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'MacGyver' Robot Can Use Found Objects to Solve Problems

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Robot using found items
Elizabeth M   11/5/2012 12:26:45 PM
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Good point, William. My colleague Beth pointed out potential drawbacks to this type of robot in a comment below. It definitely remains to be seen how this is executed to determine how successful and, as you pointed out, how creative a robot can be given various scenarios.

William K.
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Robot using found items
William K.   11/4/2012 7:30:35 PM
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The robot may be able to do more and better than the specific task that it's tooling was intended for, which could be very useful in an un-anticipated situation. BUT the creativity of the remote operator is what will be the really vital part. That is similar to the way a good engineer is able to use good engineering tools, but a poor engineer is only able to look at the tools. IT is all about creativity and insight, of course the more adaptive robot will wind up being much more useful.

Unfortunately the Macgyver guy used to routinely violate all kinds of physical realities. CReative? Certainly, but Correct? Very Seldom.

GlennA
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remember Watson / IBM / Jeopardy ?
GlennA   10/15/2012 9:55:59 PM
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Watson did win against Ken Jenning, and the other champion whose name I can't remember.  The game was fairly structured, but still required sifting through a lot of facts very quickly.  But Watson was the size of a room, not a mobile robot.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Macgyver robot???
Ann R. Thryft   10/15/2012 6:32:34 PM
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Thanks, Watashi, that's funny. I also think there are some unwarranted, anthropomorphizing assumptions in the comments here about how much independence a machine can actually have. It's one thing to use an algorithm, perhaps as simple as a decision-tree type of analysis, for assessing simple physics (levers, e.g.), amounts of force required, etc. It's quite another to assume, or posit, that a machine can have a separate sense of self and self-awareness.

William K.
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Re: Macgyver robot???
William K.   10/15/2012 6:29:09 PM
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It was always the cartoonish departures from real physical reality that bothered me. But my wife always watched it because of the guy's looks. Go figure.

Robots won't become an agressive threat until they become self-aware. Likewise, people unable to pay attention long enough to become self-aware are very easy to enslave. That is the reasoning behind the training of the current generation to not be able to focus attention for more than a second or two. They won't be able to discover that they are slaves. Think about that, and become uneasy!

Watashi
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Re: Macgyver robot???
Watashi   10/15/2012 6:13:12 PM
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Have we not learned anything from the "Terminator" and "Matrix" franchises? 

Machines turn on humans when they have the cognitive ability to realize that humans actually believed the storylines from MacGyver.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Please, not MacGyver
Rob Spiegel   10/15/2012 4:28:31 PM
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You're right about that, Nadine. The robot is a fascinating step forward, even if it requires mammoth tweaking. The ability of the robot to manipulate tools and the ability of the robot to "think" is quite something. 

NadineJ
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Re: Please, not MacGyver
NadineJ   10/15/2012 4:21:07 PM
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Rob, that's an interesting mix up.  But, my comment still stands, even if alone.

Good work doesn't need to be tied to cultural kitsch.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Please, not MacGyver
Rob Spiegel   10/15/2012 3:41:29 PM
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Nadine, actually I mixed up MacGyver -- a clever secret agent who worked with gadgets to solve probloems -- with MacGruber, a Saturday Night Live takeoff 

William K.
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Platinum
Macgyver robot???
William K.   10/15/2012 3:20:36 PM
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The difference will be that the robot won't be able to violate all kinds of physical laws and limitations. It will never connect a scuba tank to a garden hose to inflate an air matteres to bust open a hatchway. But a robot that was aware enough of it's surroundings to use a pipe as a lever to pry an object off of somebody would be quite an accomplishment. Of course, that would also be a big accomplishment for a whole lot of our population today. The advantages are clear but the level of creative thinking required is beyond most of our population, and probably beyond all programmers, so it will be amazing to see what gets developed.

The downside is that a robot that smart may want to replace us humans. That could be a problem.

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