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In the Future, Robots Will Surf Their Own Internet

RoboEarth diagram

If robots are to become our overlords, they will need their own Internet to communicate with each other. RoboEarth, a just-launched robot information sharing network, gets them that much closer to world domination.

The EU-funded RoboEarth project is bringing together European scientists to build a network and database repository for robots to share information about the world. They will, if all goes as planned, use the network to store and retrieve information about objects, locations (including maps), and instructions about completing activities. Robots will be both the contributors and the editors of the repository.

The point, according to the RoboEarth project, is to allow robots to learn from past experiences and share them with their peers. The site explains:

Rapid development of sensor and networking technology is now enabling
researchers to collect vast amounts of sensor data, and new data-mining
tools are being developed to extract meaningful patterns. Researchers
are already using networked “feed forward” approaches to make
significant advances in machine-based learning systems. Thus far, however, these smart feed forward systems have been operating
in isolation from each other. If they are decommissioned, all that
learning is lost.

With RoboEarth, one robot’s learning experiences are never lost–the data is passed on for other robots to mine. As RedOrbit explains, that means one robot’s experiences with, say, setting a dining room table could be passed on to others, so the butler robot of the future might know how to prepare for dinner guests without any prior programming.

The 35 researchers working on the project expect to be finished within four years. After that, the age of intelligent robots can begin.

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Ariel Schwartz can be reached by email.AS