How to Stop the Terminator:  Push Him Over

A useful reality check on how primitive today’s robots are. According to Popular Science’s Erik Sofge, the massive DARPA Robotics Challenge last month was a bust:

 the robot that racked up the most points, in the least amount of time, took nearly 45 minutes to complete a series of eight tasks that my kindergarten-age daughter could probably accomplish in 10 minutes.

And unlike toddlers, they couldn’t handle a spill:

Nearly every team whose machine tumbled simply ate the 10 minute time penalty. Some did so multiple times, implying a scenario where responders bring an entire squad of identical, blundering bots to a disaster, knowing full well that they’re liable to faceplant while facing such harrowing obstacles as a door handle, or a handful of stairs….

When robots hit the ground at the DRC, which was constantly, they didn’t get up. They either lay there like corpses, or continued whatever movement they were engaged in before the seemingly inevitable loss of balance. 

In other words, today the best way to stop a robot from taking your job is to knock it on its ass.

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