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Fudan Intelligent Robot Learns To Fit In

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the our-little-robot-grows-up dept.

Robotics 66

martinsslaves writes "Shanghais' Fudan University have made some considerable progress in their endeavors in learning robots, with their new 'Fudan Intelligent Robot' looking a whole lot more polished than their previous Fudan-1 model. The goal is for the robot to learn new tasks by following voice commands, which the researchers hope could eventually allow the robot to help the elderly or become a 'good household mate' for families. Among other things, the bot can currently can plot out its own map of its surroundings and remember specific locations and, of course, change TV channels at your command (or even serve as a TV itself)."

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Robot Succeeded where slashoters fail? (4, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291155)

Looks like a robot succeeded where many slashdot readers failed... it fits in.

Lucy Liu bot make me a sandwich everyone else would.

Re:Robot Succeeded where Slashdotters fail? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291353)

Yeah, not all of us have that problem. If you put work into it, it gets better.

Re:Robot Succeeded where Slashdotters fail? (4, Funny)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292699)

It's true, with a little effort, people learn to leave you alone.

Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21299291)

> Lucy Liu bot make me a sandwich everyone else would.

Dammit man, you have to say "sudo make me a sandwich" or it won't work!
Just be sure that your voice is your password, or it won't verify you.

It can't be helped (1, Funny)

Null Perception (914562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291169)

I, for one, welcome our socially accepted robotic overloads

Re:It can't be helped (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295033)

I doubt you'll get to welcome robots responding to vocal commands in the US any time soon with people going f**k and s**t (to use the sanctioned spelling, although I haven't quite figured how "**" is pronounced) all the time, it could be messy.

Re:It can't be helped (1)

chicknfood (1180141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296227)

now now, i don't think world domination is what we should be expecting here. First, robots will have to learn to lubricate on their potty pads. Then comes forcible amputations.

Is it just me? (2, Insightful)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291189)

Or is this "robot" not really very, well, good at anything? The description sounds like only a notch above children's toys today.

Could someone explain what's so story-worthy about this bot?

Re:Is it just me? (3, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291221)

Could someone explain what's so story-worthy about this bot?
It is for the jokes that comes out of it.

learning (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291245)

It can understand spoken commands and reacts accordingly. It builds its own map of its surroundings and can navigate itself on learning. This is a big deal for the disabled or the elderly that need help to do various day to day tasks.

Re:learning (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291669)

It can understand spoken commands and reacts accordingly. It builds its own map of its surroundings and can navigate itself on learning. This is a big deal for the disabled or the elderly that need help to do various day to day tasks.

Environments change, and people who need help often tend to lose the ability to speak clearly.

If someone falls over and knocks things the environment would change fast too.

It's a nice idea, but the abilities spoken off are still effectively lab bound except for toy applications.

Re:learning (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292193)

Obviously, these aren't here to replace all personnel, just to complement.

Environments change, but again, these robots learn, so I supposed that means they can re-learn too. And additionally, environments do not change for long periods of time. Actually they spend their most part of their time doing that. Some elderly lose their ability to speak after a while, especially those with diseases like Alzheimer's, but many do not. As a complement, I think these could be useful if they fulfill their design goals.

Re:learning (1)

dnormant (806535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21294035)

"It can understand spoken commands and" ...

The robot is being developed in China; Does it understand only Chinese? Or does it relate any speech patterns to various commands?

Re:Is it just me? (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291261)

Small advances in programmable AI are usually pretty big steps. Those "children's toys" you're talking about were nothing more than pipe dreams 20 years ago. Anybody who has ever had to calculate an integral of a sum can tell you that little pieces add up to big things.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21293847)

Small advances in programmable AI are usually pretty big steps. Those "children's toys" you're talking about were nothing more than pipe dreams 20 years ago. Anybody who has ever had to calculate an integral of a sum can tell you that little pieces add up to big things.

How many more beads do I have to string on my abacus before it becomes self-aware? Wikipedia has an interesting article about this [wikipedia.org] .

Anyone who understands how computers work (at the subcomponent level; NAND gates and so forth) who posits that someday these binary abacuses will ever "think" or be "self-aware" is a fraud.

