AI Video Competition Results Are Worth Seeing
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 08 February 2015

This year's AAAI Video Competition is over and the winners announced. And it isn't just the winning videos that are worth a look. 

This is the ninth AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) video competition and this year it included a people's choice award run by RoboHub.

The rules are simple:

Compose a short video about an exciting AI project, and narrate it so that it is accessible to a broad online audience. We strongly encourage student participation. 

The winners are presented Shakeys, which are named after the pioneering Shakey robot built at SRI. 

The best video was Teaching a robot to Write by students at the EPFL. It is a very slick presentation of using Nao to do something that would have been unthinkable using robots just a short time ago:

 

 

 

I'm not at all sure about the basic aim, to use robots as targets for lessons that serve to teach the teacher. Human children are far cheaper and much more flexible in the role, but the technological challenges are interesting. 

The best Student entry video is a swarm robot video featuring Kilobots trying to collectively decide on where to nest - yes nest. It starts off with a very nice explanation of the wisdom of crowds as a justification for studying swarm behaviour:

 

 

The People's Choice is, to my mind, a bit strange. The sound quality is terrible and the description is over the top. The idea is that simple symbol-based AI is used to give Mario a life of his own. The user can talk to Mario. The techniques are simple and appropriate but the language - Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent - is the sort of thing that brings AI into disrepute. The wider tech media has also picked it up as something sensational.  It is, however, a really good example of how very simple symbolic AI can seem to provide real intelligence in a sufficiently small micro-world - in this case a platform computer game.

 

I'm not sure what this people's choice says about the people, but I hope the wisdom of the crowd does better next year. 

There are some really interesting videos that didn't get a Shakey and you can see them on the competition's You Tube page. Make sure you check them out.

My favourites are - High Stakes, CoStar and Online POMDP Planning. 

What are yours and why? Send us your comments.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 February 2015 )