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Bret Hartman/TED

Robots are coming for your jobs, regardless of what Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thinks. As evidenced on the TED stage Tuesday morning, robots are already capable of maneuvering around obstacles, trudging through snow and even getting themselves into college.

Boston Dynamics' Marc Raibert showed off his company's latest creations, inviting one on stage to autonomously bring him a soda. If that wasn't enough, the next speaker, Japanese AI expert Noriko Arai, showed off her effort to create a robot that can pass the top Tokyo university's rigorous admissions standards.

The future: Robots will soon be able to go into dangerous places, deliver packages and help take care of the elderly.

But: Robots still aren't much for human reasoning and conclusion-drawing.

On the physical side, robots are advancing quickly. Raibert noted that a humanoid robot that could lift 100 pounds weighed 375 pounds not too long ago. Now, that has been slimmed down to a 165-pound body.

Arai's talk was probably the more instructive on just how smart the robots have become. In preparing to apply to college, her robot managed to write a 600-word essay on the rise and fall of maritime trade in Southeast Asia in the 17th century, while taking into account the countries' various trade policies. "It wrote a better essay than most of the students," she said.

But, despite being able to pass the math test and write a decent essay, it couldn't pass the English tests and others that require reasoning,

"It doesn't understand any meaning," Arai said. But don't breathe too easily: the robot did get into several other Japanese schools.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

Joe Biden speaks during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shots. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.