Welcome Robotic Overlord: 'Robo Brain' Is Consuming The Internet's Information And Learning
Giving robots knowledge isn't some newfangled ability - it's been around for a good while. Letting a robot learn for itself; well, that's a little more modern. With IBM's Watson, we saw a supercomputer that could scour the Internet to beef up its own knowledge, and the result was undoubtedly impressive. But knowledge is one thing; putting that knowledge to use is another. That's where "Robo Brain" differs from most other robots.
Like IBM's Watson, Robo Brain is a central computer that acts as a massive repository of information, all of which it gathers from the Internet. Individual robots, when stumped by something, would automatically tap Robo Brain's vast knowledge and learn what it needs in order to proceed with something.
Robo Brain noticing a knob on a microwave, and understanding how to use it
Robo Brain stores its information using the Markov model, which operates a bit like, "If A, then B", or "If B, then C and D". In an example given, a robot could identify a chair, and then move up the chain to realize that it's a piece of furniture. In a more complex example, it could spot a coffee mug. Based on what it's learned before, it could identify that it must be picked up by its arm, and never overturned if there's liquid in it. The key here is that Robo Brain knows this by other things it's learned - it wasn't directly programmed to understand these exact mechanics.
Robo Brain is still compiling information as we speak, downloading over 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. On one hand, it's mind-boggling to think of how much information could be gleaned from this; on the other, I can't help but think of how great it'd be to have access to an Internet connection that can handle that kind of abuse.
Exactly when we'll see commercial robots that can take advantage of Robo Brain, we're not sure, but I personally hope it's sooner than later. Loading the dishwasher manually is getting a little old.
You can learn a lot more about Robo Brain at its official website.