15 votes

How many robots does it take to run a grocery store?

6 comments

  1. [5]
    vektor
    Link
    Tiny nitpick regarding Tom's argument: That's not one robot with 2000 ways to interact with the world. That's one AI controlling 2000 robots. Robots who might not be reasonably called artificially...

    Tiny nitpick regarding Tom's argument:

    That's not one robot with 2000 ways to interact with the world. That's one AI controlling 2000 robots. Robots who might not be reasonably called artificially intelligent, I don't know.

    Robots are, to my understanding, always physical machines that interact with the world in physical ways. (Necessary, not Sufficient.) They need not have AI, and a disembodied AI is not a robot.

    In any case, put one of those warehouses in my city.

    5 votes
    1. drannex
      Link Parent
      I sort of agree and disagree with you, a robot in my opinion is able to use sensors to navigate through an unknown chaotic world. This is just an example of mass-scale automation, they won't be...

      Robots are, to my understanding, always physical machines that interact with the world in physical ways. (Necessary, not Sufficient.) They need not have AI, and a disembodied AI is not a robot.

      I sort of agree and disagree with you, a robot in my opinion is able to use sensors to navigate through an unknown chaotic world. This is just an example of mass-scale automation, they won't be able to function if an object is in their path that wasn't hard coded.

      Now, a disembodied AI can be a robot. A centralized server that controls other 'robots' is fleet management, and that fleet is in themselves robots. Those robots have to reliably send and read data, have to manually deal with packaging, items, &c. That's in essence a robot, just because it's main authoritarian control module or brain is not build in does not mean its not robot, in the same way you wouldn't say an arm belonging to a human, is not a human appendage.

      If we are talking on this example in specific, those robots likely still have an onboard system or brain that handles lifting, moving, and manipulating objects, the main centralized brain (the manager) is there as a safe guard, and to manage the entire system - deal with anything different, or to delegate tasks and assign locations. At the very least, that's how I would have written the system based on my experience.

      2 votes
    2. [3]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Čapek's original use of the word (in it's modern sense) derives from the Slavic robota, which basically translates as 'slave' or 'indentured worker'. It was used in R.U.R. to describe physical -...

      Robots are, to my understanding, always physical machines that interact with the world in physical ways.

      Čapek's original use of the word (in it's modern sense) derives from the Slavic robota, which basically translates as 'slave' or 'indentured worker'. It was used in R.U.R. to describe physical - albeit biological, not mechanical - automata but as far as I know there's nothing that necessarily requires an artificial slave to have a physical presence.

      Personally I do occasionally refer to software, and especially ML/AI systems, as robot

      1. [2]
        drannex
        Link Parent
        Fun thing to note, he wasn't the one to originally coin it - it was his brother! His brother was painting and he mentioned that he had an idea for a play, but he didn't know what to call them, he...

        Fun thing to note, he wasn't the one to originally coin it - it was his brother!

        His brother was painting and he mentioned that he had an idea for a play, but he didn't know what to call them, he was originally thinking 'Labori' off the basic concept of "Labor" but his brother piped in off handed that 'Robot' would be a better sounding word and more directly in line with what he was talking about. The rest, is well, history.

        3 votes
        1. mat
          Link Parent
          You'll notice I didn't specify which Čapek :)

          You'll notice I didn't specify which Čapek :)

          3 votes
  2. mycketforvirrad
    Link
    Thousands of orders cancelled after Ocado robot fire BBC News – 19th July 2021

    Thousands of orders cancelled after Ocado robot fire

    Ocado has cancelled thousands of orders after a fire at a fulfilment centre in south-east London on Friday.

    The online grocer said the blaze started when three of the robots that help pick its groceries collided at the Erith site.

    About 800 staff had to be evacuated and firefighters worked through the night to contain the incident.

    It is the second fire involving robots at Ocado. Its Andover facility burned down in 2019 after an electrical fault.

    BBC News – 19th July 2021

    5 votes