In February 2023, the artificial intelligence automaton ChatGPT garnered global acclaim, engendering extensive attention and fervent discourse. Programmers can employ it for debugging (rectifying and troubleshooting), international students can utilize it for composing documents, employees can employ it for crafting emails, screenwriters can avail themselves of its prowess for scripting, and civil servants preparing for examinations can utilize it to produce essays… ChatGPT has only existed for a mere two years. In January, its user base surpassed 100 million worldwide, evoking recollections of the advent of the world’s inaugural automaton, the “pioneer of automatons” Joseph Engelberg. Typically, people are prone to extol scientists for their gravitas, dedication, and steadfastness, placing emphasis on their neglect of love and family. In truth, scientists are also sentient beings, and they too experience their own amorous entanglements, as was the case with Engelberg. He has achieved prodigious feats in his career, and his romantic journey has likewise encountered vicissitudes, epitomizing an intriguing narrative within the scientific realm.
There exists no absolute right or wrong in matters of love, and ardor invariably remains ruthless. On July 26, 1925, Joseph Engelberger was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of German immigrants. From a tender age, his mind teemed with an array of ideas. Even during class, the queries he posed often left his teachers at a loss for answers. In a state of desperation, they advised him to immerse himself in literature, asserting that the answers he sought would invariably reside within the pages.
Consequently, Engelberg embarked upon an extensive reading odyssey. Among his favorites was a compendium titled “World Book Encyclopedia,” which he perused for hours on end. Frequently, he would immerse himself in profound contemplation, sensing that an enchanting realm lay concealed within seemingly ordinary words.
Engelberg graduated from Bridgeport Bassick High School in 1942, subsequently joining the Navy and serving in the Marshall Islands for a span of four years. Upon retiring, he enrolled at Columbia University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
In 1950, he chanced upon Asimov’s anthology of novels, “I, Robot,” and found himself utterly captivated. This literary work expounded upon an assortment of robotic prototypes, including those incapable of speech, those adept at comprehending human language, and even those capable of deceit. However, at that time, tangible automatons had yet to be realized, with everything remaining confined to the realm of science fiction. Nevertheless, upon digesting the narrative, Engelberg was struck by the notion of constructing a robot.
Engelberg embarked on an exhaustive search for information but encountered obstacles that deterred his progress. He grew reticent, seldom initiating conversation unless it pertained to his pursuit for knowledge. He chose to chart his own course, dismissing concerns about being regarded as eccentric, instead prioritizing the expeditious development of a robot.
One fortuitous day, Clarity, the sister of Engelberg’s friend Heisenberg, paid a visit to her brother and happened upon Engelberg. His unwavering focus immediately captivated Clarity. Love, at times, displays its wondrous nature. Although Engelberg was not particularly eloquent, his striking countenance served as the most eloquent expression. Clarity found solace in his presence.
However, Engelberg remained engrossed in his robot research, viewing Clarity as nothing more than a younger sibling. Often, they would spend hours together, enveloped in silence. Clarity, content with her quietude, resembled a mellifluous fairy.
Several days later, Clarity returned to her hometown. Following her departure, she initiated a correspondence with Engelberg. Alas, their relationship was decidedly lopsided. Clarity would pen lengthy missives spanning several pages, while Engelberg would only offer brief replies.
This state of affairs endured for half a year, yet Clarity persisted undeterred, faithfully composing long, affectionate letters with unwavering punctuality. Regrettably, one fateful day, Engelberg’s response shattered her hopes. He declared, “You know I do not love you. If I were to feign affection, it would be a disservice. It is best for you to depart from my life.”
Confronted with such coldness, Clarity’s ardent heart waned, leaving her dispirited. She chose to cease her correspondence. However, the world possesses a peculiar nature. As Clarity turned away, Engelberg, who had never experienced love before, felt as though he had lost something invaluable. After much contemplation, he took the initiative to pen a letter to Clarity: “The absence of your letters saddens me, and it becomes evident that I still harbor profound yearning for you.” Clarity experienced a mix of emotions upon receiving the missive,but she remained cautious. She replied, expressing her reservations and the pain caused by Engelberg’s previous dismissal. She requested time to reflect on their situation and determine if they could rebuild their connection.
Engelberg, realizing the depth of his feelings for Clarity, accepted her request and vowed to be patient. He recognized the importance of understanding and respecting her emotions, acknowledging the hurt he had caused. Days turned into weeks, and finally, Clarity reached a decision. She agreed to give their relationship another chance, but on the condition that Engelberg would prioritize their connection and not let his passion for robotics overshadow their bond.
Engelberg readily agreed, understanding that love required compromise and nurturing. He realized that his pursuit of scientific achievements should not come at the expense of human connections. With newfound determination, Engelberg embarked on a journey of self-discovery, learning to balance his passion for robotics with his love for Clarity.
