Friday, July 17, 2015

Milestones: A Robot Has Passed A Self-Awareness Test

The test has been described as 'rudimentary" but still...
First up, Engadget:

See that Nao robot waving its hand up there? It's not starting a dance routine: it just had a light-bulb moment, so it's trying to catch a human's attention. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Selmer Bringsjord programmed the three robots to think that two of them were given a "dumbing pill." In reality, that pill's a button on top of their heads that can be pressed by the tester. When the tester asked the robots which pill they received, their processors crunched data in order to provide the right answer. Since two of them were unable to talk, only one answered out loud. "I don't know," the third robot replied, realizing the truth a short while later.

"Sorry, I know now," the third Nao waved at the tester. "I was able to prove that I was not given a dumbing pill." After all, it could speak! That means the machine was able to recognize and differentiate itself from the other two -- it was self-aware at that particular point in time. That test is a simpler version of a puzzle called The King's Wise Men, wherein the "wise men" have to guess what the color of their hat is (between two colors) if they can only see the other people's hats. You can watch the experiment go down below. But if you're in Japan, you can also see Bringsjord present his study on artificial intelligence in person at the IEEE Ro-MAN2015 convention from August 31st to September 4th....MORE
And from Popular Science

Polite Robots Show Glimmer of Self-Awareness
We’re a long way off from having robots with an artificial intelligence close to what is seen in movies such as Her or Ex Machina. But for the first time, three humanoid robots showed a glimmer of self-consciousness by solving a classic philosophical problem.
The robotic trio was composed of three old Nao models, but the experiment that was conducted on them was extremely novel — and so were the results.

The robots were programed to think that two of them had been given a “dumbing pill” that would make them unable to speak (actually just a button that silenced them). However, they didn't know exactly which two of them had been silenced. When the robots were asked to answer which two had been given the pill, all of them tried to respond: “I don’t know.” Since only one was actually able to utter the words, it heard its own voice and recognized it wasn't among the two who had been silenced. That robot then responded: “Sorry, I know now. I was able to prove that I was not given a dumbing pill.”

Not only are the Nao bots polite, the test requires them to accomplish very basic forms of self-awareness. Each robot must be able to understand the question, as well as to be able to recognize its own voice. They must also be able to infer that if they were able to speak, they weren't one of the robots who had received the “dumbing pill.”

The test is a variation of an induction puzzle called “The King's Wise Men.” In the puzzle’s scenario, a king decides who will be his new advisor by calling three of the wisest men to his court to participate in a contest, which he promises will be fair. He tells all three wise men that he's putting either a white or blue hat on their heads, but the color of each hat can only be seen by the men not wearing it. The King goes on to tell the men that at least one of them is wearing a blue hat. The first wise man to figure out the color of his own hat becomes the new king’s advisor. In fact, the solution is that they're all wearing blue hats....MORE
Long time readers may recall that the Nao was one of the robots that Izabella Kaminska snapped pics of at 2013's Robots on Tour in Zurich:

Do markets dream of electric androids?

linked by us in:
Should a Robot Have a Personality? A Penis?
Anthropomorphic/biomimetic robots creep me out.
There, I said it....
Little bastard's probably got me on the robot hit list.