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What Is the Connection between Artificial Intelligence and Robotics?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are intertwined, with AI providing the 'brains'—the decision-making capabilities—while robotics offers the 'body' to execute tasks. Together, they create machines that can learn, adapt, and interact with their environment. Imagine the possibilities when these two fields merge seamlessly. What could this mean for the future of technology and human interaction? Join the conversation and share your thoughts.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

While artificial intelligence and robotics are not intrinsically connected, they are often utilized together in efforts to create computers and machines that more closely resemble humans and other animals. Robots are innately only as “intelligent” as the program used to move them, and so artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to create “smarter” robots. This connection has already been utilized in making toys, such as robotic pets, as well as demonstrations of robots that seek to emulate human thought and responses. There are also other applications that seek to combine the two disciplines, such as cybernetics.

Artificial intelligence and robotics are two fields of computer science and technology that are commonly connected, especially in the minds of science fiction writers and speculative technologists. They are each separate fields, however. AI is a field of computer science in which software programs are designed in an effort to emulate the way in which the human brain perceives the world around it and create thoughts and responses to the world. Robotics, on the other hand, is a field of engineering in which machines are designed that can move in a number of different ways. When the two are combined, then the goal is often to create a robot that can move and “think” in an intelligent way.

Robots working on an automobile assembly line.
Robots working on an automobile assembly line.

Some of the most common combinations of artificial intelligence and robotics are in the development of robots that move and act like people or animals. There have already been a number of toys and products released for sale that react to their environments in ways similar to animals and move using robotic systems. Experimental robots have also been developed and demonstrated in several different environments that move in a way that is surprisingly sophisticated for a machine. These combinations have generated everything from robots that can walk up and down stairs and play table tennis to robotic faces that demonstrate “emotional” responses based on interactions with people.

Some robots can play table tennis.
Some robots can play table tennis.

Artificial intelligence and robotics can also be connected in other fields of research, such as cybernetics. Cybernetic development is aimed at combining artificial intelligence and robotics in a more organic way, to create robots or parts of robots that interface with human thought. Recent developments in this field include advanced prostheses that can replace lost limbs and allow movement through the use of AI programs and the actions of the person wearing the prosthetic. Some futurists envision a world in which cybernetics allows AI and robotics to be so completely merged that human thought and computers become a single, new entity, though this is, of course, speculative.

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Discussion Comments


Robots on the assembly line is a great example of robots without artificial intelligence. These machines do the same thing over and over again. They are programmed to undertake a certain action. They are computer controlled and they do manual tasks.

They make life a lot easier because they work quickly and efficiently and errors are reduced this way. But they can't be used in every sector because it does cost money to make them and maintain them. The automobile industry makes use of them, as well as electronics manufacturers.

When it comes to robots that can response to sensory stimuli though, such as voice command, I'm not sure if they belong to the category where artificial intelligence and robotics overlap. I think they probably do because it's a way of emulating human like intelligence.


@stoneMason-- Of course. Computer games are a type of artificial intelligence too for example, and so are some statistics and analysis software. Any system that is programmed with certain values and information and which can make decisions based on that information has artificial intelligence.

But robotics is about constructing and operating machines. They don't normally make decisions (except when a robot is given artificial intelligence.) Robots are usually controlled distantly and simply given commands which they follow. But a system with artificial intelligence is capable of making decisions and taking action on its own. Of course, true examples of such robots or devices are only a few.


This is very interesting. So a robot doesn't necessarily have to have artificial intelligence. I agree with the article, it must be because of science fiction that most of us attribute robots to artificial intelligence. But they're separate and they don't have to be present together. We can have robots without artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence without robots.

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    • Robots working on an automobile assembly line.
      By: computer engineer
      Robots working on an automobile assembly line.
    • Some robots can play table tennis.
      Some robots can play table tennis.
    • A robot that is used to defuse bombs, yet is entirely controlled by a remote human operator, has no artificial intelligence.
      By: chalabala
      A robot that is used to defuse bombs, yet is entirely controlled by a remote human operator, has no artificial intelligence.