Re: Robot that thinks like a human

From: Michael Wilson (
Date: Wed May 18 2005 - 07:39:59 MDT

> Apparently the University of Wales is attempting, along with 5 other
> universities, to construct a robot that thinks like a human.

The computer science department at the university of Wales seem to focus
their research on an assortment of narrow AI areas. My guess would be
that they've decided to band together for fundraising purposes; a big
crossdisciplinary, multi-site effort probably sounds great for the
purpose of getting a fat grant out of the research council. However
AFAIK they don't have anyone with a grand plan for building an AGI,
not even a vauge framework such as EPIC. From my experience of university
politics, an AI project involving tens of research groups spread over six
sites is simply going to mean additional money for pet projects plus a
few gala luncheons and some superficial nods towards integration to keep
the PR people happy (the Japanese '5th generation' project was somewhat
like this on a much larger scale). In the event that they do take this
seriously, I'd guess based on the publication lists of the departments
involved that they'll try evolved neural networks; it may not be a
coincidence that the physical design sounds a lot like Edelman's 'Darwin
III' robot. While messing about with evolved NNs is by no means safe, it
is one of the AGI approaches least likely to produce a hard takeoff, and
in any case I doubt this lot are going to do anything radically novel or
effective with them. As such I wouldn't place this anywhere near the top
of the list of things to be concerned about.

> My name is Ian Stuart, I am a mechanical engineer by trade, futurist,
> firm SL3,

Are you involved with the UK transhumanist/Extropian crowd?

 * Michael Wilson

Sheffield Mastermind, Evil Geniuses For A Better Tomorrow


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