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smart robot

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A smart robot is an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can learn from its environment and its experience and build on its capabilities based on that knowledge.

Smart robots can collaborate with humans, working along-side them and learning from their behavior. An early example of a smart robot is Baxter, produced by Rethink Robotics of Boston, Massachusetts. Baxter is an industrial android (humanoid robot) that can work right next to line employees on the factory floor, often working on highly repetitive tasks such as precision packing.

The number and types of tasks that can be automated or augmented by software, robots and other smart machines is rapidly increasing. Smart robots have the capacity for not only manual labor but cognitive tasks. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, authors of “The Second Machine Age," maintain that technological advances have led global culture to an inflection point rivaling that brought about by the industiral revolution.

According to Gartner, the prominent technology research firm, software, robots and other smart machines will take over one in three jobs currently conducted by humans by the year 2025.

See Nick Bostrom's TED talk, What happens when robots get smarter than we are:

This was last updated in January 2016

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