A help line for confused robots

Are you a robot? Can't cope in a world of humans? Don't despair. Like Bogart's Rick in Casablanca, an online brain called Rapyuta can think for you.
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor

Before there were robots and Rapyuta, there was Bergman and Bogart, with her Ilsa asking his Rick to think for her.

Are you a robot? Confused? Can't cope with the human world, which is full of things you're not programmed to understand?

Don't despair. Rapyuta can help.

Rapyuta is an online brain that "describes objects robots have met," the BBC reports. It can also perform complicated computations too challenging for an ordinary slab of silicon. It takes its name from the place where all robots live in the Japanese film Castle in the Sky.

It's the first part of Europe's Robo Earth project that hopes to standardize the way robots perceive the human world.

"Rapyuta would be the place they ask for help when confronted with a novel situation, place or thing," the article states.

It reminds me of another film, the classic Casablanca, when Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) says to Rick (Humphrey Bogart), "Oh, I don't know what's right any longer. You have to think for both of us."

Rapyuta could be a particularly good thinker for "drones, self-driving cars or other mobile robots who have to do a lot of number crunching just to get round," the BBC writes, citing Mohanarajah Gajamohan, technical head of Robo Earth at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

It should also make robots cheaper because individual models won't have to store all that helpful intelligence onboard.

Sounds like it could be the start of a beautiful friendship between man and machine. Or at least between machine and machine.

Image: Casablanca trailer screenshot from Wikimedia.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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