Udayavni Special

Japan roboticists predict rise of the machines

Team Udayavani, Sep 23, 2019, 5:21 PM IST

Seika (Japan): Set in 2019, cult 80s movie “Blade Runner” envisaged a neon-stained landscape of bionic “replicants” genetically engineered to look just like humans.

So far that has failed to materialise, but at a secretive research institute in western Japan, wild-haired roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro is fine-tuning technology that could blur the line between man and machine.

Highly intelligent, self-aware and helpful around the house – the robots of the future could look and act just like humans and even become their friends, Ishiguro and his team predict.

“I don’t know when a ‘Blade Runner’ future will happen, but I believe it will,” the Osaka University professor told AFP.

“Every year we’re developing new technology, like deep learning, which has improved the performance of pattern recognition,” he added.

“Now we’re focusing on intention and desire, and if we implement them into robots whether they become more human-like.” Robots are already widely used in Japan, from cooking noodles to helping patients with physiotherapy.

Marketed as the world’s first “cyborg-type” robot, HAL (hybrid assistive limb) developed by Tsukuba University and Japanese company Cyberdyne is helping people in wheelchairs walk again using sensors connected to the unit’s control system.

Scientists believe service robots will one day help us with household chores, from taking out the garbage to making the perfect slice of toast.

Stockbrokers in Japan and around the world are already deploying AI bots to forecast stock market trends and science fiction’s rapid advance towards science fact owes much to the likes of Ishiguro.

He previously created an android copy of himself using complex moving parts, electronics, silicone skin and his own hair that he sends on business trips in his place.

But Ishiguro believes recent breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence will accelerate the synthesis of man and machine.

“As a scientist, I hope to develop self-conscious robots like you see in ‘Blade Runner’ to help me understand what it is to be human,” he said. “That’s my motivation.” The point at which that line between humans and machines converges has long been a source of anxiety for some, as depicted in popular culture.

In “Blade Runner”, Harrison Ford plays a police officer who tracks down and kills replicants that have escaped and are living among the population in Los Angeles.

The “Terminator” series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger centres on a self-aware computer network which initiates a nuclear holocaust and, through autonomous military machines, wages war against human survivors.

“I can’t understand why Hollywood wants to destroy robots,” shrugged Ishiguro, who in 2007 was named one of the top 100 living geniuses by global consultants firm Synectics.

“Look at Japanese cartoons and animations, robots are always friendly. We have a totally different cultural background,” noted the professor.

It’s not just Hollywood that has concerns over AI.

Tesla’s Elon Musk has called for a global ban on killer robots, warning technological advances could revolutionise warfare and create new “weapons of terror” that target innocent people.

But Ishiguro insists there is no inherent danger in machines becoming self-aware or surpassing human intelligence.

“We don’t need to fear AI or robots, the risk is controllable,” he said. “My basic idea is that there is no difference between humans and robots.”

The ultimate goal, according to Ishiguro’s colleague Takashi Minato, is “to bring robots into society as human companions, it’s possible for robots to become our friends.”


Top News

Army rejects purported video of eastern Ladakh face-off

‘Lockdown 4.0’ accounts for nearly half of total COVID cases in India

Nepal govt tables bill for controversial new map amidst border row with India

Terrorist camps, launch pads in PoK full, Army’s response to ceasefire violations swift & hard: Lt Gen Raju

Delhi govt seeks Rs 5,000 crore from Centre to pay employees’ salaries

Mangaluru: Locusts species attack farms in DK

Pain of poor and labourers hit hard by COVID-19 crisis cannot be explained in words: PM Modi

Related Articles More

Microsoft sacks journalists, replaces them with AI software

Lockdown: Egyptian boy undergoes life-saving heart surgery using IIT Madras’ virtual reality model

Govt blocks Dutch file sharing website WeTransfer to security reasons

History in the making: SpaceX propels two NASA astronauts into orbit

SpaceX presses ahead in historic 1st launch of astronauts


Tragedy and chaos: Former MIA director recalls Mangalore Air Crash

Lockdown relaxation: Long queues outside liquor stores in Mangaluru

Indian Coast Guard thank Covid-19 warriors

#WeFeed – Feeding stray animals during lockdown!

Mysuru-origin doctor honoured with parade for her service in treating COVID-19 patients in US

Latest Additions

Covid-19: FIR against Padarayanapura corporator

Mangaluru: Prohibition on fishing from May 31 to June 4

Former Pakistan Supreme Court judge to hear Umar Akmal’s appeal against three-year ban

Mosques reopen in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem amid COVID-19

SAI to launch Khelo India e-Pathshala, an online coaching programme for grassroot level

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.