Technology Robots teach themselves in 8 hours

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Zero to Expert in Eight Hours: These Robots Can Learn For Themselves

A yellow robotic arm pauses over a pile of metal cylinders, snaps a photo, then proceeds to confidently pick pieces out of the jumble. What’s impressive is that just eight hours ago, its bin-picking skills were about zero.

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A Fanuc industrial robot lifts a vehicle during a demonstration at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Fanuc Corp. is showing off the first results of its partnership with artificial intelligence startup Preferred Networks Inc. at Tokyo’s International Robot Exhibition this week. The world’s largest maker of automation equipment is using so-called “deep learning” to enable machines that can acquire skills independently.

Left overnight, a robot empowered by the algorithms can use trial and error to figure out how to pick up randomly positioned objects with 90 percent accuracy. Eight machines working simultaneously and sharing their lessons can do that in an hour. A veteran Fanuc engineer would need several days to write a teaching program that even approaches that performance.


“Deep learning allows machines to take vast amounts of data and distill useful rules and lessons all by themselves,” Preferred Networks Chief Executive Officer Toru Nishikawa said at the expo. “For a robot, that means understanding not only why one movement was successful and another one not, but also how to improve its performance.”

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Yikes....now they can learn on their own!
 
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