“Deep Learning”: A Giant Step for Robots

The prospect of robots that can learn for themselves — through artificial intelligence and adaptive learning — has fascinated scientists and movie-goers alike. Films like Short Circuit,  Terminator, Millennial Man, Chappie and Ex Machina flirt with the idea of a machine intelligence beyond the restricted rules of a set program. Pieter Abbeel is on a mission to create architectures to do just that. He is part of a growing cadre of scientists exploring deep machine learning. BRETT folds a towel under the watchful eyes of Pieter Abbeel and Ph.D. candidate Sandy Huang. BRETT uses deep learning to distinguish corners and edges, as well as how wrinkly certain areas are, and matches what it sees to past experience to determine what to do next. Photo: Peg Skorpinski. Robots today can be programmed…

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