How many robots does it take to empty a waste bin?

It’s good to know that robots with all their artificial intelligence are not too high and mighty to empty the waste bins.

Of course being intelligent, they don’t just empty the bins. Oh no, they analyse what is in there, categorise it, list it and sort it out.

No more emptying the whole lot into a big black big liner and just throwing it out – like those lazy humans.

Each piece of litter is examined and separated according to its physical characteristics: paper in one pile, metal in another, glass another and plastic set aside for further analysis.  The real problem arises with composite materials – paper containing plastic is the worst.

At this point a robot must consult other robots – what did others do with that crisp wrapper or take away carton? Luckily our robots remember every decision and pass it on to the other robots in the building. 

When one learns, they all learn.

A little computer somewhere in the bowels of the building is recording, analysing and updating the collective mental model of the ‘rubbish’ robots. Or they might prefer a more grandiose title – maybe ‘recycling, saving the world’ robots.

Apparently such robots have been roaming the offices at Google for the past two years.

Next time you have a dinner party, try asking this question:

“How many robots does it take to empty the bins at Google offices?”

I have it on good authority that the answer is 40. 

‘…about 40 robots, some roving and others at workstations in a robot classroom, they share the same AI model, so as one learns, they all do.’ (@AlexWilkins22 New Scientist)

If you feel moved to check the facts . . .

Read more about the two year experiment at Google

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