Elon Musk and OpenAI Announced They’ll Be Creating Robots to Do Household Chores

June 23, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

FANUC Robot Assembly Demo
Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Exactly what we’ve all been waiting for. 

In a new blog post by OpenAI, a project co-launched by Elon Musk that promotes open artificial intelligence research, the company states their goal “is to build safe AI, and ensure AI's benefits are as widely and evenly distributed as possible.”

And now for the good news: the blog post announces that OpenAI robotics firm will be working on developing intelligent robots that will do basic household chores.

“We're working to enable a physical robot (off-the-shelf; not manufactured by OpenAI) to perform basic housework,” Musk and his fellow colleagues write. “There are existing techniques for specific tasks, but we believe that learning algorithms can eventually be made reliable enough to create a general-purpose robot.”

Basically, the researchers plan to use already-made robots and teach them how to do the household chores with new learning algorithms.

The company also announced its plans for creating robots that are capable of performing complex tasks specified by language, and “ask for clarification about the task if it’s ambiguous.”

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There are already promising algorithms for language tasks like machine translation and question answering, according to the blog post, however, more work needs to be done to achieve more advanced linguistic goals, like the ability to carry a conversation, fully understand a document, and follow complex instructions in natural language.

“We expect to develop new learning algorithms and paradigms to tackle these problems,” the researchers write.

The researchers say that the projects all have “shared cores,” so “progress on any is likely to benefit the others.” Perhaps once the researchers tackle the algorithms for complex language tasks, the creation of robots that can help out with household chores will become a reality more quickly.

The overlying goal of OpenAI is to make robot brains as versatile as human ones, and “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return,” the team wrote in their introductory blog post.

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