Another milestone passed for Artificial Intelligence – Self Awareness

Today, in New York city, a robot was observed to show self awareness for the first time. Scientists at the Rensselaer AI and Reasoning (RAIR) lab performed an experiment called The King’s Wise Men, which is supposed to be a test of self awareness.

There will no doubt be a lot of debate about whether or not this result actually proves that the robot is self aware, and it if it does it’s only in a very small and specific band, but it does highlight a few important things for me.

The first one is that breakthroughs in the fields of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are accelerating remarkably. This is off of the back of maturity in the coding environments and the availability of cheap hardware like the French made Nao Robot used in the RAIR experiment.

It also makes me think that we can’t be all that far off from an Artificial Intelligence that is truly self aware. That is exciting and frightening as we cannot predict what I world will look like after that happens, it’s a Technological Singularity that I’ve written about before on this blog.

I feel privileged that such a momentous event, written about in hundreds of Science Fiction stories, will (in all probability) happen in my lifetime. 

“I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.” – Alan Turing, Computing machinery and intelligence


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