Links from 2017-02-25
Let me first clarify what we mean by AI and robotics:
Firstly, we have industrial robots installed on factory floors, carrying out repetitive tasks such as pick and place or transporting goods autonomously. They are programmed to achieve very specific tasks in very constrained environments and usually work behind fences with no human contact.
Increasingly, so-called collaborative robots are deployed on the shop floor which can work in close proximity of humans and do not need a security cage any longer.
A second category consists of professional service robots used outside traditional manufacturing. Typical examples include surgical robots in hospitals or milking robots on farms.
Consumer robots form the third category: they can be used for private purposes, typically at home, like vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers etc.
Finally, there are the purely software-based AI agents. Such systems are used, for example, to help doctors improve their diagnosis or in recommendation systems on shopping websites.
AI-based software, in conjunction with sophisticated sensors and connectivity, is also increasingly used to make all kinds of devices and objects around us intelligent. The most notable example in this context is probably the self-driving car.
While many of these robots and AI systems are impressive and have progressed a lot recently, they are still very far from exhibiting intelligent, human-like behaviour or are indistinguishable from a human. In other words: they don’t pass the Turing test yet. This futuristic vision would need a debate at a different level, including asking very profound ethical questions.