Wouldn’t it be great to have your very own robot to do all the tasks you hate without complaining? Say goodbye to homework and washing-up!
Inventing a Brain. Intelligent robots don’t yet exist, but today’s robots can do all sorts of things: they work on assembly lines in factories, defuse bombs, vacuum the carpet, mow the lawn, and sample and analyze the surface of other planets.
Different types of robot look and behave very differently from one another, so it’s difficult to define what a robot is. Broadly, you could say that all robots have a computer (a brain) that controls a physical structure (a body).
But could a man-made machine ever be intelligent in the way that you are, capable of thought processes that enable it to learn, plan, have ideas and preferences?
Artificially intelligent machines do already exist: computers can solve problems, as long as they’re programmed to do so, and some modern robots can learn, in a limited way. But they’re not likely to help with an essay on the Napoleonic Wars.
Some scientists don’t believe that a truly intelligent robot will ever exist because we’ll never understand how our brains work well enough to create intelligence artificially. Others believe that research into artificial intelligence will lead to machines that can think for themselves, and eventually turn us all into human/machine hybrids.
The Honda Motor Company’s ASIMO robot, which looks a bit like a small person in a spacesuit, is the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. It can walk, climb stairs, understand spoken commands, recognize faces and perform a variety of simple tasks.
Robots are currently being developed across the world for domestic use, but it is going to be a long time before them will be one in every home. What kind of robot would you build?