Intermission: The Navy's Super Smart Robots

These robots can tell who you are, what you're holding, and even hold a conversation with you. What's next?

The Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence is developing robots that speak and think for themselves. In this video, robot pals George and Octavia respond to a human researcher's questions, identifying objects by sight and addressing the researcher by name through voice recognition. At one point, a researcher puts a glue gun on the table and asks the robots to identify the object. Octavia identifies it as a gun, and her human counterpart replies, "Correct, but Octavia, you're not supposed to know what that is yet."

The video is staged as a tongue-in-cheek look at the classic motif of robots taking over the world, but the robots' abilities to reason and hold conversations is pretty amazing. The second half explains the technology inside the robots that "teaches" them these skills. It kind of makes you wonder what else the Navy is up to...