Stanford University’s Robots Can Play Pingpong

Computers are already better than you at doing math and remembering things. But now it looks like mechanized AI will soon be able to best you in your favorite table sports, too.

Stanford University posted a video last week showcasing the progress its Artificial Intelligence Laboratory students have been making in successfully “teaching” robots to play games. Featured in the video are clips of robots paddling pingpong balls and killing it at kendama, the Japanese cup-and-ball game.

“The tasks call for a wide range of fundamental skills but generally require the robot to sense where it is in space, detect objects around it, and then autonomously interact with those objects in its environment,” the Stanford News reports.

Based on what we’re seeing, these bots aren’t giving mildly competent human pingpong players any real competition just yet. But if you want to go ahead and apply some kind of Moore’s law of robotics into the equation, it stands to reason they’ll be at Forrest Gump level in just a handful of years.

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