April 19, 2013
DARPA Looks To New Form Of Computation That Mimics The Human Brain
|DARPA's Physical Intelligence program represents a potential major advance in artificial intelligence research, as the “physical intelligence” device would not require computer programming or the use of human controllers to provide directions, as with traditional robots. Instead, the device operates via nano-scale interconnected wires that send signals through synthetic synapses, just like the human brain. Such a system is capable of remembering information, meaning that robots might be able to act like humans in the foreseeable future.|
Now, a Pentagon-funded team of researchers has constructed a tiny machine that might allow robots to act independently.
Compared to traditional artificial intelligence systems that rely on conventional computer programming, this one “looks and ‘thinks’ like a human brain,” said James K. Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gimsewski is a member of the team that has been working under sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a program called Physical Intelligence.
The stated objective of the program is: "The analysis domain is to develop analytical tools to support the development of human-engineered physically intelligent systems and to understand physical intelligence in the natural world"
This technology could be the secret to making robots that are truly autonomous, Gimzewski said during a conference call hosted by Technolink, a Los Angeles-based industry group.
What sets this new device apart from any others is that it has nano-scale interconnected wires that perform billions of connections like a human brain, and is capable of remembering information, Gimzewski said. Each connection is a synthetic synapse. A synapse is what allows a neuron to pass an electric or chemical signal to another cell. Because its structure is so complex, most artificial intelligence projects so far have been unable to replicate it.
“Physical Intelligence” devices would not require a human controller the way a robot does, said Gimzewski. The applications of this technology for the military would be far reaching.
For instance an aircraft, for example, would be able to learn and explore the terrain and work its way through the environment without human intervention, he said. These machines would be able to process information in ways that would be unimaginable with current computers.
Studies of the brain have shown that one of its key traits is self-organization. “That seems to be a prerequisite for autonomous behavior,” he said. “Rather than move information from memory to processor, like conventional computers, this device processes information in a totally new way.” This could represent a revolutionary breakthrough in robotic systems, said Gimzewski who is shown in a video from a few years ago below.
SOURCE National Defence Magazine, DARPA
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Tags: AI , artificial intelligence , Darpa , James K. Gimzewski , nanotechnology , Physical Intelligence , robotics , synthetic synapse
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