-mcgrew

Re:Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21294437)

I could argue the same think about the neurons and synapses in your head. You'd be crazy to think that they could actually be capable of as advanced an activity as thought.

No, but seriously, the question becomes "Just how high a level of autonomy is required of any seemingly-sentient being before they are deemed capable of thought?" As with many things in computer science, it's all about abstraction; just how far outside the box are you sitting? I as a computer scientist may look at Asimo and say, "Boy that's neat, but it's not really thinking." On the other hand, I wonder just how many kids have watched Asimo walk with wonder in their eyes. "Mommy mommy, look at the robot walking around! He's waving at me!" I know that computers are only capable of doing what you program them to do, but several of my friends will swear that their computer hates them, or that their gaming console has it in for them. Were we to plop an Aibo down in front of a group of people in certain remote villages in certain third-world countries, how much would it take to convince them that it was alive?

Arthur C. Clarke suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I'd like to build on that and suggest that any sufficiently advanced AI is indistinguishable from real intelligence. The question is, how "intelligent" should we build them? In the case of a robot to assist the elderly, I'd say that accepting voice commands to perform common tasks is a pretty darn good start.

Re:Is it just me? (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297119)

I could argue the same think about the neurons and synapses in your head.

The neurins and synapses are in a 3d structure, and are electrochemical. Thought is a chemical/electrochemical process or getting drunk would be impossible. Your computer IS an abacus. Your brain, or your dog's for that matter, are not.

As with many things in computer science, it's all about abstraction

I don't argue that thought can't be simulated; I do argue that a flight simulator doesn't leave the ground and a neuclear explosion simulator doesn't leave any radioactivity.

"Mommy mommy, look at the robot walking around! He's waving at me!" I know that computers are only capable of doing what you program them to do, but several of my friends will swear that their computer hates them, or that their gaming console has it in for them

That behavior is called Anthropomorphism [wikipedia.org] , "the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings, inanimate objects, or natural or supernatural phenomena" and is perfectly normal. There must have been some evolutionary advantage to it, as it has existed as long as we have.

Arthur C. Clarke suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I'd like to build on that and suggest that any sufficiently advanced AI is indistinguishable from real intelligence.

I agree, which is why we need to educate people before they go and so something incredibly stupid, like passing "robotic rights" legislation.

They're made out of meat (2, Insightful)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21300287)

I am personally surprised to find someone here on /. with such a different point of view. It is good to see that we are not as monolithic as we might seem.

However, if you agree that AI can become indistinguishable than it follows that you MUST grant them rights since there is no way to proved that any person you ever meet or have ever met is "real" - they could just be really advanced tech in a pretty package that cons you into thinking they are human. If there is no difference you can tell, what is the difference?

And for those few people who might read this and have not read the following short story:

They're made out of meat [terrybisson.com]

is a classic and shorter than many /. posts.

Re:They're made out of meat (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21301457)

That was great, thank you for that!

They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"


The difference is that WE made the computers, and therefore WE know how they work. If you know how a computer works, you know it can't think.

Now, if you put me in a commercial flight simulator you could probably convince me that you'd flown me to Afghanistan, or even the moon if you could do something about that gravity thing. But a computer is only an abacus with two beads per wire, billions of wires, and mechanisms (nand gates, nor gates, shift circuits and the like) to manipulate the beads.

I would agree that, when robotics is advanced enough that you can't tell a humanoid robot from a human, you should grant it human rights until it is proven to be a robot. I'd hate to be confused with a robot!

Nothing to see here (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21293755)

The description sounds like only a notch above children's toys today.

I wish someone would define "intelligent" here, because this thing doesn't fit the dictionary definition [reference.com] ... oh wait, here it is: "4. Computers. pertaining to the ability to do data processing locally; smart: An intelligent terminal can edit input before transmission to a host computer."

I always heard them referred to "smart" terminals and "dumb" terminals, but whatever. Fram TFA (which differred remarkably from the slashdot summary) this thing can't even take, let alone pass, a turing test. One of these days I'll have to get Artificial Insanity back online; that program was good enough at passing the Turing Test it caused eqiopment failure in a friend's computer once - its attitude pissed him off so much he broke his keyboard. And that program was written in 1983 and originally ran on a 20k 1mz Timex.

Let's see your turing machine do that!

