Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Embrace the Robot

You know how some people say someday robots are gonna take over the world?

Well, that day looks like it's going to come sooner rather than later. I was just listening to a three-day-old episode of Buzz-Out-Loud this morning and a story that Tom was covering regarding Asimo, Honda's favourite little robot caught my eye - ear.

Robots serving drinks
Enter the robo-waiter

I checked out the news-sites and whilst they seem to be gushing about the fact robots can do bar-tending (this is not new guys, it was announced in 2006 that they could do bartending), I noticed a phrase that just caught my attention:

Honda said it has developed a system to link its robots together so they can share information about where each one is and what each is doing.

Basically the major development is that Honda's advanced these robots to such a stage where they can be aware of each other and work together. Now if this doesn't seem like an improvement, think about this - years ago, we had robots who could do some very specific stuff - set goals like, washing plates, guarding a perimeter. But they each had their own individual code that made them do it as individuals. The robot has to accomplish what its made to accomplish by itself.

What Honda's done is taken these robots to the next level - so what if its just getting two robots to work together and serve drinks. What we're talking about is not just artificial intelligence, its AI for collaboration.

Think about the military implications, if you could programme one robot in the beginning to just shoot at the enemy, and you had several robots -they'd all be shooting at the enemy, but without tactics or cohesion. It's like eleven individuals playing football.

But if you got the robots working together - tactical algorithms that allow robots to duck in and out of fire, football team tactics so we could have robo-soccer, robot nurses etc. Wow, what a future!

I guess it boils down to something that's been really exclusively a very human mantra - teamwork. That has always been what humans have been able to do that robots could not. That's how we did amazing stuff like build the Pyramids without any amazing technology.

But check out what Honda is saying - robots can have teamwork too. They can soon relate to each other and share information. They can know what other robots are doing and coordinate themselves to assist those other robots.

So, what's going to happen next? I, Robot?

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