Next Big Thing

Quantum Learning Robots Nov 10, 2014

Noosphere Ventures was excited to read a report in the Futurist that outlines some exciting new trends in the development of quantum computing and robot technology.

We have been looking forward for years to the time when our robot helpers can make us a morning coffee or drive us to work. While these complex tasks still remain out of reach of current technology, one company, Brain Corporation, has announced some amazing advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Brain Corporation has developed a robot that they have named Baxter that is small, flexible and able to quickly learn tasks from a human teacher through physical repetition, not back room program. This allows these eager, low-cost learners to quickly integrate into many more work situations that its predecessors.

How do they achieve this? Through the application of quantum computing. The theory of quantum computing is decades old, but the technology to deliver practical solutions based on the technology is relatively new. The reason they are so much more efficient at learning is that they work very similar to the way our brains do.

Our brains work like a system of trillions of tiny processors that not only make tiny little decisions, but every time they are referenced, they can create new connections and pathways. As a result, you can never have the same exact experience twice, because each time, your brain changes and it effects the way you process the data for the next time.

Traditionally, AI has been built to run on processors that take in data as a 0 or 1 and then respond with the appropriate 0 or 1. This is a great system to control the process of processing, because you can always calculate what will come out the other end, the only question is about how fast you can repeat the process. In the case of Watson, IBM’s room-sized computer that first bested a human on Jeopardy, it was able to do this very quickly.

By contrast, quantum computing is able to take in any number between 0 and 1 and make a calculation that could be any other number between 0 and 1. Because there is an infinite number of numbers between 0 and 1, it means that the hardware itself can adapt to the input in an infinite number of ways and create unpredictable outcomes, just like the human brain.

This ability to respond and adapt to input is analogous to the process of learning, which is why many believe that quantum computing holds the key to AI.

In response to robots like Baxter, that are set to hit factory floors by the end of 2014, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has started to construct a set of standards for producers and clients to follow in developing and deploying AI robots that will work in close proximity to humans.

Current robots are more powerful, quicker, and harder than their fleshy coworkers. Accidents can happen and ISO wants to make sure that everyone is able to remain safe as they adjust to working together. Standards that would limit robots speed, physical force or reduce operational characeristics when humans are present are all being discussed.

The potential that robots have is exciting, and Noosphere Ventures is staying on top of the latest trends that are coming out of this cutting edge industry. Check back to our blog regularly so that we can keep you up to date on this and other exciting trends in quantum computing and robot technology.