Saturday, 12 January 2013

Robots Dream

What Do Robots Dream Of?

Have you ever wonder what robots dream of? The idea that robots can dream might sound implausible to some. Robots are machines. They do not have feelings emotions and they certainly cannot dream, many people would undoubtedly argue.
Not long ago, Nico demonstrated that a robot can become self-aware.
If even artificial intelligence is familiar with the concept of self-awareness, then perhaps it is possible to create robots that can also dream?
In Arthur C. Clarke's classical space adventure 2010: Space Odyssey Two, Sal-900 asks: "Will I dream?" Dr. Chandra replies "Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why... Perhaps you will dream about HAL - as I often do."
According to J. Bongard, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University Vermont, "robots equipped with an algorithm that infers their own physical structure from stored sensory data, dreams of their prior actions, so to speak- perform better in a simple forward locomotion task than robots whose decisions are not dream-inspired.
Can robots dream?
Furthermore, robots that use these self-models to plan future actions can recover autonomously from injuries, by adapting their gait to compensate for the changed circumstances."
In a way, one could say that robots, not totally unlike people do get "tired" at times and have a need for "rest".
Dr. Adami, Professor of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute believes that a robot might benefit from some "down time" just like people do.
Dr. Adami speculates that if robots were given an alternate state, one in which the robot stopped exploring and instead focused on a problem or obstacle, it could provide benefits for them just like it provides benefits for human beings.
This raises the question: "How would dream-inspired algorithms work in terra incognita?"
A robot would spend the day exploring part of the landscape, and perhaps be stymied by an obstacle.
At night, the robot would replay its actions and infer a model of the environment. Armed with this model, it could think of-that is, synthesize- actions that would allow it to overcome the obstacle, perhaps trying out those in particular that would best allow it to understand the nature of the obstacle. Informally, then, the robot would dream up strategies for success- just as the robot constructed by Bongard dreams about its own shape and form-and approach the morning with fresh ideas.
Although such an algorithm would require far more complex simulations than those giving rise to self-models in the work of Bongard, robots relying on this kind of navigation could play an interesting role in our quest to understand the nature of consciousness.

Perhaps robots dream about landscapes or relaxing activities..?
For example, we ought to be able to record the changes in the robot's artificial brain as it establishes its beliefs and models about the world and itself, and from those infer not only its cognitive algorithms, but also witness the emergence of a personality.
Thus, perhaps the discipline of experimental robot psychology is not too far off in the future. And even though the robots studied by Bongard seem to prefer to dream about themselves rather than electric sheep, they just may have unwittingly helped us understand what dreams are for.
So, robots can certainly dream, but their dreams will be slightly unlike ours and who knows may androids do dream of electric sheep after all.

Peace is Free by Carmen Allgood

It is easy to get sidetracked in this world by all the activity swirling around us everyday; there’s so much competition for our thoughts. One article suggested that most of us have about 30,000 impressions race through our mind on a daily basis. The bigger issue about all these distractions is that they are unconsciously used by us to keep us from focusing on what we really want. We might scoff at such a notion, but not when we consider that a lot of people are actually afraid of what they believe the truth might reveal.
What can we do to offset this conflict in our lives? And what does it do to our mental state? It leaves us in turmoil and comes with a heavy price. If this is the case with our life situation right now, let’s focus on healing our perception of the world so we can be at peace. When we push all other desires out of our way, and get as real and honest with ourselves as humanly possible, all of us want to experience peace of mind. Not down the road, but now.
All conflict is the result of holding grievances and our refusal to love one another. We wouldn’t make a decision like this unless we were opposed to the thought of love in our own mind. What does this cost us? It costs us everything, because peace, love, happiness, completion, and total understanding are inherent in who and what we are. If we fail to extend our love to include everyone, in the same way that Love loves everyone and everything, then we have blocked the awareness of our own reality, which is completely loving, and totally at peace.
Perhaps we should reconsider the value of love in our life and simply be grateful. This is the first step in attaining peace of mind, because Love is approached through gratitude. With gratitude in our heart, we can feel the first shift in our perception of the world taking place. Instead of feeling deprived, we recognize that we are really wealthy in a lot of respects. The awareness of this alone removes all scarcity consciousness from our minds.
Conflict is hell. This means peace is heaven. Even if a person is a skeptic and doesn’t believe in a Divine Power (some call it love), this still does not diminish a personal desire for peace of mind, which results in happiness.
Love lives in everyone. There is no conflict in love, and where there is no fear, or divisiveness, there is peace. This is a fact. All we can do with this recognition is be grateful. Love is the Answer.