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What about claims that robots can become spiritual?

Merritt promptly converts the hypothetical question about salvatin for aliens—which depends, of course, on the assumption that Martians are beings much like ourselves—into: Are you there, God? It’s I, robot. Read More ›

What is it with the Japanese and robots?

Declining population is only one factor. Ancient cultural beliefs are another. I (O’Leary for News) wrote about this at Mind Matters: Ito sees our problems as originating in the idea that humans are special and urges that we “develop a respect for, and emotional and spiritual dialogue with, all things.” Illustrating this approach to life, in 2018, a 450-year-old Buddhist temple in Isumi held a funeral ceremony for 114 first-generation Aibo robotic dogs (“with priests in traditional robes chanting sutras and offering prayers for the departed plastic puppies.”), prior to recycling them. Production of the model had stopped in 2006 and the repair service was discontinued in 2014. “The little robots often arrive at the temple with notes or letters Read More ›

2018 AI Hype Countdown 6: Robert J. Marks on the claim, AI Can Even Find Loopholes in the Code!

AI adopts a solution in an allowed set, maybe not the one you expected:. In the same paper in which researchers purported to find examples of AI creativity, we also read the following statement about problems with performance: “Exacerbating the issue, it is often functionally simpler for evolution to exploit loopholes in the quantitative measure than it is to achieve the actual desired outcome.” One example they offered of this type of gaming the system was a walking digital robot that moved more quickly by somersaulting than by using a normal walking gait. That was a very interesting result. But again—recognized or not — somersaults were allowed in the solution set offered by the programmer. … I was once working Read More ›

9: Will That Army Robot Squid Ever Be “Self-Aware”?

From the 2018 AI Hype Countdown at Mind Matters #9: AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: What would it take for a robot to be self-aware? The Army Times headline would jolt your morning coffee: Army researchers are developing a self-aware squid-like robot you can 3D print in the field Reporter Todd South helpfully adds, “your next nightmare.” The thrill of fear invites the reader to accept the metaphorical claim that the robot will be “self-aware” as a literal fact. Although we could, for technical reasons, quibble with the claim that the robot squid will be printed in 3D, we won’t just now. Let’s focus instead on the seductive semantics of the term “self-aware.” For humans, Oxford tells Read More ›

Why it’s hard to model robots on human behavior

As robotics engineer Ken Goldberg explains, What has working with robots taught you about being human? It has taught me to have a huge appreciation for the nuances of human behavior and the inconsistencies of humans. There are so many aspects of human unpredictability that we don’t have a model for. When you watch a ballet or a dance or see a great athlete and realize the amazing abilities, you start to appreciate those things that are uniquely human. The ability to have an emotional response, to be compelling, to be able to pick up on subtle emotional signals from others, those are all things that we haven’t made any progress on with robots. What’s the most creative thing a Read More ›