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[DPRG] Robots in te news

Subject: [DPRG] Robots in te news
From: Mike McCarty jmccarty at ssd.usa.alcatel.com
Date: Fri Nov 2 15:59:59 CST 2001

On Fri, 2 Nov 2001, Chuck McManis wrote:

> At 01:31 PM 11/2/01, Mike McCarty wrote:
> >Since no one knows how people think, I believe you have set yourself an
> >unachievable goal.
> 
> That would be true only if you also believe that no one will _ever_ know 
> how people think.

Untrue. I do think that *he* will never know how humans think, and that
he has set *himself* an unachievable goal.

Read what I wrote more carefully.

> It is essential that every roboticist have an "unachievable" goal to 
> prevent them from achieving early success and losing interest. Given such a 

Where did I say he shouldn't set himself unachievable goals? Or are you
just stating this on general principles?

> goal it becomes useful to break off "sub goals" that are more achievable. 
> For example, build a platform that can balance on two feet. Or build a 
> platform that can get from point A to point B and back again reliably.
> 
> My goal, established over 15 years ago was to build a robot that would, on 
> voice command, come out from its recharging station, fetch me a cold Diet 
> Dr. Pepper (replenishing the supply in the refrigerator if necessary), 
> return to me with the beverage, wait for me to take it, and then return to 
> its recharging hutch.

I'd settle just for one that could reliably translate one language into
another. I frankly fail to understand the monomaniacal focus on motion
present in most in this group. I don't care whether any of the stuff I
create ever moves even one inch. Voice recognition and natural language
parsing is such an important goal in itself, that if we could do *that*
it wouldn't matter whether we ever had even *one* robot which could
obey any commands it understood. One in three employees of the European
Union is a translator. Getting rid of the need to translate between
languages, and the confusion caused by incorrect or vague translations
means so much more to the human race that motion is meaningless by
comparison.

But be it very far from me to tell people what they should be
interested in. There are people who are morticians and enjoy their
jobs. I don't want to be one, but I'm glad there are people who do.

[snip]

> So the goal of building a thinking humanoid robot is a good one, it is 
> currently difficult to do although there are working examples of the 
> mechanics being possible. Given the rate of increase in mips/pound I think 
> the software will be doable in 10 to 15 years as well.

Which of course has nothing to do with the way humans think, the
original topic.

Mike
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