Exclusive Interview: Why Facebook Is Training Robots To Think
On the rooftop of the building that houses the Facebook AI Research (FAIR) lab in Mountain View, California, there is a bootcamp for robots where the sun beams down on Daisy, a hexapod who is learning how to walk on a dirt jogging path. Her foot has become stuck in mulch as she struggles to wrestle free. A team of Facebook AI researchers eagerly look on, watching to see what she will do next as she moves forward with the curiosity and experimentation of a toddler. One flight down, Daisy’s counterpart Pluto, a red arm robot, is learning how to reach for an object in its playpen. Toys are strewn everywhere.
Facebook is leading an effort to teach robots how to think for themselves and develop human-like intuition that will enable them to navigate unknown circumstances. The approach is called embodied AI, which means giving software a physical body to explore, and is a more flexible way of learning than with pre-programmed AI which is limited by deterministic algorithms and canned data sets.
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