Astute colleague David G. Schrubbe sent over a link about the first robot to make an autonomous scientific discovery. A little blurb from the piece on labspaces.net:
Using artificial intelligence, Adam hypothesised that certain genes in baker’s yeast code for specific enzymes which catalyse biochemical reactions in yeast. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle.
Just to reiterate, the robot did this WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION.
Maybe the scary AI researchers all took a vacation over the summer, or I just missed the best headlines. But check this mother out: Computer circuit built from brain cells. You have to wait for the scariest excerpt of all:
Brain implants can allow the paralysed to control robot arms or learn to talk again, but suffer a drop-off in performance when scar tissue coats their electrodes. “An intermediate layer of in vitro neurons interfacing between man and machine could be advantageous,” he says.
Yes, who can say what sort of advantages a neural interface with your computer could provide? I can only think of about a MILLION.
It’s quite comforting to know that, even though the odds are good that I will one day be killed by a sentient machine, I am not the only one who is worried about it.
Schrubbe and I are the only ones that I know of who are legitimately concerned about the robot problem and AI, but this story kind of points to the rapid-growth potential for scientific advancement in this area.
Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years
Humankind is going to continue pushing the envelope of science for good or ill for as long as we’re around. We just have to hope and pray that the ethics and philosophy that surround these unimaginable developments keep pace.