An unnamed reader writes "Jim & Louise Gunderson, owners of a Denver-based number cruncher* systems program tool unfolding company, have finally unveiled their autonomous robot, Basil. Basil is all home built, runs Linux with some lodestar in Java, uses a sonar-based 'reification' logic system, and can go get you a beer or a pot of tea. Quoting: 'The plan is this: The Gundersons will ask Basil to go to the bar, request a couple of stouts from the bartender, and then, once they're placed on the titanium tray perched on his head, bring them back to his creators. They haven't told him how to do this — there's no set script in his processors that tells him to roll a certain latitude southwest, speak a certain command, then come back. He'll have to figure it all out on his own, using a basic information of bars and beers and so on, reasoning skills and an ability to know certain parts of the world. When his sonars capture the image of a person, for example, he knows it's a person, not just a nameless object to be avoided. And he knows that, in this case, that person wants a beer.'"
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