Artificial intelligence (AI) has become ubiquitous these days. It is in self-driving cars, in-home devices and even in mobile phones and their applications. There are even robotics companies developing bots that are injected with the capability to think like a human being. These new-fangled innovations are very sophisticated, but for all their sophistication, they still owe little Shakey for what they are today.
Who, or what is Shakey? Well, it was a cute little robot created by roboticists in Silicon Valley. The mobile robot came into being in 1966, Wired writes. It was about a decade after computer scientists started throwing around the AI buzzword. It may not look anything like the sleek robots of today but it was the first ever moving robot that had autonomous and reasoning capabilities.
When Shakey was created, it was meant for military reconnaissance. Someone wanted to drop it in the middle of China and have it count how many tanks the Sleeping Giant had. It did not to that, but what it did was propel AI research forward. Because of Stanford Research Institute researchers' pioneering work, the world today have smart thinking systems right in their hands.
That is why the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) honored Shakey. It is now regarded as an institute milestone and even has a plaque dedicated to it. The armless robot was made up of numerous algorithms and architectures, but the totality of it is what a former project member considered its lasting legacy. Thanks to the robot, more people became inspired to pour time and effort in researching AI technology.
Yet, although a robot gave birth to the AI revolution, smart systems nowadays are more focused on software. There are robots that can move around and do a lot of things, sure. But they do not think. And they only do what they are programmed for.
Nevertheless, there are still a number of companies that are working for better AI systems. Whether or not they could create robots to uproot humans from jobs and such remains to be seen.