Robots play soccer at Geneva AI showcase

Nao robots of the Nomadz team, programmed by the ETHZ and Insait Bulgaria, play a game of soccer during the AI for Good Global summit on artificial intelligence, organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in Geneva, Switzerland, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - Teams of robots jostled on a miniature artificial soccer pitch as androids answered trivia questions and took jabs at human ignorance on Thursday at an artificial intelligence summit on the technology's wide-ranging uses.

Organisers said the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva showed the ways the technology could improve and even transform lives.

"Sometimes we think about AI as just something big," said Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General of the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which staged the event.

"At the same time AI can be embedded in so many more things in everyday life... Whether it's for flood forecasting, disaster management and early-warning systems, in agriculture, in health. It's across the board."

Displays showed off prosthetic limbs that could learn from a user's behaviour and adapt to muscle activity, devices to help visually impaired people avoid obstacles in the street and bionic cats and dogs built to act as companions.

The football-playing robots were the work of a group of students from the university of ETH Zurich.

The team kicked, passed and kept track of the ball based on input from sensors.

"The project allows our undergraduate and graduate students to collect experience on a full robotic platform," Jan-Nico Zaech, the project's scientific supervisor, said.

"It's a platform to test algorithms that can run in the real world afterwards."

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Cécile Mantovani and Denis Balibouse; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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