Re: [-empyre-] next (robotic) steps

what is the next most essential 'human' sense for a robot,
in your opinion - artificial life - artificial intelligence - ethical robots - what would *your* priorities be?

This is my first post to empyre.
In the last few years the idea has become quite popular that intelligence is a complex system that arises from the interaction of small, discreet particles performing simple tasks in relation to one another. Very recently I've been hearing about 'dumb' machines. This seems to remove the overarching goal of emulating complex behaviour, and refocuses the energy on just exploring simple, 'dumb' tasks. 'Intelligence, ethics and human priorities' it is said are far too complex to represent through current technology, let alone understand for ourselves. The New York Times Magazine has a small blurb on it this week (you can read it online but have to subscribe). If anyone knows about this topic it would be good to hear more.

My questions to you then are what do you think of approaching machines as 'dumb', as unlike us? Why use mimesis as a guiding principle in robotic design instead of other principles and references, or are they by definition mimetic? I ask because I'm currently confronting this in my own work. Some of my machines to date have been explorations of the boundary between things that are like us and things that aren't by rolling them into the same object. Lately, I've been more curious about machines that are complementary instead of similar to us, but these are not necessarilly mutually exclusive ideas.

Nicholas Stedman

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