If you eat by yourself, there is a good chance you can’t really be bothered to set the table. However, if you are throwing a fancy dinner party, then learning how to properly set a table is important, especially if there are guests in attendance that you want to impress. The good news is that in the future, you might be able to get a robot to do it.
Thanks to the work of scientists at MIT, they have taught a robot how to set a table. However, teaching a robot how to do tasks isn’t new. This typically involves directly coding the instructions or through trial-and-error, but the scientists at MIT have instead developed a system called Planning with Uncertain Specifications.
With this new system, it allows the robot to “reason” about what it has to do right now as well as what it has to do in the future. The scientists then set a criteria that would allow the robot to satisfy its beliefs. With this system, it would allow in the future robots to be designed to safely handle hazardous materials or perform consistently when in a factory.
It also seems to have a lower rate of mistakes, where by using this system, the scientists found that in their tests, the robot only made six mistakes out of 20,000 attempts at setting the table. The researchers are also hoping in that in the future, the robot can also be given verbal feedback where users can verbally correct it and it will learn what to do and what not to do.