Google Hangout: #BOTTalks Recap 2.0

Mar 12, 2015

What is the future of machine intelligence? Has a human-like robot been developed already?

These were among the questions posed when Florida Polytechnic University recently hosted #BOTTalks, the first of three Google+ Hangouts, which featured a panel of technology leaders.

Dr. Kristy Hollingshead, a research scientist from the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, discussed the future of machine and robotics intelligence.

As a follow-up to #BOTTalks, she took the opportunity to answer the following questions that students submitted, but that were not discussed due to time constraints.

What are your opinions on DARPA’s “ATLAS” and “Big Dog” robotics?

The Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) has a big robotics team working with DARPA’s ATLAS at our headquarters site in Pensacola, and has placed in the top two teams during this year’s competitions. I think that with DARPA making ATLAS available to several research sites, a lot of advancement has been made with robotics and human-machine interaction over the past couple of years, and I’m excited to see what will happen this year.

Have you heard about Al, the robot, which is believed to be human?

No, I haven’t, other than “Chappie,” which was discussed during the Google+ Hangout. I think that we are a long way from a robot being able to fully emulate a human, but we have at least reached the point where machine intelligence can differentiate between beliefs and facts.

What makes a thinking and learning robot harmful, yet fascinating?

There is a fair amount of fear that robots will replace humans, but honestly, we are very far from that point. There has been a lot of progress in my own field on machine learning and machine intelligence that can infer new (or probable) facts from stated facts, and one aspect that I continually see in this type of work is the need to keep the “human in the loop.” Humans have more of a vast knowledge and ability than machines, and so while machines may be used to gather data and even suggest solutions, the ultimate decision-making remains in human hands.

If you have additional questions regarding #BOTTalks, you can watch the recorded version on Florida Poly’s YouTube Channel.