Science & Faith
7/1/13 at 11:22 AM 4 Comments

Artificial Intelligence: Germans Create Ape Robot

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The field of artificial intelligence (AI) combines engineering and computer science to develop systems that can respond to their environment in ways that are similar to the natural intelligence in humans and animals. German AI experts announced last week the creation of a robotic ape.

The Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Germany has released videos of one of its projects. They made a robotic ape that moves like a gorilla by walking on its feet and knuckles. Remarkable, but of course the artificial gorilla can't reproduce itself and do many other things that real gorillas do.

The robot ape research team at DFKI have described their endeavor:

The aim of the project iStruct is the development of a robotic system as well as of biologically inspired structural components which, if applied on the robotic system, effectively improve the locomotion and mobility characteristics. In order to achieve this goal, an improved perception of the environment and the own condition is needed.

Notice that it takes a great deal of human intelligence to mimic just limited aspects of animal and human biological capabilities. Biologically inspired structural components is all about a lesser intelligence (humans) learning some useful things from the products of a much great intelligence. At least that is the most reasonable inference to make when one is in touch with the latest breakthroughs in information science applied to biology, which is the most exciting part of intelligent design theory today.

An ENV article put it this way:

Except in the imagination of Darwinian theorists, chance and necessity do not take the place of planning and forethought. Certainly AI researchers operating under Darwinian assumptions would not get very far in designing a robot. When we see biological organisms with integrated, complex features, features that in any other setting would obviously be judged a product of design, it seems reasonable to conclude that they are, in fact, designed.

Boston Dynamics, like its German counterpart, builds innovative robots with "remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed." They explain:
We use sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Our world-class development teams take projects from initial concept to proof-of-principle prototyping to build-test-build engineering, to field testing and low-rate production.

Over the last few years Boston Dynamics has created robotic dogs and various other creatures, some of which are being applied in the military. There are videos of Big Dog and other creations of Boston Dynamics that have been available on the web over the past five years. Some of them are quite impressive. The bottom line is that both artificial and natural intelligence require a higher order of intelligence for their origin.

In a related scientific breakthrough, ENV reports on the Big Brain project.

You often hear people compare the brain to a computer. After all, much like a computer, our brain seems to store information and regulate functions behind the scenes. Even outside the materialist camp, we habitually liken the brain to "hardware" and the mind is "software." Throughout history, in fact, people have compared the brain to whatever the latest technology happened to be. At the time, each such analogy seemed apt, but as technology evolves, so does our understanding of the brain.

Scientists have now completed a 10-year project in which they dissected a human brain. This tedious project studied layers at half-of-a-hair thickness, totaling 7,400 slices, and analyzed over 1 trillion bytes of data. The data were compiled into a catalog called "Big Brain," offering a detailed look at the structure and density of this most enigmatic organ. It is the beginnings of a more extensive project to compile data from more brain samples. See the report in Nature [and more here]:

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