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Machines Like Us

New technology helps machines learn like humans

Wednesday, 07 November 2012

On a gated 2.5-acre property southeast of Nashville International Airport, behind a stone building that looks like a small bed and breakfast, past the basketball hoop, beyond a grill and patio table, to the left of a pool and water slide, is a small building where a team of scientists and engineers is creating highly sophisticated artificial intelligence technology.

It all began in 2001, when a group of Vanderbilt researchers collaborated with NASA to create software that would allow machines to learn how to function in unfamiliar, chaotic environments. They partnered with the school’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization to bring their work to market, and in 2008, Universal Robotics was born.

The company’s flagship technology, Neocortex, is a form of software that learns similar to the way humans do. It’s scheduled to be deployed on the International Space Station to perform maintenance tasks difficult for astronauts to do, CEO David Peters said.

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