4 July 2004

Creativity Machines can solve just about any problem in any field

Stephen Thaler and his Creativity Machine

But you can wager that an early primary focus will be on waging more effective warfare. To kill with greater precision.

Thaler, too, is engineering independent robots. A glossy, black, plastic cockroach named H3 could be the prototype for swarms of bunker-busting robots that could seek out, explore and use collective intelligence to defeat an enemy target. The U.S. Air Force has contracted Thaler to create such robots.

Robots, including Mars rovers, have been programmed with artificial intelligence before, Thaler said. But those robots require human engineers to program in leg movements and rules for getting around obstacles. Each unique encounter requires new programming, new rules, and time.

H3 gets no tutelage from Thaler at all. A sonar beacon beckons the robot, and H3's legs begin to flail. Every time the robot makes a movement that carries it closer to the signal, it learns the value of the move. Within a few seconds, the cockroach coordinates enough good moves to scuttle toward the signal.

Read about Imagination Engines Autonomous Targeting System or the bleeding edge of machine vision technology.