Robots will never be like humans because they have no self-awareness the scientists said. Yet it is the same scientists today who disprove this claim.
They were able to create a machine that looks in the mirror and understands what it is.
One of the taboos of robotics has been dispelled by the University of Colombia in New York. It didn’t even take long considering that it has only been a few years since technology research has been specializing in robots.
I don’t want to imagine what they will be able to do when their ability to think about the world and about themselves is developed.
In fact today, thanks to a group of researchers from the United States, coordinated by Hod Lipson, have succeeded in a miracle. As of today, we will have to start calling robots a little less robotic.
The experiment was performed with a robotic arm that was able to position itself using a mirror and exercise, in just 3 hours, until it became aware of its own body. Rather its own metallic mass.
Subsequently, he could easily move between proposed objects because he had learned how it was built.
The result of this project was published in Science Robotics. What happened with this experiment done in the American university remained unnoticed by the eye of many.
But it represents an important advance for the robots of the future, which will be able to interact autonomously with the environment around them.
THE ROBOT AWARE OF HIS BODY
The aim of the research was to demonstrate that a robot is able to autonomously learn how to move in the environment, understanding the shape and size of your body.
The researchers started with a robotic arm, powered by a computer, and made it perform simple movements inside an empty cube.
The arm was thus able to interact with its environment and process information on the shape and size of its body.
Later, researchers provided the arm with a mirror image of itself, so that it could confront its own “reflection” and understand that it has a three-dimensional body.
Finally, obstacles were added to the environment around the arm, so that it could understand its own mass and learn to move in order to avoid hitting obstacles.
The results of the research were remarkable: the robotic arm, in just 3 hours, was able to autonomously learn everything that was required of it.
A small step that t tells us a lot about the androids of the future, with an ability to understand one’s body and the surrounding environment, and to interact with it independently.
THE FIRST (PRIMITIVE) FORM OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS
The mechanical arm was initially devoid of data on its shape.
He was surrounded by 5 video cameras, whose data had access to the robot. Eventually, that footage was analyzed and correlated by its artificial intelligence.
So the robot taught itself. He did it independently and it worked. In fact, the mechanical arm avoided hitting objects and walls.
This is a fundamental ability for robots to really learn to interact with the environment that surrounds them and which in some way also appears to be the first form of self-awareness.
If we think about it this is the first interaction that children have with their bodies. Slowly learning to experience it by moving in the surrounding world. Humans also go through trial and error with the same results.
“Self-modeling is a primitive form of self-awareness – said Lipson -. Obviously here it is very trivial compared to that of human beings, but we have to start somewhere.”
He then added another scientist:
“Even if it is embryonic, it is certainly very interesting. Because if we want to integrate a sort of consciousness into the machines, it must be born through an architecture that makes it be born from the bottom.”
“It is necessary to start from perceptions, that is, from the data that the machine itself detects, it certainly cannot be the result of a programming imposed from above.”
Another case worth mentioning is that of the so-called “Mirror robotics.”
The experiment was presented at the international robotics and intelligent systems conference in Montreal.
It is one of the many types of research trying to give awareness to robots, teaching them to understand themselves and the world around them.
This experiment, carried out by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, is important because it demonstrates that robots can gain awareness of their own bodies, and the environment without any human intervention.
In the past, it was possible to get robots to understand the shape of their body, but this time the scientists were able to go a step further, showing that the robot is able to “see” itself and process a three-dimensional image of one’s body.
These two types of research open up new possibilities for the development of increasingly sophisticated robots, capable of interacting autonomously with the surrounding world.
Perhaps it was enough to teach him how one can have self-awareness. To teach the algorithms that end up in the beating hearts of androids. Then it can ask itself questions, it can observe itself, and we must first analyze ourselves before interacting with the world.
If you think about it, this last process is what we needed and we have been using it since we were prehistoric.
Those who fear that robots will become so intelligent will jeopardize the very future of humanity.
The hope is that they can be used to help man in dangerous or unpleasant activities, thus freeing the human being from the burden of physical and mental work.
The latter will be the most difficult challenge for man, to create rules to safeguard mankind. Ethics has always been the most difficult for communities.
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