Robohub.org
 

Ability to self-repair isn’t the same as consciousness: Analyzing Automata from a tech standpoint

by
04 April 2015



share this:
automata

I recently had a chance to view Automata and wanted to share my thoughts on the movie based upon the current and future state of robotics and artificial intelligence. As a film, this was a tough one to sit through, and won’t make any must-see lists from me. Unless you’re really into Antonio Banderas, I’d skip this. My deep interest in robotics was the only reason I struggled to the end.

From a technology standpoint the film’s underlying premise – that robots seeking to repair themselves have a consciousness – is not as simple as it would seem. While there is no universal test for self-awareness, like a Turing or mirror test, the film seems to suggest that if a robot seeks to self-repair or self-mutilate, it shows it has at least some level of consciousness. But I see this as problematic: to me, self-repair is simply a good algorithm, something we see regularly in the process automation industry, for example when a system clears a jam, or adjusts to a flow rate due to over- or under-loading.

Automata poster
In fact, in May 2014, Dextre and the Canadarm became the first robotic system to self-repair on board the International Space Station. Measured by this standard, the future has already arrived – but I’m not so certain robots will be taking over the earth any time soon. And even if I’m wrong, and the Canadarm seeks to become a human overlord, we still have a 200+ miles and a seriously hot re-entry to buffer us.

For another example, take NAO or the soon to be released Pepper by Aldebaran: by recognizing facial expressions they can estimate human emotion. Is that a sign of intelligence, or just another really good algorithm? Research into human-robot interaction often concludes that people believe they have formed emotional connections with robots. Soldiers frequently develop emotional relationships with their robot companions. Are these human feelings a sign of robot consciousness? No! Are they a sign of robot intelligence? Not really. Most of these machines are tele-operated and are extensions of the soldier, providing him with some added abilities (like infrared vision) and protection (distance from a blast perimeter).

Automata does end with a philosophical premise that as the human population on earth diminishes, robots evolve to carry the torch and recolonize earth. When we end, they begin. Perhaps that is where the movie should have started.

 

 



tags: , , ,


Michael Savoie Michael is the founder and Chief Robot Wizard at Frostbyte Technologies, a start-up aimed at developing autonomous outdoor mobile robots.
Michael Savoie Michael is the founder and Chief Robot Wizard at Frostbyte Technologies, a start-up aimed at developing autonomous outdoor mobile robots.





Related posts :



Hot Robotics Symposium celebrates UK success

An internationally leading robotics initiative that enables academia and industry to find innovative solutions to real world challenges, celebrated its success with a Hot Robotics Symposium hosted across three UK regions last week.
25 June 2022, by

Researchers release open-source photorealistic simulator for autonomous driving

MIT scientists unveil the first open-source simulation engine capable of constructing realistic environments for deployable training and testing of autonomous vehicles.
22 June 2022, by

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks to Maria Telleria, who is a co-founder and the CTO of Canvas. Canvas makes a drywall finishing robot and is based in the Bay Area. In this interview, Maria talks ab...
21 June 2022, by and

Coffee with a Researcher (#ICRA2022)

As part of her role as one of the IEEE ICRA 2022 Science Communication Awardees, Avie Ravendran sat down virtually with a few researchers from academia and industry attending the conference.

Seeing the robots at #ICRA2022 through the eyes of a robot

Accessbility@ICRA2022 and OhmniLabs provided three OhmniBots for the conference, allowing students, faculty and interested industry members to attend the expo and poster sessions.
17 June 2022, by

Communicating innovation: What can we do better?

The question on what role communications play in forming the perception of innovative technology was discussed in this workshop. Experts explained how the innovation uptake should be supported by effective communication of innovations: explaining the benefits, tackling risks and fears of the audiences, and taking innovation closer to the general public.
15 June 2022, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association