Canadian AI company uses humans to mentor robots


The one on the left is the CEO of the company

❝ A secretive Canadian startup called Kindred AI is teaching robots how to perform difficult dexterous tasks at superhuman speeds by pairing them with human “pilots” wearing virtual-reality headsets and holding motion-tracking controllers.

The technology offers a fascinating glimpse of how humans might work in synchronization with machines in the future, and it shows how tapping into human capabilities might amplify the capabilities of automated systems. For all the worry over robots and artificial intelligence eliminating jobs, there are plenty of things that machines still cannot do. The company demonstrated the hardware to MIT Technology Review last week, and says it plans to launch a product aimed at retailers in the coming months. The long-term ambitions are far grander. Kindred hopes that this human-assisted learning will foster a fundamentally new and more powerful kind of artificial intelligence…

❝ Kindred’s system uses several machine-learning algorithms, and tries to predict whether one of these would provide the desired outcome, such as grasping an item. If none seems to offer a high probability of success, it calls for human assistance. Most importantly, the algorithms learn from the actions of a human controller. To achieve this, the company uses a form of reinforcement learning, an approach that involves experimentation and strengthening behavior that leads to a particular goal…One person can also operate several robots at once…

❝ …The technical challenges involved with learning through human tele-operation are not insignificant. Sangbae Kim, an associate professor at MIT who is working on tele-operated humanoid robots, says mapping human control to machine action is incredibly complicated. “The first challenge is tracking human motion by attaching rigid links to the human skin. This is extremely difficult because we are endoskeleton animals,” Kim says. “A bigger challenge is to really understand all the details of decision-making steps in humans, most of which happen subconsciously.”

❝ “Our goal is to deconstruct cognition,” Geordie Rose, cofounder and the CEO of Kindred says. “All living entities follow certain patterns of behavior and action. We’re trying to build machines that have the same kind of principles.”

Sooner or later, all this interesting stuff will come together in some sectors of the world’s economy – and a significant number of humans will be declared redundant. The good news is that pretty much every educated industrial society already has a diminishing population. Independent, self-conscious women with easy access to birth control are taking care of that.

Won’t make the transition period any easier for middle-age not-so-well-educated guys.

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6 thoughts on “Canadian AI company uses humans to mentor robots

  1. HARLIE one says:

    “Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us”, by Rodney Brooks https://www.wired.com/2002/02/flesh-and-machines-how-robots-will-change-us-by-rodney-a-brooks/
    Written by the scientist who runs the AI Lab at MIT, this non-fiction book is both smart and complicated, offering an intriguing view of the future of robotics. Brooks’ basic supposition is that what robotics teach us is that humans are themselves robots, made up of molecular machines, and that the sooner we realize that the better. Seeing ourselves as robots may allow us to design better robots, as well as how to understand them when their minds emerge in ways that are equal to but different from our own.

  2. Will Robinson says:

    “A rogue robot is blamed for a human colleague’s gruesome death” https://qz.com/931304/a-robot-is-blamed-in-death-of-a-maintenance-technician-at-ventra-ionia-main-in-michigan/ “The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly. A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death,” the lawsuit alleges.”
    Footnote: 1979: A 25-year-old Ford Motor assembly line worker is killed on the job in a Flat Rock, Michigan, casting plant. It’s the first recorded human death by robot. Robert Williams’ death came on the 58th anniversary of the premiere of Karel Capek’s play about Rossum’s Universal Robots. R.U.R gave the world the first use of the word robot to describe an artificial person. https://www.wired.com/2010/01/0125robot-kills-worker/

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