We seem to be living in a golden age of robotics and artificial intelligence. These days, we can’t even go a few weeks without hearing about some wild new advancement that brings the notion of futuristic and intelligent robots that much closer to reality. Of course, at the same time, each new advancement also brings with it a certain level of fear, a point driven home by Tesla CEO Elon Musk who said that exceedingly advanced AI can be fundamentally dangerous.
Case in point: researchers at the University of Cambridge recently developed an intelligent robot capable of having children. Which is to say, the robot was programmed to assemble smaller robots and can even monitor the progress of its creations as to improve the building process in subsequent builds. All the more impressive, this is all done without any human intervention or external computer simulations.
“The blocks are assembled into a structure by the robot arm, and the motors are turned on,” CNBC explained in a report. “A camera detects how far the blocks are able to travel. The robot arm sees this, and then modifies the next “baby” to try to make it go further, learning from the mistakes and good traits of the last one.”
“Machines usually build the same thing and what it will do and it will do it over again,” one of the researchers explained. “What we did here was use a genetic algorithm so each operation is different,”
So while this advancement is breathtakingly cool, it’s also somewhat jarring.
Video of the robot in action can be viewed below.
And speaking of intelligent and advanced robotics, researchers at MIT recently developed a robot with human-like reflexes.