Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, February 06, 2009

We're doomed, I tell you! - Unnatural selection: Robots start to evolve

NewScientist - February 4 2009, by Paul Marks

LIVING creatures took millions of years to evolve from amphibians to four-legged mammals - with larger, more complex brains to match. Now an evolving robot has performed a similar trick in hours, thanks to a software "brain" that automatically grows in size and complexity as its physical body develops.

Existing robots cannot usually cope with physical changes - the addition of a sensor or new type of limb, say - without a complete redesign of their control software, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

So artificial intelligence engineer Christopher MacLeod and his colleagues at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, UK, created a robot that adapts to such changes by mimicking biological evolution. "If we want to make really complex humanoid robots with ever more sensors and more complex behaviours, it is critical that they are able to grow in complexity over time - just like biological creatures did," he says.

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