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St. Petersburg’s robots are conquering the world!

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The team of ITMO University has won the World Robotics Olympics. Should we be scared of AI? Will Russia have legislation regulating the human-robot relations? Evgeniya Altfeld reports.

A forester robot knocks on trees to find an ill one, measures those with laser and even determines the type. It walks and drives, performing jobs of dozens of people

One of its developers – Daniil Nechayev – put on a hat and a beard, particularly for this shoot. Dressed as a typical Russian forester, he represented St. Petersburg at the World Robotics Olympics in Costa Rica.

-         And now, after 10 years, I have finally returned. And in this time, my friends have developed a robot which can get to any hard-to-reach part of a forest using a drone – to perform the work of experts

Soviet robotics had a funny tale. In 1936, at the World Robotic Exhibition in Paris, a Soviet boy Vadim Matskevich introduced his “robot” – which could raise its right hand. But the engine was too weak and the hand could only go up slightly above the shoulder, which generated quite concrete association with the German students. The poor boy had to answer to NKVD officers

You can play chess or checkers with the robot created by students of the Polytechnic University. I chose circles and crosses. Robotics expert Vyacheslav Potekhin believes that the time has come for the legislation which would regulate relations between humans and robots

As an example - pilot-less transportation. It will soon be on our streets.

The first fatal autopilot accident in history took place in the US lately. And the victim, Joshua Brown, was a firm believer in electro cars and innovative technologies. News about the robot’s fatal mistake circled the globe immediately.

Will the AI cause harm to a human on purpose - that is the question. Anton Pervushin, a futurist writer, is sure that the machines would always know their place in a human world. 

Anton Pervushin, futurist writer: «There is an opinion - even to like a child treats a parent, more like a dog loves a master. But dogs sometimes bite, and here lies the dualism of our world».

Machines and humans don’t have to substitute each other, but safeguard from a mistake. That’s why in St Petersburg space exploring machines are being developed not to replace cosmonauts, but to help them to get rid of a routine.

Constructors from the Institute for Robotics and Engineering Cybernetics are preparing for a massive project. In 2025 a Lunar Base construction will begin, and new generation robots are about to take part in it.

AI creation is still far away, but in some countries machines are already empowered. Here is the footage from Saudi Arabia, where for the first time in history the country’s citizenship was granted to an android.  Sophia not only talks, smiles, but also gives quite ingenious answers.

Russia is contemplating a legal status of robots as well. Here is a quote of a constitutional judge Gadis Gadjiev: «Accept robots not just as a metal rubbish, but as a true AI. Such bill is already submitted to the State Duma». Robots want to become humans - such a common scenario for sci-fi movies, which can make you feel sympathy for a machine, especially a robot kid.

In the West it’s more about humanoid robots, while students at Baltic State University «VOENMEH» are up to creating machines for a smart home, to which even the smallest and shabby «khroushevkas» will soon turn into.

Meanwhile, laboratories at ITMO university are getting ready for another international contest, where even a robotic rock band may go to. And this band has every chance to find its first flesh-and-blood admirers.

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