When a person thinks of robotics and AI, they go back to sci-fi films depicting machine life forms, performing things at the same efficiency as normal humans, and sometimes even exhibiting emotions in the same way. However, the current scene of robotics is nothing like what Hollywood has drawn up and imprinted on our minds. Take something as simple as the word ‘robot’ for instance. When one thinks of a ‘robot,’ they think of a machine that is modeled to look like a human, performing cognitive functions. In reality, robots nowadays are tools that have eight arms and a tall cylindrical body, looking nothing close to human beings. The machines that are being called ‘robots’ nowadays are designed to perform specific roles, rather than function as a well functioning automated human.
The field of robotics has, of course, progressed to at least get close to the idea of developing the Hollywood idea of robots, which look and function similar to human beings. They are still far away from achieving perfection, but there have been following results, like the recent Sophia robot that was released in Saudi Arabia. The robot was modeled to look like a human woman and came relatively close to doing so. The robot could perform a set number of speech based conversational actions, which were, of course, limited and dependent on the kind of interaction that the robot was having. It would not be able to respond to dynamic conversations, but rather just a set number of lines that were coded into her.
Even though the task of bringing Sophia to life was a notable feat in the field of robotics, her application was limited and not entirely applicable to improve human life in any way. The machines that currently exist today are mainly built to do one task, and one task alone. For example, a machine that was made to fill juice inside a bottle at a factory will only be able to perform that, and nothing else. Sophia, on the other hand, was able to communicate and look like a human, but would probably not be able to fill juice bottles the way that the factory robots do.
Even though we haven’t yet encountered a robot that can perform exactly like a human being, the idea is not impossible. The kind of robots that people think of when they hear the words are the ones that are based on machine learning and can adapt to their surroundings, just like a human would. The ideal robot would be able to apply its pre-coded data to real-life situations, and would, therefore, be able to help businesses and industries and not to mention usual daily activities. A machine learning robot would be able to reach a high level of cognition, which would then lead them to be a vital assistance to people all over.
Even though robotics is not in the place that people in the sixties would have envisioned, there is still a lot of scope for development, which is the direction that scientists hope to go into in the next thirty to forty years.
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