Over time, their relationship blossomed. Engelberg’s dedication and commitment to Clarity became evident as he made a conscious effort to express his love and appreciation for her. He learned to set aside his work when they were together, devoting his undivided attention to their shared moments. Clarity, in turn, supported Engelberg’s scientific endeavors, providing encouragement and understanding when he faced challenges.
As the years went by, Engelberg’s pioneering work in robotics gained recognition, and his love for Clarity remained steadfast. Together, they faced triumphs and setbacks, celebrating each other’s successes and providing solace during difficult times.
Engelberg’s passion for robots and artificial intelligence never waned, but he found a way to integrate it into his life without neglecting his relationship with Clarity. They became partners in both love and science, with Clarity offering valuable insights and support to Engelberg’s groundbreaking work.
Their story serves as a reminder that love and passion need not be mutually exclusive. It demonstrates the transformative power of understanding, compromise, and the ability to learn from past mistakes. Engelberg’s journey highlights the importance of nurturing both personal relationships and professional ambitions, showing that true fulfillment lies in finding a harmonious balance between the two.
Engelberg and Clarity’s story resonates with many, inspiring individuals to prioritize love and relationships while pursuing their passions. Their tale reminds us that even brilliant scientists are not immune to the complexities of love and that finding the right balance can lead to a life of fulfillment and happiness.
Back in the laboratory, Engelberg excitedly told Maria the news, but he also knew that he would have to say goodbye to Maria as soon as the company opened.
Time flies, two years have passed by, but Engelberg has never said what he wanted to say to Maria. Now, he decided to express his love in person before leaving.
It was very windy on the day of departure, as if to see Engelberg off, he looked into Maria’s eyes affectionately: “Maria, I have actually been…”
But before he could say anything, Maria stopped him: “Don’t say anything. , I understand everything, wouldn’t it be great if we could be teachers and students forever?”
Engelberg understood. He raised his head and tried to smile, but as soon as the smile ran to Maria, it was The cold wind swept away her face, leaving only her familiar yet unfamiliar face.
Engelberg felt like he was falling out of love, but it seemed like he wasn’t, because it seemed like everything was over before it even started. In the evening, he made an exception and went to a restaurant to have a drink. He never thought that he would also feel so drunk.
After a few glasses of wine, his body warmed up and his face turned red. A figure moved in front of his eyes, and he saw Maria’s bright eyes again. Those eyes were getting closer and closer to him, and finally stopped on the opposite side of the table. He rubbed his eyes vigorously and saw clearly that those eyes were indeed almost exactly the same as Maria’s, but the person sitting opposite was clearly another girl. The girl said: “My name is Margo Thomas. This restaurant is opened by my mother. I think you drank a little too much. Drink less and pay attention to your health.” Engelberg was shocked. This feeling of déjà vu made
him He felt very warm, but he didn’t know yet that the most important person in his life had appeared.
In the dark world, we are destined to meet each other.
Marge Thomas was born in Stratford on April 27, 1921, the daughter of Ross and Steve Thomas, and graduated from Stratford High School, where her classmates She was unanimously voted “the most popular school beauty”. She was also an outstanding athlete, playing on the high school softball team and being the first female lifeguard in Connecticut.
During the Great Depression, she worked as a stenographer during the day and as a hostess at her mother’s restaurant at night, where she met Engelberg. Engelberg was a junior engineer at the time, and she was attracted to his aura and took an immediate interest in him. Every evening, he would sit in her small restaurant.
As soon as they sat there, feelings gradually developed, and they soon fell in love. Although she was in love, Margot was very sober. She supported Engelberg’s career and encouraged him to start a company that produces robots as soon as possible.
In 1957, Engelberg attracted the first pot of gold – an investment of US$3 million, and then he immediately founded Unimation, the world’s first robot company.
After two years of research and development, a robot weighing 2 tons but with an accuracy of 1/10000 of an inch was born. It is the world’s first industrial robot Unimet. Although this product was large and cumbersome and could only complete very simple tasks, it had a milestone significance for robots. Engelberg has since been called the “Father of Robots.”
However, what Engelberg didn’t expect was that as the company’s CEO, he firmly believed that technological innovations like Unimet could greatly improve efficiency, so he had high hopes for his “son”, but unfortunately he couldn’t sell it. , because most companies at that time were not optimistic about the new concept of robots, and no one wanted to believe Engelberg’s words.
He was a little frustrated. Robots can double their efficiency, so why doesn’t anyone believe it? Looking at Unimet, he was in a daze. If it could not be applied to the market, the robot would be useless.
Just as he was hesitating, Marge came out and said: “Actually, promoting robots and opening a restaurant are the same. You have to think about your target customers first. You know very well from the beginning that the cost of research and development of robots is very high, and only big companies can You can afford it, so you initially set the research and development direction on heavy manufacturing services. Now many companies are rejecting robots because they don’t understand them yet, so you can start with the largest General Motors Company and treat them as target customers. ”
When Engelberg heard this, he suddenly realized that he had only remembered the success of robot development and actually ignored his original intention. So he began to lobby General Motors, hoping that they would buy a robot. However, because there had never been such a thing before, the other party was also skeptical about this product.
