Tag Archives: robots

Extraordinary farmers

At the beginning of October this year, start-up Iron Ox created a fully autonomous farm in San Carlos, California. The company wants to improve today’s farming using AI and heavy machinery.

Transplanter

Source: businessinsider.com

Has Iron Ox found an answer to constantly growing population needing more and more food as well as labor and crops shortages? They created two robots and an 8000 square feet (around 743 square meter) greenhouse to care about all produce. It’s impressive, isn’t it?

One of the robots is roughly as big as a car. It is responsible for moving and lifting trays of plants around the building and transporting them to the processing area. There, the second robot takes care of seeding, transplanting and all of different tasks concerning usage of knowledge, not mechanical ones. It uses AI and machine learning.  It can see in 3D, it recognizes diseases, pests, sizes, types of leaves etc. They both are controlled by cloud-bases AI software called “The brain” that tells them exactly what to do according to the situation given.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania iron ox robot

Source: qz.com

What else is extraordinary about this project? Firstly, plants are smartly packed. They are sorted according to their age, water, light and other natural requirements. Nothing goes to waste during the whole operation. Company claims that this farm is able to “grow 30 times more plants than traditional farms”. Secondly, everything is done in sterile environment. And finally, robots can work 24 hours a day, with no break, no food, no exhaustion. They are always efficient and ready to be used. They have no bad days or diseases. They don’t have emotions, which can affect their involvement in work. They don’t cheat, steal or slob around. They are highly dependable, easy to control and predictable. We can’t say the same about the people.

Podobny obraz

Source: theverge.com

The aim of the company is to establish farms near big cities, so people could eat fresher products. At the same time, they want to save natural resources like water, soil, solar energy etc. The co-founder and CEO of Iron Ox, Brandon Alexander claims that after working for many engineering companies (including Google’s research lab X and influential robotics incubator Willow Garage) he decided that he wants to do something that has direct impact on people’s lives.  Alexander’s interest in farming came partly from his background. His granddad worked as a farmer and complained that he “couldn’t get enough help”.

Iron Ox plants are “very manual products”, but everything seems to be on the right track to develop this idea, open new greenhouses, build new robots and speed up the process. Company plans to open a few new farms next year and sell its produces among entire California. Their first targets are restaurants.

Source: techcrunch.com

Even Brandon agrees that robots will not be able to do everything without humans. According to willrobotstakemyjob.com only 5% of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers will be switched with robots. The site’s verdict is that automation risk level is “totally safe”. What do you think? Do you agree with this site or your views are closer to Brandon Alexander who places hopes on Iron Ox? Should Brandon go hard or go home in your opinion?

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/08/robot-farm-iron-ox-california

https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/9/17950502/robot-farm-future-iron-ox-agriculture-automation

https://willrobotstakemyjob.com

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South Korea is building Terminators

A few days ago the information was spread saying that KAIST is working on advanced war robots equipped with artificial intelligence. KAIST stands for “Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology”, a university and also a research institute that is responsible for many innovations in the field of robotics.

In order to create a war robots (allegedly), the university established cooperation with Hanwha Systems. The purpose of both brands is to create autonomous robots that will be able to kill the designated targets. As we can read on the corporate website: „As a defense electronics company, Hanwha Systems has significantly advanced the defense capabilities of South Korea’s military since the company was founded in 1978”. Hanwha Systems, with whom KAIST cooperates, is the largest arms producer in Korea and the main supplier of equipment for the South Korean military. It is also worth mentioning that the company is responsible for creating cluster bombs, which are prohibited in over 120 countries.

Boston Dynamic’s Atlas robot

Toby Walsh, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, is the initiator of a boycott against both Hanwha Systems and the Korean university. Other scientists who worked mainly on artificial intelligence also joined the initiative. There are about 30 of them in total and they announced that they will not cooperate with KAIST so long as this one does not stop researching a new weapon. The president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – Sung-Chul Shin said, “I reaffirm once again that KAIST will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control”. It is worth mentioning that not only the Korean university is conducting research on advanced robots that could be used for military purposes. The most known company working on advanced robots is Boston Dynamics, which used to belong to Google (Alphabet).

