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Robots May Be a Threat After They Learn How to Open a Door



(p. A1) Robots may enslave us all someday. In the meantime, if one of them goes berserk, here's a useful tactic: Shut the door behind you.

One after another, robots in a government-sponsored contest were stumped by an unlocked door that blocked their path at an outdoor obstacle course. One bipedal machine managed to wrap a claw around the door handle and open it but was flummoxed by a breeze that kept blowing the door shut before it could pass through.

Robots excel at many tasks, as long as they don't involve too much hand-eye coordination or common sense. Like some gifted children, they can perform impressive feats of mental arithmetic but are profoundly klutzy on the playground.

The machines stumble over tasks requiring even toddler-level balance, like kicking a ball, getting out of a car or (p. A9) climbing stairs. Grasping objects of varying size and weight is also perplexing.



For the full story, see:

Daniela Hernandez. "If the Robot Apocalypse Comes, Try Closing the Door." The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Nov. 11, 2017): A1 & A9.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 10, 2017, and has the title "How to Survive a Robot Apocalypse: Just Close the Door.")






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