Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that consists of algorithms, mathematical and statistical models, programming languages, that aims to mimick human intelligence. Further AI is implemented using cognitive analytics and computing, machine learning, machine vision, along with hardware to enable computers, robots and other systems to operate in an autonomous mode. Humans and animals using natural intelligence can independently react to any situation and take necessary action to progress forward to get preferred outcomes.
During graduate research on robotic dexterous hand several years ago, I encountered this issue when simulating grasping objects such as a ball by the dexterous hand using software. The software simulation of mechanical grasping of was a success. The dexterous hand was taught to grab hard balls such as a baseball. The software simulation was mechanically tested using a industrial robot gripper with three fingers. The big challenge encountered was when suddenly the object to grasp was switched from baseball to an egg or a ping-pong ball. Without AI (intelligent decision making algorithms) and also due to lack of visual feedback to the robot gripper, the egg would get squashed. For the dexterous hand or robotic gripper to seamlessly hold objects autonomously without causing damage, requires AI, machine learning algorithms, software and hardware embedded with machine vision.
An animal running in a certain terrain in a forest will react to jump over an obstacle or turn away using its natural intelligence spontaneously. The AI provides the tools and technology for a machine to achieve or mimick such intelligence. Using AI, for a machine to perform such maneuvers operating autonomously, has to
  1. Compute the speed
  2. Constantly make adjustments to speed based on distance
  3. Avoid obstacles using vision (camera, hardware and software)
  4. Constantly adjust mechanical devices that perform functions of legs or motion systems based terrain
  5. Think and make spontaneous decisions using built-in AI
to slow down, or maintain speed, or change path, or stop or jump over an obstacle. At a high level, this lists the complexity involved (intelligence, cognitive analytics) that needs to be incorporated into a robot. The system also has to learn from new situations it encounters on a constant basis. From 1980's to now there has been enormous progress in the computational power due to advancements in memory chip architecture (CPU, VLSI, ULSI, etc.) and technology, which is making AI a reality in recent years. The IBM's deep blue supercomputer was able to achieve the level of intelligence to defeat world chess champion Gary Kasparov in a couple of games in a tournament. Autonomous computers and machines continue to evolve with enhancements in AI.
Some of the top programming languages used in AI are Python, Prolog, Java, C++ and LISP.

1. Bostondynamics - Wildcat

2. Machine Learning

Last Revised on: December 15th, 2016