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Home » Why Don’t We Have Better Robots Yet? – Ken Goldberg (Transcript) 

Why Don’t We Have Better Robots Yet? – Ken Goldberg (Transcript) 

Here is the full transcript of roboticist Ken Goldberg’s talk titled “Why Don’t We Have Better Robots Yet?” at TED conference.

Listen to the audio version here:

TRANSCRIPT:

The Promise of Home Robots

I have a feeling most people in this room would like to have a robot at home. It’d be nice to be able to do the chores and take care of things. Where are these robots? What’s taking so long? I mean, we have our tricorders, and we have satellites. We have laser beams. But where are the robots? I mean, OK, wait, we do have some robots in our home, but not really doing anything that exciting, OK?

Now I’ve been doing research at UC Berkeley for 30 years with my students on robots, and in the next 10 minutes, I’m going to try to explain the gap between fiction and reality. Now we’ve seen images like this, right? These are real robots. They’re pretty amazing. But those of us who work in the field, well, the reality is more like this. That’s 99 out of 100 times, that’s what happens. And in the field, there’s something that explains this that we call Moravec’s paradox.

Moravec’s Paradox and Robot Clumsiness

And that is, what’s easy for robots, like being able to pick up a large object — large heavy object is hard for humans. But what’s easy for humans, like being able to pick up some blocks and stack them, well, it turns out that is very hard for robots. And this is a persistent problem. So the ability to grasp arbitrary objects is a grand challenge for my field.

Now by the way, I was a very klutzy kid. I would drop things. Any time someone would throw me a ball, I would drop it. I was the last kid to get picked on a basketball team. I’m still pretty klutzy, actually, but I have spent my entire career studying how to make robots less clumsy.

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