Robot becomes smart as it passes self-awareness test
Posted On July 21, 2015
Three Nao robots at the Ransselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US have been put their paces as researchers gave them a new version of the wise men puzzle self-awareness test. It seems that out of the three one of them is the smartest as they managed to pass the test.
[Image Courtesy of ScienceAlert]
The test sees a hypothetical king summoning three wise men and he then puts a hat on each of their heads, a white or blue hat. Each of them can see which hat the others are wearing but not the one on their own head and they cannot ask each other what colour hat they are wearing. The king tells them that one of them is wearing a blue hat to make things fair. The king tells them that whichever can work out what colour hat they have on will become his new advisor. In the tale the people are given hats to wear but in the case of the robots it is a tap on the head, which is said to be a pill they have swallowed. Two of the pills handed out render them silent, while the other is a placebo. The tester then asked the robots to tell him which of the pills they received.
The robots remained quiet and then one said that they didn’t know and then put up its hand after changing its mind and said that he was able to prove that he wasn’t given the dumbing pill. While this might seem like a simple thing, for the robots it is one of the hardest tests there is. It means that the robot has to listen to the question along with understanding it and it has to hear its own voice and then known that it is distinct for the others. It then has to link the realisation to the original question and come up with an answer.
In this case the robots had been programmed so that they would be self-conscious during a specific situation. However this is still a huge step forward in making robots that are able to understand their role when in society. The only thing holding robots back at the moment from becoming truly self-aware is that they cannot crunch the amounts of data that humans can. Even though cameras are able to capture a lot more data about a particular scene than humans can, roboticists remain at a loss when it comes to putting all the information together.
One thing that people have to be careful with then giving robots artificial intelligence is that if robots can be programmed to have wants and desires they may choose to do bad things.
In the case of the wise man test all of the people were handed blue hats to ensure that the contest was fair.