Future Watch: A.I. comes of age

stair

These are indeed nice days for artificial intelligence researchers. While Stair’s performance might not seem much better than that of a dog fetching the newspaper, it’s a technological tour de force unimaginable just a few years ago. “Stair, please fetch the stapler from the lab,” says the man seated at a conference room table. The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Robot, standing nearby, replies in a nasal monotone, “I will get the stapler for you.” Stair pivots and wheels into the adjacent lab, avoiding a number of obstacles on the way. Its stereoscopic camera eyes swivel back and forth, taking in the contents of the room. It seems to think for a moment, then approaches a table for a closer look at an oblong metallic object. Its articulated arm reaches out, swivels here and there, and then gently picks up the stapler with long, rubber-clad fingers. It heads back to the conference room. “Here is your stapler,” says Stair, handing it to the man. “Have a nice day.” Indeed, Stair represents a new wave of AI, one that integrates learning, vision, navigation, manipulation, planning, reasoning, speech and natural-language processing. It also marks a transition of AI from narrow, carefully defined domains to real-world situations in which systems learn to deal with complex data and adapt to uncertainty. AI has more or less followed the “hype cycle” popularized by Gartner Inc.: Technologies perk along in the shadows for a few years, then burst on the scene in a blaze of hype. Then they fall into disrepute when they fail to deliver on extravagant promises, until they eventually rise to a level of solid accomplishment and acceptance.

Site – http://www.computerworld.com

Site – http://stair.stanford.edu/

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