Were Humans Originally a Brown-Eyed Species? A Galaxy Insight
Scientists Discover Butterflies Wings are High-efficiency Solar Cells

Unnatural Selection: Evolving, Improving, Implacable Robots

Robot2 It's official: robotics scientists are now just daring the things to kill us.  An Aberdeen University have built a robot programmed to fulfill one objective no matter what, to evolve in order to do so, and to make use of extra materials when they're available.  We're assuming the only reason they didn't call it "Terminator" is because they don't have enough to kill all the MGM lawyers.  Yet.

You know how it took organics, hereafter referred to as "puny fleshlings", millions of years to learn to walk on two legs?  The Incremental Evolutionary Algorithm (IEA) equipped robot learned in less than a day.  When the research team added knees to the legs it re-learned, making use of what it had already learned about hips.

The robot uses a neural network to iterate solutions to problems.  The evolutionary aspect is how it can just "decide" to add more neurons whenever the situation changes.  The addition of new joints, limbs or even senses just creates a bigger, smarter and more-able-to-see-you robot.  It can also lock itself into a specific configuration when it decides things are as good as they're going to get and unlock again as needed.

The system does have a weakness: if it tries to learn too fast, learning new behaviours with its whole brain instead of the newly created sections, it demands too much computing power and grinds to a halt.  And that means we're safe forever, because it's not like computers ever increase in power.

Team leader Christopher MacLeod is now working on a system where the robot can not only adapt to new bodies, but learn to instruct its human slaves, sorry, "creators" in how many limbs and other components it feels it needs.  We can only hope they know to say "no" when this list includes a Remington 1100 Autoloader, an Uzi 9 millimeter, and a phased plasma pulse laser in the forty watt range.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Unnatural Selection


"..phased plasma pulse laser in the forty watt range."

Was this intended to light cigarettes and small fires?

All these Terminator robots need is http://code.google.com/p/mindforth in their brains to become smarter than humans and to show us where evolution has been heading all along.

Wow, Robots are so cool! You just gotta love them!


"..phased plasma pulse laser in the forty watt range."

I said this phrase on my way into work this morning. I'm hopeless.

Individuals can not evolve, only populations can

Actually, from what I've heard, "watt" was supposed to be "terawatt" (or possibly "gigawatt", I can't remember for sure).

It can still possibly be justified in the same way that when nutritionists talk about "calories", they really mean "kilocalories".

Wow the gap between this article and what was actually reported is so huge it makes the Hubble Deep Field seem close.

If you want to know what actually got reported read the publication:

Christopher MacLeod, Grant Maxwell, Sethuraman Muthuraman, Incremental growth in modular neural networks, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 21 December 2008, ISSN 0952-1976, DOI: 10.1016/j.engappai.2008.11.002.

Hmm.. somehow I can't help but think this is an exageration of the success of this project.
I would love to read the original publication however the reality of the incompleteness of the research is kept for engineers only who have access to it.
It's stupid reports like this that has people thinking a robot like in the movies is only a couple of years away. HAHAHAHAHAHA....

You better show some more respect to the robots, because they might be already reading your posts.

Please include what institute Dr.(?) MacLeod is working from and a link to the white paper discribing this algorythm. You have given a very poor article which lacks in specifics. I am unable to find any reference to this project, who it is for, and who exactly is doing it.

or.. Pics or it didn't happen!

(Actually, I would like to contact them in regards to my own research in this area)


For the record, a forty watt laser is nothing to sneeze at. You can easily light a cigarette with a 0.2 watt laser; depending on the width of the beam a 40 watt laser can do quite a bit of burning/cutting. It may not be enough to slice your arm right off or anything, but lets just say I'd hit the deck if someone started waving one of those things around.

It seemed to me that this piece loses something in the association of robots with those things that do not bode well for humanity, blood thirsty proclivities etc. This is ashame in my view.

The team leader was called MacLeod and you failed to work in a Highlander reference? For shame McKinney, for shame!

(or a I'll be back reference)

/I'll be back.

How along come the BORG and we shall all be asimulated the BORG cube ship is just passing URANUS

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)