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Robots Test "Embodied Intelligence" 57

An anonymous reader writes "Here's an interesting article about a robotics experiments designed to test the benefits of coupling visual information to physical movement. This approach, known as embodied cognition, supposes that biological intelligence emerges through interactions between organisms and their environment. Olaf Sporns from Indiana University and Max Lungarella from Tokyo University believe strengthening this connection in robots could make them smarter and more intuitive."
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Robots Test "Embodied Intelligence"

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  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @06:11PM (#16649529) Homepage Journal
    "Intelligence" is the accuracy of the model of the environment, including changes over time. That intelligence requires interaction of the model with the environment, even if merely sensing the environment. Degrees of intelligence reflect the scope of the environment in the model, or the precision, or accuracy beyond mere registration of existence. One way to test the sense of the environment is to change the environment, and sense the change.

    There is no reason artificial intelligence can't be intelligent the same way as is biological intelligence. In fact, as people have guessed for a long time, AI has less limits on the degrees of intelligence, as well as on the changes to the environment it can make to sense the feedback.

    The flow of sensed info to the model is a limit on the intelligence, but good models can compensate. Likewise, the flow of change back to the environment.

    The ability to tell how intelligent is the intelligence in question depends on the feedback from the intelligence to the environment, where it can be sensed by other intelligences.

    Again, this is just as true of AI as it is of natural intelligence.

    "Embodied intelligence" is redundant - all the AI is embodied, even if just in networked processors and storage. But to date, its bodies have effected little change on the environment. And practically none of those changes are fed back to sensors feeding the AI. Closing that loop is the most important step in creating actual intelligence that we can recognize. After that, it's just a question of degree.
  • by paxmaniac ( 988091 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @06:35PM (#16649951)
    They used a four-legged walking robot, a humanoid torso and a simulated wheeled robot. All three robots had a computer vision system trained to focus on red objects. The walking and wheeled robots automatically move towards red blocks in their proximity, while the humanoid bot grasps red objects, moving them closer to its eyes and tilting its head for a better view.

    Ok, second year mechatronics project there.

    To measure the relationship between movement and vision the researchers recorded information from the robots' joints and field of vision. They then used a mathematical technique to see how much of a causal relationship existed between sensory input and motor activity.

    What, you mean if you program your robots to go find red things that there will be a statistical correlation between seeing red things and the robot moving? Who'd have thought it??

    'We saw causation of both kinds,' Sporns says. 'Information flows from sensory events to motor events and also from motor events to sensory events.'

    And this surprised who exactly?

    Really they publish some rubbish in NS sometimes.

If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will serve us right. -- Alistair Cooke