When it comes to robots, most people today seem to be more welcoming of them rather than the opposite. But as the technology for creating robots is rapidly becoming more advanced, it may only be a matter of time before this mindset may change. Combining robotics and artificial intelligence may not be that scary right now, but there is a chance that it may just become one of the ore scarier thoughts of the future. Some famous personalities such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking has warned against developing advanced artificial intelligence machines and how they might have a frightening effect on human future. But many researchers are still trying to advance the technology behind intelligent robots. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have even created a mother robot that can create robots that evolve and become better after each generation.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a mother robot that can create children robots that improve after each generation. It all starts with a robotic arm that can build robots that can move using five plastic cubes with built in motors. Each cube comes with a unique “genome” that is a combination between one and five. The genome gives the robot its unique attributes in terms of its shape, motion commands and its construction. The researchers believe that given the capacity and intelligence of the mother robot, it will be able to create robots that can adapt to their different environments, in a way trying to mimic the process of natural selection by choosing and doing away with different genes. The mother robot was given only a single command to construct a robot capable of moving. Without any human intervention and computer simulation, the mother robot was successful in doing just that.
The mother robot was then made to undergo five separate experiments where the robot designed, created and tested generations of robots of up to ten generations. The robot then tested each child robot’s performance by measuring how far it can travel within a certain amount of time. The best performing robots advanced into the next generation without changes while the mother robot used a combination of genomes for the slower ones.
The results showed that the mother robot was able to drive the evolution of the child robots from one generation to the next. It was a success, so much so that the final generation of robots moved twice as fast than the fastest robots in the first generation. The mother robot was able to boost the robots’ performance through design improvement and inventing new shapes and patterns that affect movement.
According to Dr. Fumiya Iida of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge and the lead researcher of the said study, “Natural selection is basically reproduction, assessment, reproduction, assessment and so on. That’s essentially what this robot is doing, we can actually watch the improvement and diversification of the species.”
The research may indicate that future, robots may actually be able to craft improvements even when left to their own devices. They may even be better at it than what most humans can offer. Even though the robots may not prove a threat today, advancements of this ability may have the possibility of future robots that may be better, bigger and more intelligent that its human master.