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Quantum Logic Could Make Better Robot Bartenders


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Researchers are studying how quantum logic can be used to give robots multiple personalities to make them act more like humans.

University of Monash roboticist Simon Egerton was inspired to explore quantum logic in robotics by a story, written by Intel chip manufacturer Brian David Johnson, about a bartender robot named Jimmy that has multiple personalities. There is a scene in the story in which Jimmy learns he has multiple personalities and starts questioning his creator's drink orders, instead of just refilling drinks. "That inspired me to take that scene in the story and feed it back into the science now," Egerton says.

Egerton and his colleagues have set up a competition to find a program that instructs a bartender robot to question the customer's nonsensical drink order. The drink order serves as the input, which can result in different personality outputs, such as a question or a sassy refusal to fill the order. The outcome is "not irrationality, but a very structured way of jumping between different contexts," says Vrije Universiteit Brussel researcher Diederik Aerts.

The researchers plan to release a set of quantum logic controllers for programmers to incorporate into their own bartender programs for the competition.

From New Scientist
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