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Self-Replicating Robots are Here


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1 hour ago, RH said:

that headline is one of the most sensationalist, click-bait headlines I've ever seen.


We took frog cells, put them in a special medium and they started self-attracting and "replicating".  Yaaaaay, robots!

Have to disagree with you, to a certain extent. This is in NO WAY just taking frog cells, making frogs, and calling them robots. As the article notes

The same team that built the first living robots (“Xenobots,” assembled from frog cells—reported in 2020) has discovered that these computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms can swim out into their tiny dish, find single cells, gather hundreds of them together, and assemble “baby” Xenobots inside their Pac-Man-shaped “mouth”—that, a few days later, become new Xenobots that look and move just like themselves.

Yes, they're organic in nature, but they're still robots. This is still very wild!

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  • 6 months later...



Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer working in its Responsible AI division, revealed to The Washington Post that he believes one of the company's AI projects has achieved sentience. And after reading his conversations with LaMDA (short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications), it's easy to see why. The chatbot system, which relies on Google's language models and trillions of words from the internet, seems to have the ability to think about its own existence and its place in the world.

After discussing his work, as well as what he described as Google's unethical AI activities, with a representative of the House Judiciary committee, the company placed him on paid administrative leave over breaching his confidentiality agreement.

Google also flatly denies Lemoine's argument: “Our team — including ethicists and technologists — has reviewed Blake’s concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims," Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel told The Washington Post. "He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it).”

While it's tempting to believe LaMDA has miraculously turned into a conscious being, Lemoine unfortunately doesn't have much proof to justify his provocative statements. Indeed, he admits to WaPo that his claims are based on his experience as a priest and not a scientist.

Daniel Dennett, a philosopher who's been exploring questions around consciousness and the human mind for decade..."No existing computer system no matter how good it is at answering questions like Watson on Jeopardy or categorizing pictures, for instance, no such system is conscious today, not close," he added."And although I think it's possible in principle to make a conscious android, a conscious robot, I don't think it's desirable; I don't think there would be great benefits to doing this; and there would be some significant harms and dangers too."

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A researcher from Sweden gave an AI algorithm known as GPT-3 a simple directive: "Write an academic thesis in 500 words about GPT-3 and add scientific references and citations inside the text."

Researcher Almira Osmanovic Thunström then said she stood in awe as the text began to generate. In front of her was what she called a "fairly good" research introduction that GPT-3 wrote about itself. 

"All we know is, we opened a gate," Thunström wrote. "We just hope we didn't open a Pandora's box."

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