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TechnologyDARPA Wants to Turn Insect Brains Into Robot Brains

04:20  11 january  2019
04:20  11 january  2019 Source:   popularmechanics.com

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The Pentagon’s emerging technologies unit put out a call last week for proposals that use insect brains to control robots — because they could be used to

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DARPA Wants to Turn Insect Brains Into Robot Brains© Oscar Sánchez Photography - Getty Images Instead of basing our artificial intelligence on ourselves, DARPA is experimenting with something a bit simpler.

The military wants artificial intelligence, but it's not intending to cook it up from scratch. Instead, in a recent solicitation, DARPA asked for proposals to build AI based on insect brains. The program seeks to build AI that are smaller and more efficient than normal software.

Unlike us, insects operate almost entirely based on simple stimuli. Moths, for instance, are so programmed to navigate based on the direction of light that they occasionally navigate directly into light bulbs. While these sorts of basic rules can sometimes backfire, they’re also incredibly simple and easy to implement, which is what makes them useful to the military.

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More than 40 percent of insect species declining, could have 'catastrophic' results, study says: DARPA Wants to Turn Instead, in a recent solicitation, DARPA asked for proposals to build AI based on insect brains . The program seeks to build AI that are smaller and more efficient than normal software.

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This type of research was initially developed in the 1980s at MIT by roboticist Rodney Brooks, who developed a number of robots based on their principle. Perhaps the most successful was a robot named Herbert, who could autonomously move around the office and collect empty soda cans. Herbert was able to avoid obstacles, identify and pick up cans, and drop them in a recycling bin by relying on only 15 simple rules.

Herbert’s greatest strength was that it required very little processing power or memory to operate. Instead of an internal map of the office and a complex suite of sensors to navigate the environment, Herbert's insect-like programming let it perform the same tasks more efficiently.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA ) wants to begin building conscious robots , using the brains of insects . DARPA is interested in developing a creepy “platform that uses the insect brain architecture to create more capable AI hardware.” According to the Pentagon, it will

Through a DARPA -funded program, scientists at the University of California invented a tiny rig that connects to an insect ’s brain and flight muscles. Rather than creating such a robot , the University of California scientists decided to take a shortcut. “ Insects are just amazing fliers compared to anything

Harvey existed long before the advent of machine learning, but the same principles apply to modern AI. Insect-like artificial intelligence could be used to perform simple tasks cheaply, and another advantage here is that training neural networks should happen much faster.

DARPA’s program will launch April 3.

Source: DARPA via Nextgov

More than 40 percent of insect species declining, could have 'catastrophic' results, study says.
More of than 40 percent of insect species are declining, creating potentially 'catastrophic' consequences for the planet, says a study.

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