December 9, 2007

If robotics technology now stands where computing did in the '70s, what can we expect in the future?

Tom Abate:

Fremont resident Rakesh Guliani likes to say that a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner saved his marriage.

Messy floors had been causing friction, says the 41-year-old Guliani (pronounced Goo-liani). His wife, Kavita, 35, was particularly annoyed by the footprints he and their daughters, Ashna, 10, and Rhea, 6, tended to track through the house.
"I am soccer coach to both of them, and when we come in with our dirty cleats, I am more tolerant of that because I am tracking dirt, too," says Guliani, vice president of the job-placement firm Park Computer Systems. He vacuumed several times a week but it never seemed enough to satisfy his wife, a technical writer for Google.

"I was sucking the thread out of the carpet," says Guliani, who bought a Roomba last fall and programmed it to scour the carpets for dust, dirt and grime. Regular cleanings by the Roomba restored household harmony. "It never gets bored and it never complains," he says.

The Guliani family is at the cutting edge of what may be the next technological revolution - the emergence of software and hardware capable of performing tasks once reserved for that race of toolmakers called Homo sapiens.
"Sometime in the next 30, 40, 50 years we will have human-level machine intelligence," predicts Marshall Brain, a computer science teacher turned author and technology forecaster.

Posted by James Zellmer at December 9, 2007 2:04 PM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Culture | Technology