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AI Robotics Hardware

Teaching Robots New Tricks Without Programming 42

cylonlover writes "Maya Cakmak, a researcher from Georgia Tech, spent the summer at Willow Garage creating a user-friendly system that teaches the PR2 robot simple tasks. The kicker is that it doesn't require any traditional programming skills whatsoever – it works by physically guiding the robot's arms while giving it verbal commands. After inviting regular people to give it a try, she found that with few instructions they were able to teach the PR2 how to retrieve medicine from a cabinet and fold a t-shirt."
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Teaching Robots New Tricks Without Programming

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:50PM (#42015663)

    "Without programming?"

    Bullshit. Look in the article, in the picture in the article.

    Program's right there, on the right side. [gizmag.com]

    "Test subjects were provided instructions on how to teach the robot similar to what you'd expect when buying a sophisticated appliance."

    "Tutorial: Programming PR2 by Demonstration."

    "Step 1... Say: 'TEST MICROPHONE'."

    "Step 2... Say: 'RELEASE RIGHT ARM.' ... Move the arm to a neutral pose and say HOLD RIGHT ARM."

    If this isn't programming, then I'm not a programmer. Instead, I'm just someone who manipulates a text editor.

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:53PM (#42015683)

    its just the method that has changed

  • Corrected title... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:58PM (#42015711) Homepage Journal

    Teaching Robots New Tricks With Non-Traditional Programming

    There, fixed that for you.

  • Re:GOOD! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:16PM (#42016123) Homepage

    Isn't that still an important and useful qualitation, since the vast, vast majority of people can't, shouldn't and don't fucking want to write code? And, I would argue, nor should they ever need to. Writing arbitrary invented languages, with awkward syntax and extremely-non-human thought-structures, to accomplish esoteric tasks has never been an intuitive or optimal way of getting shit done.

    Trust me, everybody would loooooooove for the computer to take instructions like a human but it's not going to happen because of everything that's implicitly understood. So you can teach this computer to fold a shirt, if you hand it an XS shirt and an XXL shirt will it figure out that it must adapt the folding action to the size of the shirt? I bet you any 5yo would figure that out all on their own because they've understood the basic concept of folding a shirt. Take a fundamental sentence like "put the black and white pants on the top shelf" did we mean the black pants and the white pants, or the black and white checkered pants?

    All that happens is that some really smart people will try really hard to write code that guesses what it was people actually meant but without actually knowing the context and purpose they'll fail miserably. Not to mention all the times they'd have to guess at do what I meant, not what I said because normal people when facing a choice between the reasonable and the absurd pick the reasonable like. Like say you have a knife and a chicken and you ask what to do with the knife and they answer "Cut the chicken to pieces and put it in the oven" most people will understand that you're to put the chicken in the oven, not the knife - even though you didn't ask what to do with the chicken.

    Or the TL;DR version: Good luck, I don't think we'll be unemployed any time soon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:47PM (#42016595)

    The point is that this is an advancement in Human Robot Interaction, not that they did away with programming. I blame the article and slashdot for this misleading premise.

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