on May 13th, 2016

Who said engineering isn't fun? 

Students at the Bringham Young University in Utah, have developed an artificially intelligent robot that not only serves as a partner to play games with when you're lonely but can also beat you at foosball. Nathan Warner, a BYU student in computer engineering, said: "So we're building a robotic vision-controlled foosball table. So, the objective is to defeat a human player." The students programmed how a normal human would play the game and then put that into the coding. There is a camera that is set up above the table and watches where the ball is and changes its algorithms based on where the ball is travelling. The students say the robot has started out-thinking them, which is testament to its artificial intelligence learning what it should and should not do when playing foosball. 



Joseph Quist, who helped develop the table said: "Our system responds very quickly ; it's faster than humans." 

Robots defeating humans at their own games is nothing new. Back in January, Google's artificial intelligence DeepMind showed that it could beat the reigning champion of Go. You can watch all the games on YouTube to see how the A.I. defeated Lee Sedol. The A.I. beat the European champion 5-0, however, once it played Lee Sedol it lost one game, but won the other four. 



Then the Japanese built a robot that could play soccer against humans and also showed immense promise when it came to a demo-match. The robots were built by the Beijing Information Science and Technology University and took part in the annual RoboCup, an event where robots go up against humans in small games. 

One of the engineers that worked on the soccer-playing robots spoke to The Mirror, saying: "Robots act differently on their own decisions. They move to positions for scoring or defending." The game ended 3-2 to the robots and was one of the first times soccer-playing robots showed such agility, whereas in the past the robots that were put on a field of play where mostly slow and clunky. 


It all comes down to artificial intelligence and how that A.I. has been embedded into a robots inner-workings. However, there are a lot of engineers who discourage this work due to the overwhelming results that paint a picture of a robot-job-takeover future. Some opinion makers are scared that soon all sorts of jobs will be overrun and done more efficiently by robots. Some have already met that fate. 

For instance, today a law firm named BakerHostetler has just taken on a new employee. An artificially intelligent employee. It is called ROSS and it does the legal work of a "Super Intelligent Attorney." The system utilizes IBM's Watson. Lawyers can now ask insanely complex law questions and then the artificial lawyer will give them an answer based on the ever-growing principles of law. The engineers at the University of Toronto, have said that this 'search-engine of law' of sorts is intended to be used alongside a human team of lawyers. 

For more information on how ROSS works, check this video out: 

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