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Robot Evolution: Ethical Concerns

#artificialintelligence

Rapid developments in evolutionary computation, robotics, 3D-printing, and material science are enabling advanced systems of robots that can autonomously reproduce and evolve. The emerging technology of robot evolution challenges existing AI ethics because the inherent adaptivity, stochasticity, and complexity of evolutionary systems severely weaken human control and induce new types of hazards. In this paper we address the question how robot evolution can be responsibly controlled to avoid safety risks. We discuss risks related to robot multiplication, maladaptation, and domination and suggest solutions for meaningful human control. Such concerns may seem far-fetched now, however, we posit that awareness must be created before the technology becomes mature.


Roborobo! a Fast Robot Simulator for Swarm and Collective Robotics

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Roborobo! is a multi-platform, highly portable, robot simulator for large-scale collective robotics experiments. Roborobo! is coded in C++, and follows the KISS guideline ("Keep it simple"). Therefore, its external dependency is solely limited to the widely available SDL library for fast 2D Graphics. Roborobo! is based on a Khepera/ePuck model. It is targeted for fast single and multi-robots simulation, and has already been used in more than a dozen published research mainly concerned with evolutionary swarm robotics, including environment-driven self-adaptation and distributed evolutionary optimization, as well as online onboard embodied evolution and embodied morphogenesis.


Resonance as a Design Strategy for AI and Social Robots

#artificialintelligence

Resonance, a powerful and pervasive phenomenon, appears to play a major role in human interactions. This article investigates the relationship between the physical mechanism of resonance and the human experience of resonance, and considers possibilities for enhancing the experience of resonance within human–robot interactions. We first introduce resonance as a widespread cultural and scientific metaphor. Then, we review the nature of “sympathetic resonance” as a physical mechanism. Following this introduction, the remainder of the article is organized in two parts. In part one, we review the role of resonance (including synchronization and rhythmic entrainment) in human cognition and social interactions. Then, in part two, we review resonance-related phenomena in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). These two reviews serve as ground for the introduction of a design strategy and combinatorial design space for shaping resonant interactions with robots and AI. We conclude by posing hypotheses and research questions for future empirical studies and discuss a range of ethical and aesthetic issues associated with resonance in human–robot interactions.


Learning Locomotion Skills in Evolvable Robots

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The challenge of robotic reproduction -- making of new robots by recombining two existing ones -- has been recently cracked and physically evolving robot systems have come within reach. Here we address the next big hurdle: producing an adequate brain for a newborn robot. In particular, we address the task of targeted locomotion which is arguably a fundamental skill in any practical implementation. We introduce a controller architecture and a generic learning method to allow a modular robot with an arbitrary shape to learn to walk towards a target and follow this target if it moves. Our approach is validated on three robots, a spider, a gecko, and their offspring, in three real-world scenarios.


The Effects of Learning in Morphologically Evolving Robot Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

When controllers (brains) and morphologies (bodies) of robots simultaneously evolve, this can lead to a problem, namely the brain & body mismatch problem. In this research, we propose a solution of lifetime learning. We set up a system where modular robots can create offspring that inherit the bodies of parents by recombination and mutation. With regards to the brains of the offspring, we use two methods to create them. The first one entails solely evolution which means the brain of a robot child is inherited from its parents. The second approach is evolution plus learning which means the brain of a child is inherited as well, but additionally is developed by a learning algorithm - RevDEknn. We compare these two methods by running experiments in a simulator called Revolve and use efficiency, efficacy, and the morphology intelligence of the robots for the comparison. The experiments show that the evolution plus learning method does not only lead to a higher fitness level, but also to more morphologically evolving robots. This constitutes a quantitative demonstration that changes in the brain can induce changes in the body, leading to the concept of morphological intelligence, which is quantified by the learning delta, meaning the ability of a morphology to facilitate learning.