Learning to move

When will machines have human agility?

That’s what the film studio Universal Everything tries to answer in their captivating videos pairing a dancer and a copycat robot mimicking his moves.

Set in a spacious, well-worn dance studio, a dancer teaches a series of robots how to move. As the robots’ abilities develop from shaky mimicry to composed mastery, a physical dialogue emerges between man and machine – mimicking, balancing, challenging, competing, outmanoeuvring.

Can the robot keep up with the dancer? At what point does the robot outperform the dancer? Would a robot ever perform just for pleasure? Does giving a machine a name give it a soul?

These human-machine interactions from Universal Everything are inspired by the Hype Cycle trend graphs produced by Gartner Research, a valiant attempt to predict future expectations and disillusionments as new technologies come to market.

Based on recent research done by UK company Deep Mind, AI is showing flashes of a brain-like GPS system.

Even more, you’ll be able to buy some of the Boston Dynamics robots next year.

Competence without imagination 🤖

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Photo by Wells Baum

The machine is a perfection of man, one that aggregates all simulations and chooses the best possibility at the right time. AI also gets smarter with each mistake it makes in a type of machine learning called reinforcement learning.

Humans can’t learn and execute actions as fast as their robot counterparts can. Our neuronal chips are already at brain capacity, no matter how many amphetamines we take to speed them up.

So what do we do when we’re rendered jobless?

For starters, we’ll have a bunch of time on our hands to do other stuff, constructing innovative things that robots can’t predict. After all, we’re the ones biologically wired to random thoughts, chaotic imaginations, and combinatorial creativity.

Idle humanness

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What else is there to do but…walk? (Photo by Wells Baum)

Humans are organic algorithms. We are cardiologists, historians, and taxi drivers that represent a bank of knowledge and reproducible skill.

In 2005, Thoms Friedman famous proclaimed that the World is Flat. What he didn’t foresee is that the democratization of phones and web access would render human thinking useless. Cars will be autonomous, robots will conduct surgeries and give Spanish lessons to kids. Pattern recognization.

Intelligence is pattern recognization, whether it comes from the mind of a human or through the voltage of a computer. But the latter is 10x times faster and doesn’t tire out.

What will we do when we have nothing to do? Art, too, will be robotized — books will write themselves, paintings will mechanized. We are condemned to innovate for the sake of human self or will be left scrolling in boredom.

Read The rise of the useless class