'MacGyver' Robot Can Use Found Objects to Solve Problems
Need to MacGyver your way out of a tough spot? Golem Krang, a robot designed by researchers at Georgia Tech, may soon be able to help. A Navy grant is funding work by researchers to create an algorithm that would give the robot the ability to use objects in its environment as tools to solve problems, such as the one pictured in a simulated scenario. (Source: Georgia Tech)
You're finding some old stories of mine, Cabe...I forgot about this one! I haven't seen that film, but it sounds like a good analogy. You've made me think I should do some research and see how far this project has come now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Everyone has had the experience of trying to scrape the last of the peanut butter or mayonnaise from the bottom of a glass jar without getting your hand sticky. Inventor Ron Jidmar thinks he has a solution to all of that nonsense with a flexible jar design that can be squeezed with one hand to lift contents from the bottom to the top of a jar or container, leaving the other hand free to scoop the contents out cleanly.
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