Since the dawn of the sci-fi age, humans have been fascinated with the idea of autonomous machines, self-smart technology that can act and think for itself. We’ve seen our robotic hardware become more lifelike and terrifying day by day. And, while we used to wait years for each new chess match or game show appearance, these days we have a few more alarming indications that our most sentient software might be smartening up. Here’s a trio of recent developments in AI, showcasing our most academic androids yet.
Osaro, The Atari Star
AI has been present in computer games for a long time now, but new artificial intelligence startup Osaro have been the latest to create robots which exhibit something called Deep-Reinforcement Learning and have proved such learning ability by allowing them to demonstrate by playing games. As Futurism put it;
“Osaro put together a games-playing program that watches how a human player performs in several games, and then mimics that same behaviour to train itself… Osaro’s technology will likely prove useful in reprogramming assembly line robots, a task which currently takes several weeks. This AI can reduce that period to just one week. –Yikes!
Given the recent hubbub over Google’s self-driving cars being pulled over for driving too slow, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the days of racing robots would be way off in the distance but, in fact, Formula E have announced that they have already made plans for a global autonomous car racing championship, due to start in 2016. Imaginatively titled “ROBORACE”, these driverless cars will compete before Formula E races, as a sort of robot appetizer before the main event.
Ok, so machines can play computer games and drive a car; not exactly poindexter material, right? Well, your local computer lab might want to get the Bob Marley posters ready, because their creations could very soon be going to college.The Wall Street Journal reports that a Japanese AI has gotten above average marks in 5 subjects tested for in University entrance exams (including Maths, Physics and English). Tokyo’s National Insitute of Informatics claims this would give the AI an 80% chance of being accepted into nearly 500 Japanese universities. Although having said that, passing the entrance exam is only half the job, your AI may well get there and spend all his time forming crap bands and watching Family Guy. For the future of the human race, let’s hope.