We have seen huge advances and innovations during these couple of years in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. And this came with the introduction of cheap 3D sensors such as the Microsoft Kinect and Primesense for example.
In robotics, many laboratories have shown impressive work and their genius in building humaoids. We can state some here, like the NAO, a small robot, sold commercially, which is controlled by a wireless interface through a PC.
There are larger machines built by Boston Dynamics which were focused on making the robot as human as possible as you can probably notice the movement in this video. In other cases it has been built for military purposes. Therefore, its main objective is to help marines and soldiers overcome any obstacle while carrying large loads.
In this case we should mention human/machine interaction, which is now a large field by its own, since the robot will be answering to voice commands or gesture (YouTube video)
Artificial intelligence also seems to have spread through the automobile industry, to improve autonomous driving. Even more, it is being applied on planes. As a result, most car companies speculate that they will be selling fully autonomous cars by 2020.
The reasons behind this technology boom are a lot. The most important one is of course the advances in processing power with supercomputers (Microsoft stated that to train the Kinect device for face recognition, it would take weeks on a normal PC, yet, on their 10 000 CPU supercomputer, it took merely 1 hour) and the internet speed which resulted in running millions of equations on the cloud. Other reasons are, as we stated before, the enhancement of cheap sensory hardware and obviously, the interest of a lot of university students in the research field.
When it comes to robots and ruling the world! Don’t worry about this. According to a lot of scientists, it will take at least another 100 years before a fully autonomous robot is invented.