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Robotics Science Technology

Evolving Robots Learn To Prey On Each Other 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-can-only-end-well dept.
quaith writes "Dario Floreano and Laurent Keller report in PLoS ONE how their robots were able to rapidly evolve complex behaviors such as collision-free movement, homing, predator versus prey strategies, cooperation, and even altruism. A hundred generations of selection controlled by a simple neural network were sufficient to allow robots to evolve these behaviors. Their robots initially exhibited completely uncoordinated behavior, but as they evolved, the robots were able to orientate, escape predators, and even cooperate. The authors point out that this confirms a proposal by Alan Turing who suggested in the 1950s that building machines capable of adaptation and learning would be too difficult for a human designer and could instead be done using an evolutionary process. The robots aren't yet ready to compete in Robot Wars, but they're still pretty impressive."
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Evolving Robots Learn To Prey On Each Other

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:35PM (#30963602) Homepage
    It's a rather good article at any rate. Would read again! (Actually, will have to read it a couple of times to understand it).

    And good job to who or whatever managed to pick this article out of the myriad of bloody stupid iPad stories we've been getting lately.
  • Evolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thehostiles (1659283) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:37PM (#30963628)
    actually, as of now, these robots are just programs in a physics computer experiment... so if they were to evolve to be smart, we'd have a computer virus instead of an actual robot that is evolving. I wonder, if a robot program like this were let loose on the internet, and was capable of learning... what would it learn?
  • by radtea (464814) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:02PM (#30963910)

    Compared to the rest of the summary, which says: "The authors point out that this confirms a proposal by Alan Turing who suggested in the 1950s that building machines capable of adaptation and learning would be too difficult for a human designer and could instead be done using an evolutionary process. The robots aren't yet ready to compete in Robot Wars, but they're still pretty impressive." getting the journal wrong is a pretty trivial error.

    These machines were designed and built by humans to be capable of adaptation and learning, so it actually proves Turing's thesis false. They then use the adaptation and learning capability their human designers built into them to adapt and learn, but according to the very next sentence don't produce outcomes that are as good as purely human-designed ones.

    So why bring Turing's name into it at all? I suspect marketing has something to do with it. Which is too bad, because the results themselves are quite interesting, although I'm curious how the robots reproduce... if this actually an evolutionary system rather than a merely adaptive/learning one. For the confused: growing children do not "evolve", except in the loosest and least interesting metaphorical sense. They learn. As near as I can tell these robots do the same thing.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @04:06PM (#30964982)
    If you want to do this right then have your robots spend more time with humans than other robots. This way we can evolve a robot who plays well with other people, than with other robots.

    That's what I'm sure my favorite robot SF authors -- Elf Sternberg and D.B. Story -- have planned for their robots. I would love to meet either of their creations.
  • Re:Evolution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cptnapalm (120276) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:00PM (#30965430)
    To be indistinguishable from the elite 4chaners of /b/: Bucket [encycloped...matica.com]

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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