Robots, scientists, cartoonist – they go together naturally. So although it wasn’t on my original list from the Festival organisers, The Thinking Robot was a talk I was keen to attend.
Taking a scale of animal intelligence, he argued that the most advanced robots today would be somewhere near the bottom, below cockroaches and senior Tory politicians (actually he didn’t mention the Tory politicians).
He offered four types of intelligence:
1. Morphological – the body’s own natural reactions and balanced structure
2. Swarm intelligence – the emergent property visible in bees or flocks of starlings
3. Individual – the ability which enabes an individual to learn by trial and error
4. Social – learning from each other.
Whereas an animal may show two or more types of intelligence, individual the best robots so far can only manage one of them.
Along with discussing the moral and philosophical implications, Alan showed films of several robots which, frankly, I wouldn’t allow in the house. The exhibited the ‘uncanny valley’ effect – one side is cartoon-like, the other is human-like; somewhere in between is the weird, neither one-thing-or-the-other zone guaranteed to creep you out.
See full post here: Radio Cartoonist2012-04-16.