Thursday, December 22, 2005

Robots Take Another Step Towards True Self Awareness...

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Wow, an advance in robotics coming out of Japan? Now there's a huge surprise...

(Source: Discovery Channel News)
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.

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.

...Humans learn behavior during cognition and conversely learn to think while behaving, said Takeno.

To mimic this dynamic, a robot needs a common area in its neural network that is able to process information on both cognition and behavior.

Takeno and his colleagues built the robot with blue, red or green LEDs connected to artificial neurons in the region that light up when different information is being processed, based on the robot's behavior.

...two red diodes illuminate when the robot is performing behavior it considers its own, two green bulbs light up when the robot acknowledges behavior being performed by the other.

One blue LED flashes when the robot is both recognizing behavior in another robot and imitating it.

Imitation, said Takeno, is an act that requires both seeing a behavior in another and instantly transferring it to oneself and is the best evidence of consciousness.


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