There have been numerous warnings made by members of our scientific community, mirroring decades of science fiction lore, regarding potential threats that the emergence of artificial intelligence might bring.
One important aspect in the evolution of electronics is the continued miniaturization of our devices: we now have devices that can be kept in one’s pocket that are more powerful than the massive supercomputers from a mere thirty years ago. While the mobility of our electronic abacuses have allowed them to become more and more convenient, researchers are working to find ways to make them even more unobtrusive, including finding new ways to wear them simply as another layer of our own skin.
Despite whatever scenarios that can be speculated on in our culture’s works of fiction regarding artificial intelligence, the intelligence that emerges from this field of research may very well be utterly alien to what we might expect. It could be beneficent, malevolent, calculatingly cold, or it could even see compassion as the pinnacle of logic. Two recent developments in the field of AI research illustrate two completely diametric paths that a future artificial mind could take.
Okay, that’s not exactly what happened, but Google-owned Boston Dynamics has released a new video of the latest incarnation of their Atlas robot, showcasing it’s capabilities for balance, navigating rough terrain, handling objects, and even getting back up after being knocked over. And all of this is accomplished while the robot is untethered.
Slimmed down to a 180-lb, 5’9" — quite svelte compared to it’s previous 6-foot form — the video shows the new Atlas model leaving the office to take a stroll through the snowy woods, using LiDAR and stereo cameras to "avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects".