Yes. When I was in college, I worked in a robotics lab that was responsible for an autonomous car. And my professor was, I remember he taught me the basics of AI. I was designing robots at this time, and there was a specific moment, I remember, where he said “Pick up a cup.” And he asked me to try to explain to him programmatically “How do you pick up a cup.” And that’s a REALLY hard problem! To pick up a cup, a robot or a human being uses our stereo vision to create a measurement of how far a cup is. Then we take in all our muscles we have in our body, and solve a very complicated optimization problem to figure out how do we use the least energy to get close to the cup. As we move our hands toward the cup, our eyes recalibrate and give us feedback until we hold it. Once we grab the cup, our fingers detect the force on the cup, until we have enough force to pick it up. And then there’s a whole lot of computer vision also to figure out “What is the cup” and “What shape is the cup.”
And everything here has error! So that moment is when I began realizing that our brains can be modeled in math. And there’s so much beauty in the complexity of that model. And I was hooked ever since. So everything we do, if you break it down to its components, it’s us humans solving all these math problems in our heads magically, reasoning about all this uncertainty, to act!
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could understand that better?
So the beauty of understanding that better inspired me to dive into studying robotics, so I studied robotics!