Are We Obsolete Now That Robots Can Build Robots?
It’s happened, the University of Cambridge setup an experiment in which a mother robot built some baby robots. Big deal, you say? Robots build things all the time. What makes this experiment different is the mother robot took the most preferred traits from the first generation and passed it down to the next generation in order to build a better robot the second time around. In other words, natural selection was used to develop a better robot. From University of Cambridge’s website:
“Natural selection is basically reproduction, assessment, reproduction, assessment and so on,” said lead researcher Dr Fumiya Iida of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who worked in collaboration with researchers at ETH Zurich. “That’s essentially what this robot is doing – we can actually watch the improvement and diversification of the species.” As in nature, evolution in robots takes place through ‘mutation’, where components of one gene are modified or single genes are added or deleted, and ‘crossover’, where a new genome is formed by merging genes from two individuals.
Autonomous Robots is a growing field and one that will take off like a rocket once it gets off the ground. Many fear that it will grow out of control putting people out of work and with Artificial Intelligence, something more sinister may be ahead. It will definitely be a brand new world ahead, but I believe one that could be a lot of fun. We just need to manage the upheaval that comes with such a massive change in society. Just hang in there folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The paper on the experiment was published on PLOS ONE