The Kamprad Test and Moravec’s Paradox

An article in the Economist reports on efforts of AI researchers in Singapore to automatically assemble an IKEA chair. They call it the Kamprad test – named after the founder of IKEA:

COMPUTERS have already proved better than people at playing chess and diagnosing diseases. But now a group of artificial-intelligence researchers in Singapore have managed to teach industrial robots to assemble an IKEA chair

It took a pair of them, pre-programmed by humans, more than 20 minutes to assemble a chair that a person could knock together in a fraction of the time.

Clearly Moravec’s paradox is that play here. The paradox is:

Moravec’s paradox is the discovery by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, high-level reasoning requires very little computation, but low-level sensorimotor skills require enormous computational resources.

It can even explain the difficulties Elon Musk and Tesla face to fully automate their production line.


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