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    Are Robots Clumsy?

    It is widely known robots can work an assembly line with high precision. A robot can continuously pick up the assembly line component and put it where it belongs without error. However, move that component an inch or put something else in its place, the robot will paw at thin air or fumble aimlessly.

    People can look at an object and grasp it with little thought process involved. Robots knowing how to grasp an object just by looking at it is challenging for programmers. However, advancements in AI and machine learning, effectively learning through virtual trial and error, to manipulate an object on its own. Dactyl, an off the shelf robot hand, taught itself to flip a toy building block in its fingers. OpenAI, a nonprofit out of San Francisco, using reinforcement learning neutral-network software to teach the robot dexterity. Similarly, a computer (Alpha Go) beat Lee Sedol a champion of Go the most complicated board game played in China for centuries.

    There will need to be more research in this area of AI before robots can work independently in a factory or warehouse. They are looking to solve issues of friction or different materials with varying properties making them challenging to manipulate. Adding randomness to the AI’s virtual training gave the robot a proxy to the messiness of reality.

    A Hamburger without the Moo

    With the world’s population estimated to reach 9.8 billion by the year 2050 and they will have an appetite for meat. If predictions are correct, humans will eat about 70% more meat than in 2005. To help alleviate shortages, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have created meat substitutes from plant protein.

    The texture and taste of meat are mimicked by plants like peas, soy, wheat, potatoes, and vegetable oils. The California company, Beyond Meat, has already sold over 25 million meat substitute burgers through 30,000 restaurants and stores. If this catches on a meat shortage can be averted.

    The Wrist Watch Has Morphed Into ECG

    You are into fitness training and most likely have a wearable heart rate monitor on your wrist. These devices are prone to inaccuracies due to loose wrist bands or too intense of a workout. The only heart monitoring device that can detect abnormalities that lead to a heart attack or stroke is in your doctor’s office.

    Many people fail to get the ‘electrocardiogram’ (ECG) before a heart attack or stroke occurs. New regulations and innovations in software have opened the door for ECG-enabled smartwatches. These wearable devices are closer to the ECG used by the medical profession and a bit more precise.

    A wearable band compatible with an Apple Watch created by AliveCor (A Silicon Valley Startup) can detect Afib. Atrial
    Fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, causes the formation of blood clots that move to the brain resulting in a stroke.

    In 2018 Apple marketed its own FDA approved ECG embedded in the watch itself. In India, where AFib is a severe health concern, the introduction of the ECG app to the Apple Watch will help Indians identify signs of AFib.

    The success of the Apple Watch ECG is a testament to the need for wearable devices that can accurately detect AFib before it becomes a stroke.

    AI Assistants – You Smooth Talker

    Alexa or Siri can turn on alarms, look up things on the web, or play music on the sound system. AIs have not actually lived up to their potential smarts, they recognize a small range of directions and deviations can trip them up. To save the cost and time of manually categorizing and tagging data, OpenAI developed a technique to train an AI using unlabeled text.
    Google revealed a system they called BERT that learned to predict missing words by studying millions of sentences. BERT did as well as humans on a multiple-choice test that required filling in gaps.

    We are confident in the ability of these features to help users have more informed conversations with their physicians,” said Sumbul Desai, MD, Apple’s Vice President of Health.

    These breakthroughs, accompanied by better speech synthesis, will allow us to move to form simple directives to carrying on a conversation with them. Alibaba’s AliMe coordinates package delivery by phone and can haggle the price of goods in chat mode.

    An eery human-like upgrade to Google Assistant is Google Duplex, which can monitor your calls to detect spammers and telemarketers. AI can find what you want on the internet via scripted or generated lines, they still can’t understand complete sentences. When that breakthrough occurs, then AI can evolve into a logistics coordinator, or a teacher, maybe a babysitter, perhaps a conversational friend.