Here is your daily warning of the coming technological singularity: Robots have begun creating themselves with no direct human intervention. And, shockingly, it’s even weirder than it already sounds. These robots aren’t just built independently of humans using a 3D printer; they’re designed independently by a software algorithm that creates its own best robot for a given task.
Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute calls its creations "genetic robots." The algorithmic software used in the project creates several different designs and then decides which is most fit for the task. While similar projects have existed in the past the Fraunhofer algorithm takes into account physical laws and environmental factors. All of this allows for unprecedented variation and even a kind of mutation in the output of the robot designs. The chosen design is then created on a 3D printer and sent on its merry way.
At the moment the robots are fairly simplistic little guys with ball and socket joint parts to allow for the many variations spat out by the genetic algorithms, so the fear of robot revolution may be a bit premature. Still, the completely independent design and creation of robots paves the way for some pretty freaky stuff. How long before a robot is created using this method that doesn’t just imitate human design, it surpasses it?
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