Life right now might not be the same as what the Jetsons cartoon envisages, but that doesn’t mean robotic technology is lagging too far behind. The PR2 robot is not only smart enough to be able to fetch food from the fridge, but with the little help of a technology known as semantic search, it is even clever enough to bring you a sandwich, never mind the fact that it is not quite sure just where the sandwich is.
Basically, “semantic search” is the ability to make inferences about an object based on what is known about similar objects and the environment around it, to quote our source. In layman’s terms, it is the digital version of “common sense”, but as we all know by know, common sense is relative – and someone once said that “common sense is not so common after all”.
A recent demonstration of the PR2 robot by folks at the University of Tokyo and Technische Universität München decided to test out semantic search by asking a PR2 robot to fetch a sandwich. The PR2 who had no detailed information on sandwiches inferred from its database that sandwiches are a kind of food, and the most obvious place to look for some grub would be restaurants and kitchens.
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