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In artificial intelligence research there is a concept of affordances, that is instead of teaching an artificial intelligence to identify specific objects, the AI is trained to ask the question "what can I do with that object?"


Is it graspable? is it throwable?

this approach is brought to self defense in the mixed martial arts, and there's this handy page with a simple taxonomy:


Classes of Improvised Weapons

Different classes of improvised weapons include:

1. Stick-like objects. Attack with swings or stabs. Examples: umbrella, fireplace poker, baseball bat, rolling pin, pool cue, tree branch, mop/broom handle, wrench.

2. Stone-like objects. Throw or hold in hand for delivering punches. Examples: ashtray, tumbler, statuette, bottle, plate, can.

3. Small objects. Distract the attackers attention. Examples: coins, wristwatch, keys.

4. Shield-like objects. Stop or deflect a strike, can be rigid or soft. Examples: wood board, chair, trash can lid, large saucepan, shoulder bag, briefcase.

5. Knife like objects. Stab or slash. Examples: broken bottle, scissors, sharp piece of metal, knitting needle, screwdriver.

6. Rope-like objects. Lash, entwine, strike, or tie up. Examples: rope, bicycle chain with lock, chain, belt.

7. Liquids and sprays. Throw or spray into face. Examples: beverage, hot coffee, soup, handful of sand, fire extinguisher.

8. Structures. Push or pull attacker into a stationary object. Examples: Table, counter, pole.

9. Combinations of the above. Some objects have 2 or more of the above characteristics. A chair can be used as a shield and stick. Sharp piece of glass thrown is both a stone and knife.

You can also use flaming or heated objects, and those carrying high voltage.

the goal is to make adaptive AI that can thrive in complex environments by teaching them "it's not what it is, but what you can do with it that counts."


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
It's like in a Jackie Chan movie. I have a feeling that they have set dressers stick a bunch of stuff in the room that will have the fight scene in and Jackie walks in and works out the weirdest ways he can use everything in it.
May. 10th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Jackie Chan choreography is a good example, I think.

The above list evokes images of aggressive grannies and bogan bar fights. I guess even those guy show some sort of 'affordance' when required :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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