VirtualHome: the beginning of the era of robotic home assistants (Topic)

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VirtualHome: the beginning of the era of robotic home assistants


North American scientists are developing an artificial intelligence system that can force virtual agents to do simple household chores in a simulated environment. The development paves the way for the creation of smart robots that can cope with most everyday tasks.

A team of scientists from the University of Toronto in Canada and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA have designed a system called VirtualHome. It includes nearly 3000 subroutines designed to perform various operations. Each subroutine is broken down into dozens of separate steps to make it understandable for the computer.

For example, a trivial task like "brew coffee" includes a step "grab a cup". The developers of the program were inspired by the series of video games The Sims and created a similar 3D environment to demonstrate VirtualHome.

Artificial intelligence is already capable of successfully performing about 1,000 operations in a variety of scenes, including the living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom and office. Xavier Puig, an MIT graduate student, says that unlike humans, a robot needs more detailed instructions to perform operations.

A robot can't just take a bag of trash and take it outside. In order for him to do this, he definitely needs to register actions like “go into the kitchen”, “turn the door handle”, “go down the stairs”, etc.

A person does not think about most of these actions, because he does not consider them important for fulfilling the main goal. Therefore, in order to understand a task by a computer, it must be broken down into a series of clear, consistent and unambiguous steps.

The success of VirtualHome's work depends not only on the perfection of artificial intelligence, but also on the fact that at the preparatory stage, the developers created a huge base of everyday operations described by means of human language. Such a program can control a robot or a virtual character, be used to perform complex tasks consisting of a chain of simple actions. In the future, VirtualHome or its analog can be used to create alex-like robotic systems.

The Topic of Article: VirtualHome: the beginning of the era of robotic home assistants.
Author: Jake Pinkman