It might be trivial to some, but robots learning recipes from WikiHow is an excellent advancement that will bring artificial intelligence (AI) closer to becoming a future commodity in our home. And, let’s face it, some humans have difficulty cooking even with the recipes right in front of them.
Advancement in robotics have seen to the intelligent machines successfully navigating around rooms, performing small tasks and carefully mimicking a few human functions. However, the problem still stands on how one could program them to learn new things every day and not stick to the duller and outdated algorithm that will likely become useless at some point. Or at least require an upgrade to a newer model.
The RoboHow project, designed by European researchers from ten different high-standing and well renown universities all across Europe, is aiming to find a way and a proper source for our robotic helpers to gain access to internet database and learn two main functions for now, cleaning and cooking.
Humans often take the ability to associate information as a given, and it should be. It’s natural and effortless after a certain age, but what is trivial for us, is actually quite challenging for robots. The PR2 model has shown excellent abilities in doing just that, taking information from the internet and carefully processing it before cooking.
Since 2012, researchers have managed to introduce the cognition-enabled robot to instructions from video tutorials or recipes taken from the internet, and performing a live demonstration at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Germany. The PR2 served as an excellent assistant by bringing tools or ingredients to another RoboHow creation, Boxy.
The second robot then successfully made a pizza from scratch, including manipulating the dough and adding various ingredients. The PR2 is also in training to learn how to make pancakes, a menial task for us, but quite an intricate process for a robot. And a potentially useful one too. A world can already be imagined when you wake up and pancakes are already ready and warm without anyone getting up from the bed.
The PR2 is currently being programmed to gather knowledge, use it and then even forward it to other robots through a network called OpenEase. It will allow all others around it to share in the information, be it recipes or how to clean a certain room, without needing to go through the actual reading themselves.
The ultimate goal of the team is to design robots who will be able to cleverly absorb information, react with their environment, obey instructions and enabled for communication. The barrier of programming them to shift language into algorithms might just be one of the final marks touched upon before bringing them as close to humans as possible.
First taking over the kitchen, and then the entire world. As long as they don’t burn the pancakes and make the bacon just as crispy as we like it, we might not even notice.
Image source: humanoides.fr