Robotic head, 3D illustration (frank60/Shutterstock)

By Jonathan Roberts (Professor in Robotics, Queensland College of Know-how)

With generative synthetic intelligence (AI) programs akin to ChatGPT and StableDiffusion being the speak of the city proper now, it’d really feel like we’ve taken a large leap nearer to a sci-fi actuality the place AIs are bodily entities throughout us.

Certainly, computer-based AI seems to be advancing at an unprecedented price. However the price of development in robotics – which we could suppose of because the potential bodily embodiment of AI – is sluggish.

Could it be that future AI programs will want robotic “bodies” to work together with the world? In that case, will nightmarish concepts just like the self-repairing, shape-shifting T-1000 robotic from the Terminator 2 film come to fruition? And could a robotic be created that could “live” eternally?

Vitality for ‘life’

Organic lifeforms like ourselves want power to function. We get ours through a mixture of meals, water, and oxygen. The bulk of crops additionally want entry to mild to develop.

By the identical token, an eternal robotic wants an ongoing power provide. Presently, electrical energy dominates power provide on the planet of robotics. Most robots are powered by the chemistry of batteries.

Another battery sort has been proposed that makes use of nuclear waste and ultra-thin diamonds at its core. The inventors, a San Francisco startup known as Nano Diamond Battery, declare a doable battery life of tens of 1000’s of years. Very small robots would be a great person of such batteries.

However a extra seemingly long-term resolution for powering robots could contain totally different chemistry – and even biology. In 2021, scientists from the Berkeley Lab and UMAss Amherst within the US demonstrated tiny nanobots could get their power from chemical compounds within the liquid they swim in.

The researchers are actually figuring out how to scale up this concept to bigger robots that may work on strong surfaces.

Repairing and copying oneself

After all, an timeless robotic would possibly nonetheless want occasional repairs.

Ideally, a robotic would restore itself if doable. In 2019, a Japanese analysis group demonstrated a analysis robotic known as PR2 tightening its personal screw utilizing a screwdriver. That is like self-surgery! Nevertheless, such a way would solely work if non-critical elements wanted restore.

Different analysis teams are exploring how tender robots can self-heal when broken. A bunch in Belgium confirmed how a robotic they developed recovered after being stabbed six occasions in a single of its legs. It stopped for a couple of minutes till its pores and skin healed itself, after which walked off.

One other uncommon idea for restore is to make use of different issues a robotic would possibly discover within the atmosphere to exchange its damaged half.

Final yr, scientists reported how lifeless spiders can be used as robotic grippers. This kind of robotics is named “necrobotics”. The concept is to make use of lifeless animals as ready-made mechanical units and fasten them to robots to turn into half of the robotic.

The proof-of-concept in necrobotics concerned taking a lifeless spider and ‘reanimating’ its hydraulic legs with air, making a surprisingly sturdy gripper. Preston Innovation Laboratory/Rice College

A robotic colony?

From all these latest developments, it’s fairly clear that in precept, a single robotic could be in a position to stay eternally. However there’s a very lengthy method to go.

Most of the proposed options to the power, restore and replication issues have solely been demonstrated within the lab, in very managed circumstances and usually at tiny scales.

The final word resolution could be one of giant colonies or swarms of tiny robots who share a standard mind, or thoughts. In any case, that is precisely how many species of bugs have developed.

The idea of the “mind” of an ant colony has been contemplated for many years. Analysis printed in 2019 confirmed ant colonies themselves have a kind of reminiscence that’s not contained inside any of the ants.

This concept aligns very nicely with someday having large clusters of robots that could use this trick to exchange particular person robots when wanted, however hold the cluster “alive” indefinitely.

Ant colonies can include ‘memories’ which might be distributed between many particular person bugs. frank60/Shutterstock

Finally, the scary robotic situations outlined in numerous science fiction books and flicks are unlikely to all of the sudden develop with out anybody noticing.

Engineering ultra-reliable {hardware} is extraordinarily troublesome, particularly with advanced programs. There are at present no engineered merchandise that may final eternally, and even for lots of of years. If we do ever invent an timeless robotic, we’ll even have the prospect to construct in some safeguards.The Conversation

Jonathan Roberts is Director of the Australian Cobotics Centre, the Technical Director of the Superior Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub, and is a Chief Investigator on the QUT Centre for Robotics. He receives funding from the Australian Analysis Council. He was the co-founder of the UAV Problem – a global drone competitors.

This text is republished from The Dialog below a Inventive Commons license. Learn the unique article.

The Dialog is an impartial supply of information and views, sourced from the tutorial and analysis neighborhood and delivered direct to the general public.

The Dialog is an impartial supply of information and views, sourced from the tutorial and analysis neighborhood and delivered direct to the general public.

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The Obsessed Guy
Hi, I'm The Obsessed Guy and I am passionate about artificial intelligence. I have spent years studying and working in the field, and I am fascinated by the potential of machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. I love exploring how these technologies are being used to solve real-world problems and am always eager to learn more. In my spare time, you can find me tinkering with neural networks and reading about the latest AI research.


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