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Star Trek Viewer 06-11-2009 09:41 PM

Gigantic Robots -- With Artificial Intelligence
 
In both the new Transformers movie and Terminator Salvation, gigantic robots are depicted that have the ability to learn and that are, for all intents and purposes, fully conscious and intelligent. In the case of the former, they can even have a sense of humor, not to mention rhythm (Bumblebee).

On the face of it, building large robots (perhaps ten feet tall or more) isn't remotely as futuristic as building starships that can travel at FTL velocities. In fact, double the size of Asimo, the well-known robot by the Honda corporation, and it would appear you're nearly there. Building truly gigantic robots -- perhaps fifty feet tall -- is simply a matter of scaling up.

The difficulty appears to be with artificial intelligence, and yet even there we've made progress. Modern supercomputers, such as Deep Blue, can not only defeat chess champions, but exhibit signs of learning. The classic Turing test of computer intelligence -- whether a computer can engage in conversation sophisticated enough to seem human -- meets a more concrete test of computer abilities -- whether a computer program running by itself can learn something that its designers never predicted. A test not long ago in which a computer program was continuously run on a supercomputer produced, after months of computational time, just such a result.

Short of nuclear weapons, an army of large robots optimally implementing the programming of human warriors would indeed seem to be the most effective way of warfare.

The question is whether human beings can ever retain control of such creations, or whether human beings are eventually destined to become cybernetically enhanced, assimilated, or even obsolete.

For more information, please see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artific...gence#Learning

"There is no fate but what we make." -- T2.

kevin 06-12-2009 01:25 AM

Don't forget though that Transformers were not designed nor built by humans but are alien technology, so it's really just the T4 example we're left with.

Though I guess you could pull in the robots from 'I, Robot' as well if you wanted to.

The whole idea just always brings me back to 'The Measure of a Man' episode of TNG. I can't decide whether we would retain control or not, like Terminator. I think it would be possible we would go too fast, too quick and make a mistake.

MagaditH 06-12-2009 01:31 AM

today our most powerful computers have a intelligence of a retarded cockroach. Were still a long way from a threat from AI.

Star Trek Viewer 06-12-2009 04:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MagaditH (Post 218947)
today our most powerful computers have a intelligence of a retarded cockroach. Were still a long way from a threat from AI.

Would that include Deep Blue or the computers aboard Airbus aircraft?

Zardoz 06-12-2009 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MagaditH (Post 218947)
today our most powerful computers have a intelligence of a retarded cockroach. Were still a long way from a threat from AI.

Maybe not as far as you might think....:001_smile:

FanWriter45 06-12-2009 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MagaditH (Post 218947)
today our most powerful computers have a intelligence of a retarded cockroach. Were still a long way from a threat from AI.


It took nature 160 million years to evolve from a single celled organisim to a "retarded cockroach." We did the machine equivilent in less than 50. (I say that again... less than 50 years!) And the rate at which our development of machine intelligence is progressing... seems to be accellerating.

Compare the early, clunky Westinghouse robotic experiments back in the 1960's to some of the stuff you see on Youtube from Japan these days. I think we are far closer to Asimov-level robots than most people realize.

NCC-73515 06-12-2009 08:22 AM

"It took us 1500 years to rebuild our culture and travel to the stars. You humans did the same in less than a century. There are those on the high command who wonder what humans will acieve in a century to come. And they don't like the answer." - Soval

FanWriter45 06-13-2009 02:30 PM

Yeah. Our history is rife with huge, sloppy advances and catastrophes. But at least so far, the direction has been upward. It seems to be the human way of doing things, much like evolution itself.

Star Trek Viewer 06-13-2009 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FanWriter45 (Post 219803)
Yeah. Our history is rife with huge, sloppy advances and catastrophes. But at least so far, the direction has been upward. It seems to be the human way of doing things, much like evolution itself.

We do have a way of muddling through.

Relating to the AF447, a few comments:

It appears that for 14 minutes, the pilots may have been struggling with control issues. The alternative is that the pilots might have been incapacitated as parts of the aircraft were disintegrating and cabin pressure was lost. (Assume, here, that the flight deck emergency oxygen supply was not working or that it was not given a chance to work.) The emergency maintenance messages show that system after system was shutting down -- which would normally result in the assertion of greater pilot control.

What confuses me is that the head of a major safety association relating to airliners is quoted to have said that as systems are lost aboard Airbus aircraft, pilot control is actually diminished, not increased. But this seems very much at odds with what you find at other sources relied upon and accessible by Googling "Airbus Alternate Law" -- specifically, for example, www.airbusdriver.net/airbus_fltlaws.htm

In the Airbus design philosophy, most sources appear to state that a pilot must rely on the computer to give up control by the occurrence of failure of critical systems, or by the pilots' physically pulling circuit breakers to cause those failures. In those situations, the system will "degrade" to Alternate Law and Direct Law. Unless such situations occur, the computer in normal mode will prevent the pilot from executing maneuverse that the computer is programmed to understand will exceed the design limitations of the aircraft, and therefore in that normal mode, the pilot cannot override several important limitations imposed by the computer.

However, the Airbus A320 that landed in the Hudson was designed with the same philosophy. It appears, therefore, that, assuming that Alternate Law was not invoked, those limitations were not exceeded during any of those maneuvers, or, if they were, then the computer's limitations did not affect the successful implementation of those maneuvers.

jerhanner 06-13-2009 03:39 PM

2 words: no limbs.

That should help keep them from killing us all.


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