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  • What is a robot?

    Wired - 08/24/2017

    Just how intelligent does a machine have to be to qualify as a robot, though? Lots of systems take in information from the outside world, process it, and then output an action—take the autopilot software that flies commercial planes. Hanumant Singh, a roboticist at Northeastern University, says a robot is “a system that exhibits ‘complex’ behavior and includes sensing and actuation.” He gives that definition to his students, then asks them to consider whether a Boeing 747 fits the bill. “It is automated, it is complex, it has sensing, it has actuation,” he says. “The students argue that it is not a robot because humans operate it a lot of the time, even though it has an autopilot.”

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