Robotics pioneer Hans Moravec has made some bold statements and predictions about the current state and future of artificial intelligence.
“I see a strong parallel between the evolution of robot intelligence and the biological intelligence that preceded it," he says. "The largest nervous systems doubled in size about every fifteen million years since the Cambrian explosion 550 million years ago. Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half century."
Moravec goes on to predict what will happen by the following dates:
2010: A first generation of broadly-capable "universal robots" will emerge. The “servant” robots, will be able to run application programs for many simple chores. These machines will have mental power and inflexible behavior analogous to small reptiles.
2015: Utility robots host programs for several tasks. Larger "Utility Robots" with manipulator arms able to run several different programs to perform different tasks may follow single-purpose home robots. Their tens of billion calculation per second computers would support narrow inflexible competences, perhaps comparable to the skills of an amphibian, like a frog.
2020: Universal robots host programs for most simple chores. Larger machines with manipulator arms and the ability to perform several different tasks may follow, culminating eventually in human-scale "universal" robots that can run application programs for most simple chores. Their tens of billion calculation per second lizard-scale minds would execute application programs with reptilian inflexibility.
2030: Robot competence will become comparable to larger mammals. In the decades following the first universal robots, a second generation with mammallike brainpower and cognitive ability will emerge. They will have a conditioned learning mechanism, and steer among alternative paths in their application programs on the basis of past experience, gradually adapting to their special circumstances. A third generation will think like small primates and maintain physical, cultural and psychological models of their world to mentally rehearse and optimize tasks before physically performing them. A fourth, humanlike, generation will abstract and reason from the world model.
Creative Commons Image of the Repliee android by mackz on Flickr.Tweet