Monday, 15 April 2013

Humansation of Robots


Why does the human race strive to create artificial intelligence that matches ours? Machines that embody the power to gain knowledge, but can also feel the same emotions as humans. Are we so fascinated by artificial intelligence, humanoids and androids, because if we can create something that acts and behaves just like us, well we then have achieved ultimate intelligence?

Understanding the concept of growth between humans and robots as an extension of our being, we become almost Godlike in our need for perfection in the development of artificial intelligence.

One can argue that we gradually build emotional attachment to our creation, which has been created from deep-rooted feelings we had as a child.  We bid them to move, talk and interact with us for our own needs just like our favorite Toy Story dolls, Woody and Buzz Lighyear that never did these things.
What’s funny is why do the creator (of the film) then make the toys have the ability to move, talk and interact with each other – I feel I’m blatantly being teased, that my fantasies could come true as long as I’m not there to ruin it. That’s what humans do, kill something that is fragile, a simple fantasy, a child’s creativity or something as extreme as us slowly killing the plant.

Our desire to create artificial intelligence makes groundbreaking science; with this we can create humanoids that does not only resemble our appearance, but also have the mind of humans i.e. an android. Imagine humanoids being able to carry out their own decision, based on logical thinking, own desires, but also considering what is ethically and morally correct – according to their own “upbringing” or should I say programing?

Each day the boundaries are pushed for the understanding of humanoids and possible integration in our everyday life, these are being explored through films, music and videos allowing for the co-existing of creator and machine already.

In reality the AI (artificial intelligence) that we see in films, music and videos, is far away from the AI that we see on a daily basis in todays world. Scientists say that we have too high expectations to how advanced AI should or could be due to the films and videos that we have been exposed to. According to Robert Lindsay, professor emeritus of psychology and computer science at the University of Michigan: “We’re a long way from [humanlike AI], and we’re not really on a track toward that because we don’t understand enough about what makes people intelligent and how people solve problems.” Even so the British mathematician Alan Turing, who created The Turning Test in the 1950s claims that the computer doesn’t have to be able to really think like a human; it only has to seem to be human. And apparently this test sets a low bar, yet no AI program has passed Turning’s test in the past six decades! 

So far developers are mostly focusing on creating humanoids or androids that would be beneficial to the healthcare system; such as being able to help elderly with keeping their minds stimulated and also finding the comfort of having a “friend”.
At the moment the two best solutions is a humanoid created by Honda, who has a restricted vocabulary of 160 words, but is very physical, in the sense it can run, climb stairs and go for long walks in the park, if you wish to do so. The second solution is the android EveR-1, which is created by a Korean company called KITECH. This android is a scarily realistic looking female; it has an extensive vocabulary of 600 words, although it can only speak Korean, for now. What’s even scarier about EveR-1 is that she/it imitates your facial expressions while talking to you.  

So why do we want to make something stone cold to have a soul?
Well I still haven quite figured out the answer, there are two types, the people who claim that we they have figured out how the human brain works, and then they would have achieved the unachievable. And then there’s the people who simply wants to change the world for the better – and doesn’t expect to have world domination (like the others might do). All I can say is that I’m happy with the fact that I probably won’t live to the day where AI has become as advanced as our brain, because if that day ever comes, I would fear what would happen to us. After all, if they become as independent as us, we can’t switch them off when things get out of control as we can now. I don’t know about you, but I like the comfort of an off switch. 

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