Pieter Abbeel — Robotics, Startups, and Robotics Startups

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Pieter is the Chief Scientist and Co-founder at Covariant, where his team is building universal AI for robotic manipulation. Pieter also hosts The Robot Brains Podcast, in which he explores how far humanity has come in its mission to create conscious computers, mindful machines, and rational robots.

Lukas and Pieter explore the state of affairs of robotics in 2021, the challenges of achieving consistency and reliability, and what it'll take to make robotics more ubiquitous. Pieter also shares some perspective on entrepreneurship, from how he knew it was time to commercialize Gradescope to what he looks for in co-founders to why he started Covariant.

Show notes: http://wandb.me/gd-pieter-abbeel

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Connect with Pieter:

📍 Twitter: https://twitter.com/pabbeel

📍 Website: https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~pabbeel/

📍 The Robot Brains Podcast: https://www.therobotbrains.ai/

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Timestamps:

0:00 Intro

1:15 The challenges of robotics

8:10 Progress in robotics

13:34 Imitation learning and reinforcement learning

21:37 Simulated data, real data, and reliability

27:53 The increasing capabilities of robotics

36:23 Entrepreneurship and co-founding Gradescope

44:35 The story behind Covariant

47:50 Pieter's communication tips

52:13 What Pieter's currently excited about

55:08 Focusing on good UI and high reliability

57:01 Outro

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