CWmike writes to tell us that artificial intelligence and robotics have made another wobbly step forward with the most recent robot from Stanford. "Stair" is one of a new breed of robot that is trying to integrate learning, vision, navigation, manipulation, planning, reasoning, speech, and natural language processing. "It also marks a transition of AI from narrow, carefully defined domains to real-world situations in which systems learn to deal with complex data and adapt to uncertainty. AI has more or less followed the 'hype cycle' popularized by Gartner Inc.: Technologies perk along in the shadows for a few years, then burst on the scene in a blaze of hype. Then they fall into disrepute when they fail to deliver on extravagant promises, until they eventually rise to a level of solid accomplishment and acceptance."