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Robotics Technology - Artificial Intelligence

The term "artificial intelligence" is defined as systems that combine sophisticated hardware and software with elaborate databases and knowledge-based processing models to demonstrate characteristics of effective human decision making. The criteria for artificial systems include the following: 1) functional: the system must be capable of performing the function for which it has been designed; 2) able to manufacture: the system must be capable of being manufactured by existing manufacturing processes; 3) designable: the design of the system must be imaginable by designers working in their cultural context; and 4) marketable: the system must be perceived to serve some purpose well enough, when compared to competing approaches, to warrant its design and manufacture. 

Robotics is one field within artificial intelligence. It involves mechanical, usually computer-controlled, devices to perform tasks that require extreme precision or tedious or hazardous work by people. Traditional Robotics uses Artificial Intelligence planning techniques to program robot behaviors and works toward robots as technical devices that have to be developed and controlled by a human engineer. The Autonomous Robotics approach suggests that robots could develop and control themselves autonomously. These robots are able to adapt to both uncertain and incomplete information in constantly changing environments. This is possible by imitating the learning process of a single natural organism or through Evolutionary Robotics, which is to apply selective reproduction on populations of robots. It lets a simulated evolution process develop adaptive robots. 

The artificial intelligence concept of the "expert system" is highly developed. This describes robot programmers ability to anticipate situations and provide the robot with a set of "if-then" rules. For example, if encountering a stairwell, stop and retreat. The more sophisticated concept is to give the robot the ability to "learn" from experience. A neural network brain equipped onto a robot will allow the robot to sample its world at random. Basically, the robot would be given some life-style goals, and, as it experimented, the actions resulting in success would be reinforced in the brain. This results in the robot devising its own rules. This is appealing to researchers and the community as it parallels human learning in lots of ways. 

Artificial intelligence dramatically reduces or eliminates the risk to humans in many applications. Powerful artificial intelligence software helps to fully develop the high-precision machine capabilities of robots, often freeing them from direct human control and vastly improving their productivity. When a robot interacts with a richly populated and variable world, it uses it senses to gather data and then compare the sensate inputs with expectations that are imbedded in its world model. Therefore the effectiveness of the robot is limited by the accuracy to which its programming models the real world.



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