Robots Implore Humans For Help Online

Maybe we're going to see some robot humility. A University of Washington team is working on a way for robots to go online and ask for help when they are puzzled.


(Puzzled UW robot - solving a puzzle)

"We're trying to create a method for a robot to seek help from the whole world when it's puzzled by something," said Rajesh Rao, an associate professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the UW. "This is a way to go beyond just one-on-one interaction between a human and a robot by also learning from other humans around the world."

Learning by imitating a human is a proven approach to teach a robot to perform tasks, but it can take a lot of time. Imagine having to teach a robot how to load the dishwasher -- it might take many repetitious lessons for the robot to learn how to hold different types of cookware and cutlery and how to most efficiently fill the machine. But if the robot could learn a task's basic steps, then ask the online community for additional input, it could collect more data on how to complete this task efficiently and correctly.

"Because our robots use machine-learning techniques, they require a lot of data to build accurate models of the task. The more data they have, the better model they can build. Our solution is to get that data from crowdsourcing," said Maya Cakmak, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

The research team, led by professors Rao and Cakmak, also includes UW computer science and engineering graduate student Michael Jae-Yoon Chung and undergraduate Maxwell Forbes. The team designed a study that taps into the online crowdsourcing community to teach a robot a model-building task. To begin, study participants built a simple model -- a car, tree, turtle and snake, among others -- out of colored Lego blocks. Then, they asked the robot to build a similar object. But based on the few examples provided by the participants, the robot was unable to build complete models.

To gather more input about building the objects, the robots turned to the crowd. They hired people on Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing site, to build similar models of a car, tree, turtle, snake and others. From more than 100 crowd-generated models of each shape, the robot searched for the best models to build based on difficulty to construct, similarity to the original and the online community's ratings of the models. The robot then built the best models of each participant's shape.

As far as I know, the first mention of computers being helped by human object recognition is found in Harry Harrison's 1956 short story The Velvet Glove:

"... whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window. You give it a good look, check the list for the proper category if you're not sure, then press the right button and in she goes."

An hour passed before he had his first identification to make. A robot stopped in mid-dump, ground its gears a moment, and then dropped a dead cat into Carl's hopper... Something heavy had dropped on the cat, reducing the lower part of its body to paper-thinness.

Castings... Cast Iron... Cats... There was the bin number. Nine.

I should also mention Ava learning software from The Calcutta Chromosome, a 1995 novel by Amitav Ghosh. In the story, Ava is an artificial intelligence program that has human help in identifying objects.

Via Science Daily.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

It's Time For Robots With Soft, Sensitive Skin
Sure, solid metal skin robots looked great once - like in science fiction movies of the 1920's.

Microscopic Robots On The March!
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

MOFLIN AI Robot - Yes You Can Have A Tribble
They're really no tribble at all!

Ford Uses Obedient Robot Dogs To Update Facilities Maps
'If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices... [he] could see machinery and construction details in real time from both above and below.' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Beat Covid-19 With AIR By MicroClimate - At Last I Get My PAPR
More than just a bubble.

Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition OLED TV
The Look of Things To Come.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...'

'Alexa For Residential' A Landlord's Dream (Tenant's Nightmare?)
'...unseen mechanical entities... that are in our very midst. One of them following each of us.'

Gather Ye Moonrocks While Ye May
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite.'

InMotion V11 Electric Unicycle Gets Air (Video)
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'

Rid Thyself Of Ads On The Newsbox
'Can't we scramble that commercial?'

A.I. Jesus Proclaims Machine Gospel
'... he crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth; inside he put a dime into the slot and dialed at random.'

Google's Remixed 'Your News Update' ala Heinlein, Clarke, Pohl
'Perhaps we had better use the soundtrack and let it hunt.'

iSphere Plastique Fantastique Face Mask Alternative
'Among these were some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.'

Inkjet-Printed Wearable Solar Cells
Ultra-thin wearable organic photovoltaic material.

NDB Nuclear Waste Battery Lasts A Lifetime
'Trillions of units of power could be compressed thus into an inch-square cube of what looked like blue-white ice.'

Neuralink Will Land A Chip In Your Brain
'What are you talking about? Do you mean a neural lace?'

EPR Is Quick, Temporary Biostasis
'The cold-pack was being sucked out greedily by plastic suction tendrils...'

It's Time For Robots With Soft, Sensitive Skin
Sure, solid metal skin robots looked great once - like in science fiction movies of the 1920's.

An Ocean On Ceres
'We sailed gently forward, hull down to the asteroid's surface... A little sea was now beneath us.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.