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BRETT the robot capable of learning simple tasks

Elon Musk was right, we're all going to die at the hands of crazed, evil, artificial intelligence robots wanting to take over the world!

Riding down Scaremonger Express, I've come across a video showing a robot learning to do different tasks by itself, through trial and error.

A team of researchers at the University of California has put together this robot, shown as a key milestone in the field of artificial intelligence.

Instead of pre-programming the robot to do different tasks, this one has algorithms that allow it to build knowledge over time. The robot actually builds ‘neural nets’, similar to what we have in our brain.

"The key is that when a robot is faced with something new, we won't have to reprogram it," TechRadar quotes (opens in new tab) Pieter Abbeel, who helped develop the technique, saying.

"The exact same software, which encodes how the robot can learn, was used to allow the robot to learn all the different tasks we gave it."

The robot named BRETT (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks) was given a series of tasks such as putting together LEGO blocks. As it got closer to the solution, it was awarded with points allocated by the algorithm.

"We still have a long way to go before our robots can learn to clean a house or sort laundry," said Abbeel, "but our initial results indicate that these kinds of deep learning techniques can have a transformative effect in terms of enabling robots to learn complex tasks entirely from scratch."

Now imagine hundreds of these robots. Now imagine them all inter-connected, like IoT machines, sharing knowledge between themselves.

Now freak out.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.