OpenAI is using robots designed by Fetch Robotics to develop software that could make completing domestic chores a breeze.
The robots are being re-programmed by Elon Musk’s AI research company to learn tasks using the basic principles of trial and error, meaning the ‘bots could teach themselves how to clean your house exactly the way you like it.
Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the robots will learn by doing things using mobile technologies, 3-D depth sensors, a 2-D laser scanner, and a robotic arm with seven degrees of freedom. The tasks are learned from scratch, with robots given the freedom to roam around a house and decide what needs doing.
The aim of the project is “to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return […and to become] a leading research institution which can prioritize a good outcome for all over its own self-interest,” OpenAI explained.
Pieter Abbeel, a professor of the University of California’s Berkeley campus has been drafted in to help the robots come to life. He has previously demonstrated how robots can use ‘deep reinforcement learning’ to acquire new skills that would normally require a human brain to do, such as folding towels, fetching items from a fridge or other tasks that could not previously be done using automation.
Using robots that have been produced by another company rather than those developed by OpenAI will reduce the cost of creating the robots and making them commercially available.
“If this goal can be achieved, then there will be economic and industrial benefits,” says Marc Deisenroth, an expert on reinforcement learning at Imperial College London told Technology Review. “Imagine a Roomba not only cleaning your floor but also doing the dishes, ironing the shirts, cleaning the windows, preparing breakfast.”