Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Robot Dog Training Is Not Ready for Prime Time

Back in April
I wrote:
The way of the future is clear in the world of dog training, and a great deal of it is going to be electronics-based.

Robots with artificial intelligence will be engaged in both reward-based and correction-based dog training, complete with food, vibration, tone, electrical stimulation, visual signals, toys, and human-voice cues.

These robots will have perfect timing, be infinitely patient, and will be as consistent as a well-made Swiss watch.

And will the dogs accept them? We already know they will. After all, isn't a Skinner teaching machine just a robot, albeit one without wheels, and very limited abilities?

Dog training robots will be able to train as many as 80 or 90 dogs a day with a single low-skilled human assistant able to handle three or four robots and the dogs assigned to each.

Will these robots show up tomorrow to make professional dog trainers unemployed?


But will they show up 20 or 30 years from now?

Count on it.

The world of robots, computers, sensors, and artificial intelligence is now entering an exponential growth curve. Batteries, sensors, capacitors, switches, and controllers are smaller and cheaper than ever before.

The massive strides being made in artificial intelligence, when combined with even more precise GPS technology and robotic production of robots, means that a design-and-production tipping point for robotic dog training is not too far into the future.

That could be wonderful for dogs.

Right now, more dogs are being killed every year for lack of training than are actually being trained.

Yes, that's a crime, but it's probably a solvable crime if we can reduce the cost of basic training by taking the high cost of humans -- and their poor timing, inconsistency, and ignorance -- out of the mix.

Robotics is speeding up very fast, but clearly there's a long way to go, as you can see from the video at top.

This 23-inch tall humanoid robot costs $8,000, and can be programmed to do a lot of different things, but it's still not capable of giving a bit of pop-tart to a dog or picking it up if it is dropped.

That said, the fact that the task is being attempted at all tells you that this is what is on the horizon, and yes it is coming fast.

1 comment:

Mary Pang said...

I wonder if a dog would be much interested in something that doesn't smell.