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Thoughts on the Grace Hopper Keynote: The Quest for Autonomous Intelligent Robots

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Thoughts on the Grace Hopper Keynote: The Quest for Autonomous Intelligent Robots

A summary of the Grace Hopper Keynote, and how Manuela Veloso has created "CoBot" robots that function thanks to AI, machine learning, and human interaction.

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Although I wasn’t able to attend The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing this year, thankfully I had the ability to livestream a few of the keynotes. To be honest, I didn’t think a technical keynote titled “The Quest for Autonomous Intelligent Robots” would ever be of interest to me, but I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did.

This amazing woman in tech, Manuela M. Veloso, is a Herbert A. Simon University Professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Just so you know, if you ever plan to visit Manuela, she will not give you directions to find her office. She’ll have one of her CoBot robots meet you at the elevator and escort you. No big deal.


Manuela Veloso. Source: Anita Borg Institute

Manuela and her team research artificial intelligence and robotics in the quest for autonomous intelligent robots. Fast-sampling, plane-filtering algorithms enable CoBot robots to successfully move throughout their office space without dependence on remote control direction.

Although the CoBots appear to navigate throughout the office on their own accord, they actually rely on the help of humans and the internet to successfully complete any given task. For example, CoBots cannot push elevator buttons, so if they need to travel to a different floor, they will ask a human to press the button and hold the elevator for them. If the human does not comply, or if there is no human available, the CoBot will (drumroll, please) email Manuela and her team and ask for help.


Emails from CoBots Requiring Help. Source: Anita Borg Institute

CoBot robots store all the raw data they process from humans and the web and use it to make better decisions when they need to complete a task. This is referred to as human-centered planning. Based on previous experiences, the CoBot can choose to take a route that has higher potential for more human helpers over a more efficient route that may not offer any human help.

clip_image006_thumb[1]Human-Centered Planning. Source: Anita Borg Institute

Manuela stressed that it is important to understand, in terms of autonomy, that no single machine can do it all by itself. They rely on cyber, physical, and social systems to operate. Therefore, we should be developing systems that are cyber, physical, and social in nature so we can reach levels that have never been reached. We should be thinking about automation, sensors, and sensors talking to each other as this technology will make a difference in our lives!


CoBots. Source: Anita Borg Institute

Check out Manuela’s website to learn more about her research and accomplishments in the field of robotics. I think Syncfusion guest blogger Akram Hussain was right: 2015 is most definitely the year of deep learning. If you’d like to learn more about related topics, visit the Syncfusion Tech Portal and check out Neural Networks Succinctly and Machine Learning Succinctly. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and join us as we continue the celebration of Women in Tech!

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machine learning ,robotics

Published at DZone with permission of Jennifer Wright. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.


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