Robot capable of developing and testing its own scientific hypotheses

Friday, April 03, 2009

See, robots share varied views on the world too.

Some might find this a bit creepy, but I don't:
A science-savvy robot called Adam has successfully developed and tested its first scientific hypothesis, all without human intervention. This hints at a future where robots could spare lab assistants and post-docs some of the drudgery of research.

"We've now demonstrated that Adam can do some novel biology work," said Ross King, a computer scientist and biologist at Aberystwyth University in the UK.

Adam's first achievement involved discovering that certain genes in baker's yeast code for specific enzymes which encourage biochemical reactions in yeast. The robot scientist then ran an experiment with its lab hardware to test its predictions, analyzed the results, rinsed and repeated.

Why creepy? Perhaps the fear that one day a robot will run a hypothesis to test whether robots or humans are superior and then come to the conclusion that robots are and thus humans need to be destroyed...or something like that. It reminds me more of Star Trek though, where humans are able to interact with the computer in ways that we can only dream of now, by asking it questions and getting it to develop hypotheses to test and find answers to. You know, the episodes where Georgi La Forge or someone else are working on some weird problem to escape from a wormhole or some other phenomenon and they keep on peppering the computer with ideas in order to try to find a solution, and of course the computer does most of the work but the people are the ones that are the driving force behind finding the solution.


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