Is Hector the first robot to have a conscience?

HectorExternally, nothing seems to distinguish the little robot arthropod from the German University of Bielefeld. A robot Walker as it existing now, a toy almost. However, Hector has software developed artificial intelligence, and versions after versions, this this behaviour more in closer to those of a real insect. The next step is likely to be decisive: its creators want to provide it with a conscience. One small step for Hector, a giant leap for robotics?

Hector works for 1 year, but aims higher

The test is well known. Place an animal in front of the mirror and observe. The animal finally understand that it is the image of himself that returns the mirror? There are few animals have passed the test. Chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins have done. Agenda is perhaps close to a robot there reaches.

A year ago, researchers at the University of Bielefeld in Germany looking to give a form of consciousness to a robot named Hector. Until today, Hector had software Walknet, a neural network that allowed him to learn to move with 6 legs over rough terrain and feel some stimuli from the outside world. But the ambition of researchers goes beyond that this basic behavior. They want to give their creation a much higher awareness. With Navinet, Hector could develop routes to follow to achieve a goal. reaCog has added to the robot the ability to think, that is to say imagine several possible behaviours of a problem, then choose a. Dr Malte Schilling who is involved in the project believes that Hector so manifest “intentions”.

HectorA new version of Hector software is under development and test Simulator. This new artificial intelligence will be then injected into Hector. Professors Dr. Holk Cruse and Dr. Malta Schilling who develop this software feel that with this new evolution Hector will have a certain awareness of itself and might be able to “think”! An assertion that is not made lightly. Their research is part of the ‘Open MIND’, a group of researchers created collective in 2003 and which has published 39 papers of research on Artificial Intelligence, or 2 000 pages of results published so far. They may give birth to the first artificial consciousness.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

Biologists at Bielefeld University present expanded software architecture for the walking robot Hector”, Communiqué du Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) de l’Université de Bielefeld, March 31, 2015

“How and to what end may consciousness contribute to action? Attributing properties of consciousness to an embodied, minimally cognitive artificial neural network”, NCBI, June 18, 2013

“Walknet—a biologically inspired network to control six-legged walking”, ScienceDirect, April 30, 1998


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