DO ME A favour and grab an object near you. Anything will do. Even if it’s something you’ve never handled before, odds are your brain automatically worked out how you should grasp the thing and with what force. It’s the kind of clever dexterity that makes you human. (You are human, I hope?)
Ask a robot to do the same and you’ll either get a blank stare or a crumpled object in the cold, cold grasp of a machine. Because robots are good at repetitive tasks that require a lot of strength, but they’re still bad at learning how to manipulate novel objects. Which is why today a company called Embodied Intelligence has emerged from stealth mode to fuse the strengths of robots and people into a new system that could make it far easier for regular folk to teach robots new tasks. Think of it as a VR videogame—only you get to control a hulking robot.