Facebook is experimenting with robots to push its AI research forward

Facebook is certainly a high-tech company, but it is not one that you would necessarily associate with robots. However, as the company revealed today, that's exactly what researchers are looking for: try to see how robotic experiments can improve your work in artificial intelligence.

This is not uncommon for large technology companies. Many companies, including Google, Nvidia and Amazon, use robots as a platform to explore AI research pathways. The control of robots is, in many ways, more complicated than challenges, such as table games and video games. With these latter tasks, researchers have access to simulated game environments, allowing artificial intelligence agents to play and learn at accelerated speeds. There is no shortcut for training robots.

"The best thing about robotics is that it takes place in real time, in the real world," he told Facebook's [Antoine Bordes, director de los laboratorios de investigación de inteligencia artificial de la compañía]. Bloomberg News .


facebook is experimenting with robots to push its ai research forward

Facebook experiments involve the use of a sense of touch to help a robot complete simple tasks.
Image: Facebook

The research is extensive, and Facebook has shared details about a trio of articles. The first is to get a six-legged robot to teach itself to overcome the trial and error, the second is to take advantage of "curiosity" to help robots learn faster, and the third is to use the sense of touch to help a robot achieve the simple tasks such as rolling a ball.

None of these documents is an advance, per se and the subjects that are being investigated are also being addressed elsewhere by universities and laboratories. But it is remarkable, even, that Facebook's artificial intelligence research laboratory (known as FAIR) is carrying out this line of work.

The company's chief artificial intelligence scientist, Yann LeCun, told Bloomberg that FAIR has a duty to "walk the corners" and be prepared for future products and services, including robots. "You have to start early," LeCun said. "It's not just something you can jump on when you recover."

In some aspects, Facebook has already shown that getting acquainted with physical systems can have unexpected benefits. For example, when the company launched its video chat camera on the Portal, it worked with the filmmakers to design the movements of the camera that frame the users for each shot. Despite the widespread privacy concerns surrounding the Portal, the reviewers praised the company for making the call experience surprisingly perfect.

Knowing how to join artificial intelligence and hardware gave Facebook a small advantage with Portal, and could do so again with future products.

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