Japan has come up with a robot that seems to demonstrate self awareness.
A new robot can recognize the difference between a mirror image of itself and another robot that looks just like it.
This so-called mirror image cognition is based on artificial nerve cell groups built into the robot’s computer brain that give it the ability to recognize itself and acknowledge others.
The ground-breaking technology could eventually lead to robots able to express emotions.
Under development by Junichi Takeno and a team of researchers at Meiji University in Japan, the robot represents a big step toward developing self-aware robots and in understanding and modeling human self-consciousness.
“In humans, consciousness is basically a state in which the behavior of the self and another is understood,” said Takeno.
In one experiment, a robot representing the “self” was paired with an identical robot representing the “other.”
When the self robot moved forward, stopped or backed up, the other robot did the same. The pattern of neurons firing and the subsequent flashes of blue light indicated that the self robot understood that the other robot was imitating its behavior.
In another experiment, the researchers placed the self robot in front of a mirror.
In this case, the self robot and the reflection (something it could interpret as another robot) moved forward and back at the same time. Although the blue lights fired, they did so less frequently than in other experiments.
In fact, 70 percent of the time, the robot understood that the mirror image was itself. Takeno’s goal is to reach 100 percent in the coming year.
I regard this as a big deal. Developments like this one are important steps towards a true Artificial Intelligence. One that is potentially smarter than us humans. AI is the only technology which can come up with more technology all by itself. Therefore, AI will likely be the last invention mankind need ever come up with.
Also have a look at the latest developments in Honda’s Asimo to get an idea of where things are headed, and how fast it’s going.
For more details on the implications of artificial intelligence, and the exponential acceleration thereof, read the Singularity FAQ.