Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Robot That Thinks Like You

The original article with the same name really demonstrates how AI-researchers have moved away from simple, rule-based expert-systems, which were considered to be artificial intelligence a long, long time ago.

That was in the so-called AI-winter, when AI had not lived up to the early promises of true intelligence, and science had given up on it.

Luckily, AI has gone through revival-period and is now far from dead:

Scientists built a robot that thinks like we do and set it loose to explore the world.

The infant crawls across a floor strewn with blocks, grabbing and tasting as it goes, its malleable mind impressionable and hungry to learn. Before my eyes it is already adapting, discovering that the striped blocks are yummy and the spotted ones taste bad.

Its exploration is driven by instincts: an interest in bright objects, a predilection for tasting things, and an innate notion of what tastes good. This, after all, is how babies explore the world and discover that pink, perky objects exist, and that they produce milk. Hands-on exploration moulds their billions of untrained brain cells into a fully functioning brain.

The infant I am watching wander around its rather spartan playpen in the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) in La Jolla, California, is a more limited creature. It is a trashcan-shaped robot called Darwin VII, and it has just 20,000 brain cells. Despite this, it has managed to master the ...

I sure wish I could see a picture of this thing. I also wish I had access to the full article. Unfortunately, I'd have to pay 5 bucks for it and I don't feel like going through the trouble of international payment, because I'm lazy.

Another recent breakthrough in AI was a few weeks back, when autonomous cars drove themselves 130 miles in 6.5 hours.

For details on the implications of AI, see the Singularity FAQ.

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1 comment:

G-man said...

Do a google search for Darwin VII and you will get some scientific articles describing its theory (and the original Darwin, too!)