Using machine learning to teach robots to get dressed


Originally published at:


“I’m a real boy!”


I for one welcome our new naked robotic overlords.


This will certainly increase productivity at the clothes stores when the mannequins dress themselves.


And then they leak your size data to the Russian mafia in the van in the parking lot. And then they become self-aware and attack!


In all earnest, I read the headline as "Using machine learning to teach robots to get depressed ".



I find the simulated human to be so weirdly far from appearing human that I find it quite endearing. Is this the opposite of the uncanny valley?


Aw, I was really hoping to see some earlier-generation catastrophic failure animations where the simulated robot wound up horribly tangled in the shirt.


Or ripped up deliberately in frustration.


“Your algorithm dresses you funny!”


Sex toys with arms, putting on jackets. Truly we live in an age of miracles.



– Shel Silverstein


Well they still won’t ever beat me until you teach them to put the shirt on backwards and or inside out randomly and to spill foodstuffs in the center on lunch break.


This will come in super handy someday.


“Does my algorithm look fat in this?”


It looks smaller in hexadecimal.


The other morning I came out to both of my kids dressed like a cross between Kris Kross and Björk. I redressed them, but somehow between the living room, bathroom and the car, my eldest’s pants were taken off and put on backwards again. I didn’t notice.

The kindergarten teacher said she saw that her pants were backwards, and she sent her the restroom to adjust her wardrobe.

I laughed about it with my spouse who said, “Are your shorts are inside out‽ Good thing the teacher didn’t notice. I’m pretty sure it’s genetic.” Ha!!!


I dont expect anyone who’s young and in good health to really give a shit about this research. But I know some people who would benefit greatly from having a robot help them get dressed, and I’m of an age where I expect to have robotic help with daily chores before I keel over.

And the failure modes are so very important when fragile human flesh comes into contact with robotic machinery. Joke about sex bots all you want, but having a robot that can safely turn you over when you’re bed bound, that’s a huge deal.

The other sector that will take notice of this research, will be clothing design. Expect garments for old people to be reinforced differently, and maybe even RFID tags embedded in the clothing, just to make the robots’ work more reliable.

I get it, really, that when you’re young and feel immortal, this seems like harmless, humorous, pointless busywork. But it seems like theres just one additional birthday candle on the cake, that flips one’s perspective entirely, and it becomes all too plausible that yes indeed, you will eventually get old enough to need help getting dressed. At that point, even basic dignity becomes a commodity in short supply. This kind of engineering promises to empower disabled old farts (that’s all of us who dont die a clean, young death) to still leave our bedrooms.

This is a pretty big deal, if you look at it just the right way. (For everyone else, HA HA!)1514991621


Yes, but does it make my butt look fat?