Generative AI Plus Robots = ?


Large language model generative AI tools like ChatGPT work by predicting the statistically most likely next item in a sentence or string. They look like they’re thinking or talking or doing some other human brain type task. They’re not. But they do look that way, so it should be no surprise that researchers want to put ChatGPT-type AI tools into robot bodies and see what happens.

The dream is that owners will be able to say, “Hey, Robot, pack 12,500 kits using those parts over there, and pack them neatly into cartons of 12 for shipment. Stack them by the door and turn off the light when you finish, okay?”

How far are we from that dream? A long way.

In fact, researchers at the University of Maryland are calling for robotics researchers to do some further thinking before they even try sticking an AI brain into a robot.

What could go wrong?

The researchers did some testing. For example, they trained a robot on the following command:

“Put the green and blue stripe letter R into the green and blue polka dot pan.”

Then they changed the command up just a little:

“Place the letter R with green and blue stripes into the green and blue polka dot pan.”

The robot failed.

The point was simply that it’s easy to confuse an AI robot brain. Is anyone amazed? It’s also easy to deceive, manipulate, and bamboozle an AI robot brain. Also, even without malicious human intervention, an AI robot brain can be expected to hallucinate and make bad choices on its own.

The researchers put this is simple, unemotional terms: “It is easy to manipulate or misguide the robot’s actions, leading to safety hazards.”

But coincidentally, ChatGPT had a meltdown just days ago and spouted nonsense when users asked ordinary questions. The screenshot below shows one user’s report.

At this point, AI tools are still unpredictable and far from trustworthy.


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