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Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror 133

First time accepted submitter Thorodin writes in with a story at the BBC about scientists at Yale who have built a robot that they hope will be able to recognize itself in a mirror. "A robot named Nico could soon pass a landmark test - recognizing itself in a mirror. Such self-awareness would represent a step towards the ultimate goal of thinking robots. Nico, developed by computer scientists at Yale University, will take the test in the coming months. The ultimate aim is for Nico to use a mirror to interpret objects around it, in the same way as humans use a rear-view mirror to look for cars. 'It is a spatial reasoning task for the robot to understand that its arm is on it not on the other side of the mirror,' Justin Hart, the PhD student leading the research told BBC News. So far the robot has been programmed to recognize a reflection of its arm, but ultimately Mr Hart wants it to pass the "full mirror test". The so-called mirror test was originally developed in 1970 and has become the classic test of self-awareness."
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Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:16PM (#41103845)
  • Re:Laugh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:32PM (#41103999)

    The summary even says they programmed it to recognize a reflection of it's arm. Until they make a generic program that can learn it even has an arm like a baby slowly understands it can control the thing waving around in front of it, whatever the researchers do is 'just a well made program'.

    I don't believe you can program a thinking robot. You have to create a learning robot and teach it to think.

  • by cathector ( 972646 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:41PM (#41104079)

    seems like a physical simulation and a renderer could get the same job done.

    hm. i guess the challenge must be in getting it to happen in realtime w/ portable hardware.

  • Re:Laugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:22PM (#41104413)

    which is why we now have to sell it as 'machine intelligence' or 'machine learning

    I actually prefer the term Machine Intelligence to Artificial Intelligence. There is nothing artificial about a neural network's intelligence. The network may be artificial (man made, or existing as a simulation), but the degree of intelligence is not artificial; It's a function of the network's complexity. Intelligence emerges due to the properties complex interactions naturally have.

    Cars do not create Artificial Movement. Machine Learning does not create Artificial Knowledge. Machine Intelligence does not provide Artificial Intelligence, it simply yields a measure of intelligence. A house fly, dog, or penguin doesn't have as complex a neural network as you likely do, but this does not make them Artificially Intelligent simply because their degree of intellect and awareness is less than your own. When we train the lesser minds to communicate with us, and perform tasks, they are not artificially performing the tasks.

    I find the term A.I. to be racist, and indicative of the chauvinistic attitude some humans have about their own mental prowess -- Your brains are not special. Any sufficiently complex interaction is indistinguishable from sentience, because that IS what sentience is. Once cybernetic systems attain (and surpass) the level of complexity present in humans brains, Artificial Intelligence will be a derogatory term: "Oh you pass yourself off as being smart, but you're just Artificially Intelligent -- You don't actually understand anything!"

    Also: Not that it matters, but I don't personally believe that a god created the race of men. However, some do consider this to be true, and yet they do not call themselves Artificial Life...

  • Re:Laugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:53AM (#41107127) Journal

    Intelligence emerges due to the properties complex interactions naturally have.

    Precisely, further, "intelligence" is in the eye of the beholder. My favorite example is an ants nest, each individual ant follows some very simple rules, so simple it doesn't need a brain to carry them out, it's nervous system alone provides enough "intelligence". The ant and the neuron both display automata like behavior that can be expressed as a state machine. Ants and neurons live in colonies (nests and brains), unlike the individuals the colonies do display what most people would call "intelligent behavior", yet nests and brains are also just state machines all the way down.

    Your brains are not special.

    My brain uses it's knowledge to inform itself that it will cease to exist, but deep down in the brain stem it's not really buying it's own story. And it's certainly not buying the idea it's not unique or special. I think programmers can see the idea that the human brain could be expressed as a state machine more readily than most because they are in the business of producing intelligent behavior from simple rules. However don't underestimate the impact that a deeply rooted acceptance of ones own morality can have [] (meat starts @ 3:55), non-existence is a fear that comes from the brain stem, it's the emotional driver for the "fight or flight" response. All humans recoil instinctively from the idea like ants instinctively find the sugar bowl. The existential question can be a deep dark rabbit hole with some side routes leading to depression and insanity. Of course if you can avoid (or get past ) all that, you may eventually lose the fear of not knowing [], the moment of genuine acceptance is an experience many have described as "religious" - as in the natural buzz one gets from surviving "a leap of faith".

    Disclaimer: I've been an atheist since my mum quit teaching Sunday school in the mid 60's and started reading me Aboriginal dream time stories, Greek fables, etc, as "stories that some people think are real". In my late teens I was sucked in bad by Uri-Geller for a couple of years. He fixed my broken watch, it didn't matter that he did it by staring at the TV with a face like a constipation sufferer, the proof was right there, the watch ran for days!!! A couple of years later I had a book shelf jammed full of "alternative science". James Randi set me straight on the real meaning of skepticism in his (short) 1980 book debunking Geller (that's HS science for you, both then and now), ironically I had picked up Randi's book from the bargain bin because I thought I knew enough to easily debunk it, in one night he had convincingly debunked my entire bookshelf.

    Later still dad confessed to winding the watch with tweezers while I wasn't looking.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27