Lots of robotty happenings in the news, on the web, and in the world at large. Here are a few to keep the synapses oiled:
Virtual pets can learn just like babies
"SIT," says the man. The dog tilts its head but does nothing. "Sit," the man repeats.
The dog lies down. "No!" the man admonishes.
Then, unable to get the dog to sit, the man decides to teach it by example. He sits down himself.
"I'm sitting. Try sitting," he says. The dog cocks its head attentively, folds its hind legs under its body and sits. "Good!" says the man.
No, it's not a rather bizarre way to teach your pet new tricks. It is a demonstration a synthetic character in a virtual world being controlled by an autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) program, which will be released to inhabitants of virtual worlds like Second Life later this year.
Governments around the world are rushing to develop military robots capable of killing autonomously without considering the legal and moral implications, warns a leading roboticist. But another robotics expert argues that robotic soldiers could perhaps be made more ethical than human ones.
Over 4000 semi-autonomous robots are already deployed by the US in Iraq, says Sharkey, and other countries – including several European nations, Canada, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore and Israel – are developing similar technologies.
A virtual child controlled by artificially intelligent software has passed a cognitive test regarded as a major milestone in human development. It could lead to smarter computer games able to predict human players' state of mind.
Children typically master the "false belief test" at age 4 or 5. It tests their ability to realise that the beliefs of others can differ from their own, and from reality.
The creators of the new character – which they called Eddie – say passing the test shows it can reason about the beliefs of others, using a rudimentary "theory of mind".
"Today's [video game] characters have no genuine autonomy or mental picture of who you are," researcher Selmer Bringsjord of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, told New Scientist.
And robots could potentially love me... Attending the ICA talk by David Levy on the 14th with Emma 'El Nog' Norman and a couple of other nice people. Let me know if you'd like to come:
14 April 2008
David Levy, an expert on artificial intelligence, comes to the ICA to argue that we are headed inexorably towards a society where human affection and human desire are extended into psychological and physical relationships with robots. Love and sex with robots, he argues, is a natural extension of the relationships which we have already cultivated first with pets, then with virtual pets, then with virtual avatars in Second Life.
Post title nicked with neither apology nor remorse from this great article in the Spring Edition of Intelligent Life.