Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Soccer robots

This contest hopes to incubate robotic soccer players that can beat professional human teams by 2050. The videos this team supplies give a flavor of the state of the art. Slow to download, and kind of boring unless you are kind of geeky. But it is impressive to see a penalty shot showdown: one robot aims to one side of the motionless goalie, swings its leg, and kicks a goal, meanwhile the goalie takes a belated "dive" (aka, he falls over sideways) for the block.

The most interesting thing to me is the timetable they have set up: 2050 for humanlike players. I'm guessing the general software problems here are already understood, so this number is mainly needed to allow for 44 years of the vast hardware and interface improvements required. Even as hard as the AI problem of artificial professional-grade soccer may be, it is an extremely delimited problem.

Now contrast this to those "Singularitarians" who imagine we'll have general purpose, human-like AI within 30 years. Let me just say: if all you've really got is a graph with a curve on it, such a "prediction" cannot be described as knowledge.


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