Artificially intelligent machines will be able to produce stronger and more adaptable ‘offspring’ as they will be able to pick their strongest suits and remove the weaker ones if they are tasked with making a stronger machine than themselves. It is essentially the same Darwinian theory applied to all living beings which are constantly adapting and improving to become better suited to their environments. However, the pace of the robots’ evolution will be much quicker as they will be able to personally select what are there strongest parts when building a better robot, and improving their weaker characteristics.
Scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam designed a much more basic robot capable of producing its own offspring, and the study revealed how the machines will be able to swap and combine their “genetic” information.
The researchers created two of the robots, or parents, which combined their codes to create a stronger machine, according to the research published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.
The study read: “Natural lifeforms specialise to their environmental niches across many levels, from low-level features such as DNA and proteins, through to higher-level artefacts including eyes, limbs and overarching body plans.
“We propose ‘multi-level evolution’, a bottom-up automatic process that designs robots across multiple levels and niches them to tasks and environmental conditions.
“Multi-level evolution concurrently explores constituent molecular and material building blocks, as well as their possible assemblies into specialised morphological and sensorimotor configurations.
“Multi-level evolution provides a route to fully harness a recent explosion in available candidate materials and ongoing advances in rapid manufacturing processes.”
Scientists David Howard, who was involved in the project, told Wired: “It gives you a lot of diversity, and it gives you the power to explore areas of a design space that you wouldn’t normally go into.”
The hope is that in 20 years, scientists will be able to produce cheap robots which will attempt to perform a certain task, and then be able to “breed” better robots which are even better than them.
Mr Howard said: “One of the things that makes natural evolution powerful is the idea that it can really specialise a creature to an environment.”