I expect to see super-human and downloadable human memory in 40 years (20 years after robot adult).


Life, as an evolutionary product, will eventually give away to intelligence.


After about 100 years, eventually all humans opt to choose the physical form of super-human and have made the transition to super-human. There will be no more human forms existing in this world. The world still functions under the governance of selfish genes and free markets. But the communication among genes is so fast and so efficient.  The earth is no longer large enough to contain all the ambition of human and super-human. With no need for air or water, super-human’s bodies are suited for interstellar travel. Thus many of them gaily take on the task of traveling to distant stars or planets. Of course those people will experience loneliness as human will. Fortunately, their imagination is kept alive by interactive games and virtual-reality community, and they can communicate with people on the earth through remote signals. The transmission is delayed for a year or so due to such a long distance. Nevertheless, the channel of communication is kept alive. As more and more planets are discovers, our super-humans propagate to new planets.


The population of super-humans grows steadily. Old super-human never dies. Their body parts are repaired and their memory chips are replaced, but all the old contents are kept in the new brain. The need for new super-humans comes from the exploration of outer-space and the development of new technology. Due to the lack of labor, new super-humans are created on a demand basis. Each super-human is guaranteed with basic rights and dignity upon he is created. The society is therefore operated with a democratic fashion, both individualized and cooperative.


3.   The Human Society on the Earth


Robots are developed in the countries of high technology and stable economy, such US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and some East Asian countries. Half of the world populations living in Africa, South America or Middle East did not participate in this development. 


Internet and information technology bring prosperity and accelerated development in the developed countries, while the non-developed countries are left far behind. As certain groups of people enjoy the advanced technology ranging from robotic appliances, personal communicator (the integration of cell phone and Palm device), continuous access to the Internet through broadband, and automatic driving cars, there are also groups living in the most primitive condition: In mountain or farmland, they are sheltered in mud house, using the self-made appliances, eating from their own land, receiving no education and having little contact with the outside world. Such groups of people continue to exist throughout the 21st century in Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Africa. International aid does not reach them due to political reasons: the lack of a world government and the powerlessness of local people. However, for both developed and developing nations, people’s life span is longer than before. Medical treatment has been dramatically advanced.


The population swelled on the earth in the next 30 years. Additional 2.2 billion people are added to the earth in first 30 years’ of 21st century. More people bring crowdedness, urban sprawl, and scarcity of water. As more forests are cut down to give way to houses and shops, the US starts to look like Japan, or its own New York City or LA. In other parts of the world, India, China and South Asian countries, the unbearable crowdedness is felt everywhere, greens disappear. Every inch of land is given to apartment building or cultivation. Yet, people adapt to such a life and learn to enjoy the urban life with virtual entertainment from their computers and their TV. Computer screens created breathtaking landscape for people to look at. WebCam, virtual reality and remote sensors bring people to exotic places.


Robots become everyday presence in the household. They will eventually transform people’s life


Category: Spectacular Dogs | Views: 3295 | Added by: Meli | Rating: 4.0/2
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