But Engelberg did not give up. He kept lobbying until 1961, when General Motors finally agreed to install one at its New Jersey plant, which is closest to New York. However, the cost of the first Unimation robot was $60,000, and their receiving price was only $25,000. This is equivalent to a loss of more than half of the loss. How can I explain it to the company? After knowing this, Marge said: “You can give it a try. Although it is a loss-making business, as long as your robot is recognized by everyone, you will definitely be able to open up the market.” After hearing this, Engelberg felt filled with power
. Eventually, he sold the first robot to General Motors at a loss. Unexpectedly, the role of the robot suddenly emerged. Not only does it move accurately and never tire, it is also not afraid of high temperatures and pollution. For example, when welding work is in a high-temperature environment, harmful gases will be produced, and workers will be poisoned if they are not careful, but robots are not. these questions.
As a result, General Motors began ordering more robots to install in factories around the world, and their tasks expanded to welding, painting, bonding and assembly. Soon, the advantages of robots became apparent. It helped General Motors achieve a revolutionary breakthrough in automated production, consolidating and expanding its industry leading position.
Next, other automobile companies followed suit and used robots in their own assembly lines. The American Robotics Association later commented that Engelberg’s invention completely changed the process of modern industry and automobile manufacturing.
In 1958, Engelberg and Margot completed their long-distance love affair and successfully entered the palace of marriage. After marriage, they had two children, one named Guy Engelberg and the other named Jeff Engelberg.
The married life was happy and harmonious. Engelberg concentrated on his career, while Margot stayed at home raising her husband and raising children. On a regular day, she serves as a Girl Scout leader, Sunday Bible School teacher, Newtown Garden Club member, and committee member for numerous fundraisers for Danbury Hospital.
Not only was she a wonderful wife and mother, she was also a wonderful cook who created beautiful craftsmanship and intricate handicrafts. Engelberg always said proudly: “She hooked every carpet in the whole house by hand.”
The birth of the first robot Unimet set off a revolution in automated production, and production efficiency was greatly improved, but in industrial robots While it was a hit, Engelberg didn’t stop there.
After observing his elderly parents, Engelberg thought robots could have applications in the medical field. In 1984, he founded Transitions Research Company and built the medical delivery robot HelpMate. This robot walks through the hospital corridors, delivers meals, medicines, and mail to patients, and records the patient’s condition.
He hoped that this type of medical home robot would create a new industry, and in 1988 he sold the first HelpMate to Danbury Hospital in the Connecticut city where his company was based. The medical robot was so successful that the hospital eventually purchased another one. Within a decade, more than 100 hospitals around the world were operating HelpMate.
In order to pay tribute to the forward thinking and unremitting contributions of the “Father of Robotics”, the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) has held the annual “Engelberg Award” since the 1970s. “Because of Engelberg, robotics became a global industry that revolutionized manufacturing, and he was ahead of his time in how robots were designed and used inside and outside factories,” said Jeff Bernstein, president of the Robotics Industries Association. He envisioned insect- and bird-based robots decades ago, a development we are finally seeing today.” In a 1995
interview with Singapore’s Business Times, Engelberg said: ” When you are a roboticist, you end up developing a great respect for what God has created.” In 2007, Engelberg was devastated when his wife Marg, who had been with him for many years, passed away. On December 1, 2015, Engelberg also died of illness at the age of 90.
Following Engelberg’s philosophy, in order to prevent robots from harming humans, the famous American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov proposed the famous “Three Principles of Robotics”: first, robots must not harm humans, or stand by while seeing humans being harmed; second, The robot must obey human orders, unless this order contradicts the first one; third, the robot must protect itself, unless this protection contradicts the above two items.
In February 2023, the artificial intelligence robot ChatGPT became popular all over the world. Tracing its roots, it is still closely related to Engelberg’s concept. It was the invention of the first robot that brought artificial intelligence to where it is today. Of course, although ChatGPT has a huge amount of knowledge, it does not mean that it is “Artificial general intelligence” (AGI), or even far away.
General artificial intelligence is the ultimate goal of artificial intelligence AI! It refers specifically to general artificial intelligence. This field is mainly focused on developing all-round machines that think like humans and perform a variety of purposes like humans. Nowadays, as mainstream AI research is gradually moving towards intelligence in a certain field, such as common visual robots, statistical analysis, voice input, etc., it has long been far away from the original intention of creating “all-round” general artificial intelligence.
If you want to create a general artificial intelligence robot like in science fiction novels, there is currently no breakthrough in theory. Although the underlying theory of ChatGPT has long been mature, innovation is still needed in the underlying principles. It is undeniable that ChatGPT is a very successful product, and Engelberg is forever the “father of robots.”