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Cornell robot is "conscious," adapts to injury


Oh great. As if the potent, robotic cocktail of self-replication, self-awareness, and wireless power weren't bad enough, along comes Cornell University with a robot capable of not only discovering its own nature (something we can't even do) but then adapts to overcome injury. This four-legged robot starts out knowing only what parts it has, not where they are or how to use them for locomotion. It applies a scientific method of theory and experimentation to develop computer models and ultimately, a set of commands to turn its motors for that first cautious step. Even when researchers remove part of the toddling robot's leg, the little guy still figures out a way to limp forward. Cornell scientists go so far as to say that the robot is "conscious," albeit on a primitive level since it thinks to itself, "what would happen if I do this?" Yeah, that's a stretch, but a step closer to our doom nevertheless. Although the robot used to demonstrate these cognitive gymnastics is quite simple, the algorithm could be used to build more complex robots for say, space exploration or defending itself while standing in line for a PS3. Well, at least The Robots don't currently have a place to coalesce under a common roof of intellectual ferment... oh God, no! Still, any robot which drinks puddle water can't be too bright, eh?

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