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/05/south-korean-university-may-be-developing-killer-robots/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KAIST

https://www.hanwha.com/en/about_hanwha/history.html

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Social Robots – Challenges and Potential

The term Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to (re)creating natural intelligence (human and animal) based on machine learning in computer science area. The goals of AI are for machines and/or computers to replicate/mimic human reflection and reaction. Among others, the focus on AI developing capabilities are the following: (1) problem solving: identifying the action needed to archive and solve at best a specific goal given (2) Reasoning: identifying and acknowledge diverse events, knowledge, relations and other in order to decide on the best solution and analyze its consequences (3) Planning: identifying step by step tasks needed to archive a specific project/goal within sets of time (4) Perception: capable to interpret surroundings (such as voice, face and object) thanks to sensors such as camera, tactile sensors and microphone (5) Motion and manipulation: distinguish his localization, navigate in it environment, manipulate objects, use physical motions and gestures (6) Learning (automatic, semi-supervised and supervised): learn complex relations between its actions and its results for specific improvements on it performance needed such as able to move more effectively. (7) Natural language processing: ability to understand human basic language in specific language and able to communicate/engage in conversation (8) social intelligence: To do these sort of tasks, AI machine must have required human intelligence, therefore these machines must require as well; the ability to fit within our social norms and express and/or perceive emotions

This last capability is much more important for social robots; seen already utilized in warehouses and factory, Robots are now slowly but surely entering our homes and private public places sectors which increase the value of it machines by gradually shaping our new daily life style by being more and more accessible and available seen these past few years.

 

Lea – The robot assistance for elderly person by The Robot Care:

Being on the market since last year, Lea was built for the purpose of helping elder person to walk or sit thanks to it very though full design, connect with family and friends thanks to an integrated screen and it video communication system, ensuring the safety of it owner thanks to sensors while being able to assist in physical activities, helping to motivate elder people to move and be more active.

Savioke Relay – The service robot in hospitality industry by Savioke

Provide personnel customer service especially in hotels but also in workplaces (used in about 17 localization using it device, counting major hotel brands such as Sheraton, The Westin, Marriott and others), primarily used as transport small items from one person to another.

Buddy – The home companion and assistant robot by Blue Frog Robotics

Built with a screen to represent the “face” and “head” and moving on wheels, Buddy is a “companion” robot that offer assistance (ex:controlling smart home appliances), entrainment at home (play with kids) and interfaces but more importantly, Buddy is here to make your home more secure as he can be used as a movable camera and can detect anything going on in your own home when you are not there and send you a signal when there is something fishy going on when you are out.

In the past as well as today, the issues for robots to be placed in our home sphere and being able to communicate with, lies less on the lack of it technology development but more on boundaries, ethical and moral issues and the complexity of our social norms in human society. These issues turned to create further complex questions if social robots would be accepted into human’s daily life style. Developers have tried to focus on according these concerns by creating “acceptable” robots as this technology brings a lot of concerns. Andrea Thomaz, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university of Texas at Austin, explain this situation briefly in her TEDtalks speech: “The Next Frontier in Robotics: Social, Collaborative Robots” where also explain the importance of assembling few different capabilities into the social robots that we have cited and describe at the beginning of the article.

For robots to become a further developed social companion however, it is much more complex as it could seem. For that, robots should not only recognize behavioral pattern, but also be able to communicate and act as we human-to-human. They should be able to detect therefore, human emotions, sarcasm and motives to react on them as we are living within a constant dynamic environment. Thanks to that, the two-way flow actions between robot-to-human goal achievement would be much more easy and possible but the development of this specific capability us much more complex to attain. However, the recent availability of robots for home as companion, with Buddy (available to pre-order since mid 2016) or Jibo (available to purchase since end of 2017) have risen hopes for possible further development in such a robot to acquire their maximum potential to soon really become the reason our life changing daily routines.

 

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1ZhWv84eWE

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/top-10-ethical-issues-in-artificial-intelligence/

https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/artificial-intelligence-based-techniques-problem-solving-2109

http://groups.csail.mit.edu/medg/ftp/psz/k-rep.html

http://artint.info/html/ArtInt_8.html

https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/reinforcement-learning-explained

https://www.thocp.net/reference/robotics/robotics.html

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s12369-011-0121-z.pdf

https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/06/social-robots.pdf

 

http://www.traveldailymedia.com/433601/hotel-jens-new-service-staff-tireless-obedient-just-little-bit-different/

http://www.ece.utexas.edu/people/faculty/andrea-thomaz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1ZhWv84eWE

https://books.google.pl/books?id=FD4rDwAAQBAJ&pg=PR16&lpg=PR16&dq=social+robots+requirements&source=bl&ots=bJfN8k-IOt&sig=A9gtIS7t-Zx5s1aZHkqXp42jPVw&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj16pfoveHYAhWLjCwKHb6pAM4Q6AEIdjAJ#v=onepage&q=social%20robots%20requirements&f=false

 

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