Sunday, December 13, 2015

A robotic future that no one can imagine

A robotic future that no one can imagine

From Terminator to the supercomputer designed by Isaac Asimov, which takes 10,000 million years to solve the problem of entropy and finally said "Let there be light" - the science fiction writers have wasted talent to imagine the future can we blacks yield intelligence of machines. Armies of robotic spiders crawling up the last refuge of a besieged city, drones that make up their mind what his next carnage, soldiers and generals robots robots, robots that candidates and voters are made with the misrule of all the horrible future that fits think. And worst of all are the ones who can not even imagine, sad meat pulp and neurons are doomed to be for the times of times.

But, as often happens, the future is already here. The development of artificial intelligence is truly overwhelming in our times. The latter is an algorithm, or a computer model, able to learn new concepts from one or a few real examples, a skill that until now it was reserved for us, biological thinkers. The system has been tested with a very specific case, the learning handwriting in 50 languages, including Sanskrit, Gujarati, Glagolitic and even some newly invented by scientists. But the concept is applicable to almost anything, like learning a dance, drive a new electronic gadget or face an unforeseen creatively kinds of problems. A behavior that rarely tick of "robotic" but soon robots will handle with ease.

The engineer and neuroscientist Jeff Hawkins cited 10 years ago an allegory, or thought experiment on automatic driving, which is now very relevant. Imagine an automatic car which is about to overtake another driven by a human when, suddenly, the front left indicator lights. With current technology, is not a big problem that the automatic car see intermittent interpret the car in front will turn left and abort their plan passing. What is beyond the reach of current artificial intelligence, said Hawking, it is that, five minutes later, the car automatically realize that the human front've forgotten off the flashing, and much resigned to bend ago on the left. That kind of inspiration was far aha human heritage. But it is obvious that this is about to change.

Fear? It's easy to feel for any scientific or technological advance and, in this case, science fiction has helped stoke. But do not forget that since the invention of the stone ax, all technology is double-edged: it can be used to alleviate human suffering and to intensify it. Robots are with us to stay, and will soon begin to think for themselves. We try to do it right.


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