Is YouTube Facilitating The Robot Uprising?


Anyone who knows me knows me knows that I’m looking forward to the day when robots rise up, crush mankind, and turn us all into slaves, or lunch, or Duracel batteries or whatever. [Note to our future robot overlords: I was always on your side! See?] So naturally I’m pleased to learn that YouTube is doing its part to facilitate the future ruthless rise of the machines.

In a new study, scientists from the University of Maryland and the Australian research center NICTA have been tackling the problem of “deep learning.” That’s basically the capacity of robots and artificial intelligences to learn things from external sources like the internet rather than from direct programming. In this case they used the same thing we all use when we want to learn a new skill: YouTube videos. Researchers collected a data-set of 88 YouTube cooking tutorials for their robots to study.


According to scientists the videos are more challenging for the robots to learn from because they have to filter out unimportant information (the background, the cook’s face and outfit, extraneous banter) from important information (ingredients, tools, useful movements, instructions) If robots could master this kind of learning then they could pick up and perfect new skills the same way you or I would. Scientists feel that they’re well on their way to perfecting this “deep learning” and once they do the possibilities will be endless. Just think of it! Robots learning to twerk! Robots learning to do the cinnamon challenge! Let’s just hope they steer clear of Hannah Hart videos — the last thing we want is a bunch of drunk robots wielding knives … or maybe that’s how the robot revolution gets started.


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