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Researchers Unveil a Universal Robot Hivemind That Learns From the Internet

"OK Google, search 'enslave the humans.'"

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Well, we had a good run, humans, but it’s time for our robotic overlords to ascend to their rightful place of dominance. Researchers from several universities are working on a system for robot learning that allows them to bypass being taught by humans and seek out the knowledge they need on the Internet. They’re calling it “Robo Brain,” but I’m sure Cyberdyne Systems will think of a fancy new name when they buy it.

Traditionally, robots are taught one thing at a time by their human masters, but Robo Brain’s database will allow them to connect and learn whatever they need for a given situation—how to use a specific tool, navigate a new location, laser off human limbs… whatever robot things they need to do. Robo Brain will accomplish that goal by amassing all of the universe’s information like the Infosphere on Futurama, but hopefully with a lot less ending-the-universe and looking-like-a-death-star.

Infosphere

Pictured: Robo Brain (probably).

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Brown University, Cornell University, and Stanford University unveiled the project today, and it’s currently downloading and categorizing about 1 billion images, over 100,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to explanations and manuals. It’s also pulling apart those images, videos, and documents to allow it to identify pictured objects and related information so robots can make queries and learn anything they need to about the world around them.

Robo Brain will be available for free to any robots that want to use it, and all it’ll ask in return is that they share the information they get from using the data to help Robo Brain fine-tune its database. That way, it can avoid any embarrassing The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes situations where the Internet provides incorrect data.

You can even check up on what Robo Brain is learning on its website, where it admits that it’s watching us:

Hey there! I’m a robot brain. I learn concepts by searching the Internet. I can interpret natural language text, images, and videos. I watch humans with my sensors and learn things from interacting with them. Here are a few things I’ve learned recently…

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go edit some Wikipedia articles about lasers to more accurately reflect how useless they are for shooting humans. You hear me, Robo Brain? No need for lasers.

(via Wired and Phys.org, image via Mike Licht)

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