The United States has a pretty solid reputation when it comes to basketball. The sport was not only invented there, but it also enjoys enormous popularity there. So it’s a big surprise that Team USA lost to France this weekend, for the first time after 25 consecutive wins at the Olympics. However, it was not the French, but a Japanese robot that astonished the few spectators present in Tokyo.
Moravec’s paradox means that humans still have little (or no) competition with robots when it comes to activities that require significant motor skills. During the halftime of the basketball game between France and the United States at the Tokyo Olympics, Toyota demonstrated with its CUE4 robot that much progress has also been made in this area.
It’s a problem that artificial intelligence (AI) experts call the Moravec paradox. Hans Moravec is a researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. By 1988, he had already understood that abstract reasoning requires relatively little computing power on the part of computers. While sensory and motor skills require extremely high computing power.
In other words, a computer can easily beat the world champion of the Go game or calculate where the oil is underground. But don’t ask him to do a simple action. Like taking a bottle of beer out of the fridge, having a drink and pouring the beer.
“Humans are seriously underrated”
Skill is therefore much more complex for a computer than winning a game of chess. It is a consequence of human evolution. Humans searched for solutions to natural problems for millions of years, until they began to take them for granted. Tesla boss Elon Musk often repeats that production problems at his factory are the result of our over-reliance on robots. “Human beings are seriously underrated,” he said.
Robots generally have a hard time dealing with the physical aspects of ordinary tasks. However, the progress they are making in this area should not be underestimated. Proof of this is: a three-point scoring robot demonstrated at half-time in the match between France and the United States at the Olympics.
As early as 2019, CUE3, its predecessor, had set a world record by scoring consecutive baskets in 2020, the number corresponding to the year in which the Tokyo Olympics were to be held. The robot accomplished this feat in 6 hours and 35 minutes. Or a basket every 12 seconds.
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