We may be years away from robots bringing us soup when we’re sick, cleaning the house or sounding an intruder alert.
But researchers attending the 30th annual Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Edmonton are exploring new technologies to help make our lives a little easier.
The AI conference, held at the University of Alberta’s Lister Centre in conjunction with the Canadian Graphics Interface and the Computer and Robot Vision conferences, is expected to draw hundreds of academics and industry leaders to Edmonton between May 16 and 19.
“We want computers to be able to be smarter and to be able to understand [a] question, that’s the first step,” Greg Kondrak, a computer science professor at the the University of Alberta explained.
Upon hearing a question, the smart computer would scan the internet for accurate results and “formulate the answer in a way that we kind of expect from other people.”
Kondrak’s area of expertise is natural language processing. He says the technology will enable computers to communicate with people in plain speech and be an alternative to texting and writing emails.
Kondrak believes AI and robotics researchers are making progress on programs that can give “acceptable answers to people talking to them.”
“I think people are the most comfortable communicating using the language that they know — the human language,” he said.
The future of robotics
Malek Mouhoub, a conference co-chair and head of the computer science department at the University of Regina, said AI is gaining importance in certain industries, such as the health-care system.
“Robots can be very precise when conducting surgery,” he said. “Also, robots can conduct many surgeries with the same precision while the human being, after a certain time … might lose precision.”