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Scientists Are Teaching Robots How to Do Chores

In many films depicting a robot uprising of some sort, there is always a scene where the surviving humans explain the inciting incident that marked the point of no return; that one specific moment where robots finally had enough. We can’t help but think that somewhere in the future, this footage will be used by a human resistance to show us exactly where we went wrong. We’re now making robots do our chores.

It’s almost like the incredible minds behind the ATLAS humanoid robot have never seen Blade Runner, I, Robot or The Terminator! We’ve already taught them to run, drive and climb stairs, and even gave it Mr. Miyagi-level training, and now we’re like “Great job, robots. Your reward is the stuff we don’t want to do.” We’re just going to get ahead of the inevitable uprising here and welcome our new robot overlords. May we get you some RAM?

Kidding aside, these kind of advancements are really exciting. Actions we consider commonplace are insanely difficult to program in a robotic analog. Human beings are incredible machines that learn to do things without having to give specific instruction for each and every delicate movement.

Note in the gif above ATLAS stepping on the release button for the vacuum cleaner. When we need to do something like that, we recognize the release needs to be pressed and our brains automatically put everything into action when we decide to step on it. We don’t have to think about lifting our foot the right distance, directing it to the button, pressing with the right amount of force, and continuing on with the task. Nor do we have to make the intricate calculations to balance on one foot for the right amount of time and then return when the task is done. Where we can just “do something,” there are servers full of calculations making sure ATLAS completes its task.

Looks like we’re well on our way to our very own Rosie the Robots keeping our houses clean and our children cared for all with the right amount of sass. Oh, and also we finally have a machine to do the most tedious of tasks imaginable: throwing paper airplanes.

Take a look at the gallery below for some more gif-y goodness and let us know in the comments below what chore you’d most like completed by a robot.

HT: Gizmodo
Images: DARPA


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