But indeed, this stupid toy is "intelligent" only in the sense that it isn't a dumb terminal. Can't say the same about the slashdot summary.

-mcgrew

PS- the download link is bad; I had Art stored at rusies.us, a site I registered for my ska-loving daughter, bt let it lapse. But the text [mcgrew.info] is still there, an argument against "artificial intelligence". It is as offtopic as the fucking summary...

Remote Remote (5, Funny)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291235)

Among other things, the bot can currently can plot out its own map of its surroundings and remember specific locations and, of course, change TV channels at your command (or, as you can see above, even serve as a TV itself)."

So they finally invented the remote control for the remote control?

Re:Remote Remote (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291267)

Yes, now you can change the living room TV from the kitchen.

Re:Remote Remote (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21293889)

But can it fetch a beer? No? Then what damned good is it!!!!

old joke: "I never curse, don't drink, and always treat woman with respect. Now get me a fucking beer, bitch!"

-mcgrew

Re:Remote Remote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21291279)

Now we just need a finger longer to turn the robot on!

Re:Remote Remote (1)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291649)

so one day, TV might actually kill us. hmm.... I guess its bittorrent from now on for me.

Re:Remote Remote (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21293945)

so one day, TV might actually kill us

You have to die from something. Although my preference is to be shot by a jealous lover, on the upstroke, at the age of 120.

-mcgrew

Re:Remote Remote (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21302147)

So they finally invented the remote control for the remote control?
I always thought that is what a wife was for?

Polished? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21291265)

My ultimate weapon is the China cannon attached to my groin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xianxingzhe#Parody [wikipedia.org]

Bah, prior art, stolen from Desperado. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21291611)

Robert Rodriguez first had a codpiece gun as part of the Desperado's guitar case arsenal. It later made it's way into "From Dusk To Dawn".

Spreading to other industries (1)

kryten250 (1177211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291277)

How long until this hits the 'adult' market?

Re:Spreading to other industries (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291637)

If you check out TFA you'll see that it looks like an old Nintendo Robbie with a computer stuck in it's chest. So to answer your question, you don't need to wait for a special adult version of these, you can hump your own computer for free.

Did someone say.. (1)

taybay (935207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291317)

A robot maid with a TV screen.. did someone say FLCL?

Yeah but (5, Funny)

dibblda (882455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291341)

It's probably made of lead paint and GHB....

Re:Yeah but (1)

yoshi3 (1118623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291605)

1,4-butanediol

Finally, a use for dyslexia (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21300037)

GHB *is* GBH!

clean the house (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291527)

I really think it's a good idea to develop Terminator-style robots that can punch through a brick wall or morph into different shapes, and then program them to vacuum the carpet.

Obligatory... (0, Redundant)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291641)

I, Fudan, welcome our new intelligent robot overlords.

cat threat (3, Funny)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291739)

The goal is for the robot to learn new tasks by following voice commands, which the researchers hope could eventually allow the robot to help the elderly or become a "good household mate" for families. Among other things, the bot can currently can plot out its own map of its surroundings and remember specific locations and, of course, change TV channels at your command (or, as you can see above, even serve as a TV itself).
There are a lot of cats out there right now licking themselves acting aloof, pretending like they don't care, but really thinking, "there's no goddamn way I can compete with this thing."

Re:cat threat (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291843)

I'm not sure about that, as a saying goes... "curiosity kills a cat"

Now from normal household experience with cats + what I had viewed in those funniest videos show. They should make that robot catproof, only a cat would have the curiosity enough to try to tackle this thing while moving and let it be dragged on the carpet while clutching the robots legs..

Oh my, better get those camcorders ready.. Well, I was just reminded by how much I laughed once because of our cat..

Re:cat threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295175)

Curiosity was framed. Ignorance killed the cat.

Re:cat threat (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292051)

Mean while the dogs are thinking, "Heh, no way will that mobile fire hydrant will ever be able to lick peanut butter.".

The Perils of Voice Recognition... (5, Funny)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291781)

Verbal input to robot:
"Put my java beans in grinder. Percolate water and coffee. Pour in the mug. Place the mug on my desk."

Robot output
"Put my human spleen in grinder. Exsanguinate daughter slowly. Pour in the blood. Place the blood on my chest"


... and this, my friends, is why I might wait for version 3.0.

