Unbreakable: A Robot That Can't Be Stopped

Unbreakable: A Robot That Can't Be Stopped image
June 13, 2015 | Source: The Atlantic

New research shows that artificial intelligence can use trial and error to finish a job even when a robot's body is damaged.

It almost looks like a wounded animal.

There’s that little hop in its gait, the way it looks tentative as it springs forward from its haunches, the not-exactly-straight trajectory of its path. Except this isn’t an injured animal. It is a robot. And even with two broken legs, this hexapod can figure out how to keep going.

Which means that what looks like a slightly sad (if persistent) hunk of metal making its way across a hard floor represents something much bigger, actually. New research published on Wednesday in Nature finds that machines can change their behavior to adapt to being broken—they can learn and iterate based on self-reflection. In other words, they can act like animals.

“Animals understand the space of possible behaviors and their value from previous experience,” the researchers Antoine Cully, Jeff Clune, Danesh Tarapore, and Jean-Baptiste Mouret wrote in Nature. “The key insight here is that robots could do the same.”