Researchers at Columbia University say they’ve built a robot arm that can construct a self-image from scratch — a capability they frame, provocatively, as a step toward machines that are truly self-aware.
The article was originally published on Futurism. This is just a theme demo site.
“This is perhaps what a newborn child does in its crib, as it learns what it is,” said Hod Lipson, a professor of mechanical engineering who worked on the robot, in a press release. “We conjecture that this advantage may have also been the evolutionary origin of self-awareness in humans. While our robot’s ability to imagine itself is still crude compared to humans, we believe that this ability is on the path to machine self-awareness.”
The robot arm, described in a new paper in the journal Science Robotics, learns how to operate by experimenting — with no programming about physics, geometry or its own construction.
But after a flailing around process the researchers call “babbling” and a period of “intensive computing,” the arm’s algorithm starts to make sense of the world. After its self-discovery process, according to the researchers, it managed to handle complex situations including repairing itself and writing text with a marker.