Re:The Perils of Voice Recognition... (4, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291851)

Maybe it runs Vista, it will ask "are you sure" about 50 times.

Re:The Perils of Voice Recognition... (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292529)

Just imagine what would happen if you told it to "Beat Up Martin".

Re:The Perils of Voice Recognition... (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309959)

Wait a second, was that an obscure Newton reference? :D

Re:The Perils of Voice Recognition... (1)

Teh_Chris (969028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295385)

You laugh, but the voice recognition is probably one of the biggest pains that the designers had to deal with. Everything else is just creative programming.

Of course, I can't say this for sure, since the article never goes into that, does it?

It may be intelligent, but... (4, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291875)

Can it see why kids love cinnamon toast crunch?

Plagiarism (2, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21291893)

I think it's obvious where they got the idea for the design of the robot. Just compare the two images, similarities are obvious:

http://file.shanghaidaily.com/News/Image//2007/2007-11/2007-11-08/20071108_337360_01.jpg [shanghaidaily.com]

http://hubpages.com/u/49849_f260.jpg [hubpages.com]

How it got the name Fudan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21293885)

We all know FUBAR pretty well... is FuDan an abbreviation for the robot named Dan?

Sure I welcome our robot overlords but (1)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292035)

... does it run linux?

Imagine a wireless beowulf cluster of robotic maids with tv screens built into their ass !!

mo3 up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21292123)

practical purposes result of a quuarel

Boob tube. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21292549)

"Among other things, the bot can currently can plot out its own map of its surroundings and remember specific locations and, of course, change TV channels at your command (or, as you can see above, even serve as a TV itself)."

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Mike the TV!*

*Two points if you get the reference.

SHODAN (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292675)

The next version, SHODAN, will no longer be restricted to understanding voice commands, but will give and enforce it's own commands.

more technical information? (1)

to6o (838477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21292883)

A nice article, really, but it is meant for too broad an audience... I mean a lot of research teams claim to be going for those goals, but where's the proof? If anyone has more specific info on what these guys did, pls share

WOOT. fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21292899)

is i8gesting So That their

Help for grandpa (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21293483)

could eventually allow the robot to help the elderly or become a "good household mate" for families

A machine that takes shit from people. Cool.

Funny (3, Insightful)

jagdish (981925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21294091)

9 Comments moderated to +5, and all of them moderated Funny. Will someone post an insightful comment already?

Re:Funny (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21298479)

I would have modded the first post as insightful if I had mod points today (of course, then I'd have wasted the point telling you about it, oh well).

Re:Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306409)

You could've posted anonymously.

Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to be With... (1)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21294361)

And so with voice technology and a new personality to "fit in" with humans, we can look forward to having the following conversation:

"I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed," it said. Its voice was low and hopeless.

"Oh God," muttered Zaphod and slumped into a seat.

"Well," said Trillian in a bright compassionate tone, "here's something to occupy you and keep your mind off things."

"It won't work," droned Marvin, "I have an exceptionally large mind."

Shamelessly taken from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.

Oh Sure! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295231)

But what will you do when it learns to kick back on the couch and watch reality TV shows all day? Will your telling it to change the channel make it angry? Angry enough to KILL?!

Here's a idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296069)

Why not make it learn to make waffles instead of learning to fit in? I think it would certainly fit in with people if it could make people waffles. And it would be a product IHOP would invest in.

Re:Here's a idea...people waffles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21301241)

Wouldn't turning your customers, people, into people waffles hurt your return business... unless it was a robot IHOP after that serving light crude and synthetic....

not advanced at all...just for attracting funding (1)

xristo70 (1184699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296481)

The current state of development of this robot doesn't sound advanced at all, compared to other ongoing research with "intelligent" robots. They won't be to worried about that, no doubt there will not be a lack of big industry/government funding in China for such a project. In fact I suspect that is probably its only purpose, a nice cash-cow. Looks a bit like a toy robot......but beware, remember the toy robot in "Kentucky Fried Movie"!!!

How long will it be before it becomes a zombie... (1)

my_left_nut (1161359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21302249)

and starts spamming us all? It is China we're talking about here, after all.
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