An anonymous reader writes: Robbie the Robot was all wrong. Today’s robots, loosely defined as mechanical or virtual “agents” that can perform some autonomous tasks, aren’t ungainly bubble people that issue plangent warnings.
In some cases, such as Boston Dynamics’ terrifying “Big Dogs,” they’re physically able but essentially dumb machines. In other cases, such as the virtual scientist Eureqa,they’re highly able pieces of software that can learn on their own but have almost no physical expression. As Joseph Engelberger, one of the early fathers of robotics, once cheekily said, “I can’t define a robot, but I know one when I see one.”
Despite our best efforts, we haven’t created machines that are both physically able and intelligent. But a look at this array of robots shows that we’ve come far in recent years.