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Self-Aware Robot from Columbia


Did anybody see news related to this programmed robot arm? I love to hear news about advances in robotics and AI, but I’m a little taken aback by over-ambitious uses of terms like “self-aware”. When I read the article linked below and others about this same robot experiment, it seems that it’s more of an exercise in unsupervised learning that actual self-awareness.
I didn’t get the impression that the robot pondered its existence and wonder about the origin of these red balls and how the fit into its universe…
I don’t want to detract from what seems to be great efforts on the people behind the project, but I think including terms like “self-aware” and “consciousness” in the write-ups gives people the wrong idea. I’m waiting for some of my friends that know of my interest in robots tell me: “I heard about the robot from Columbia that is self-aware…that’s so scary…”
If I’m wrong, and this robot really does fulfill my idea of these terms, I’d love to hear more about it.


I see so many arm related posts maybe this one got by me. The cool aspect is the self-learning.

Even in an open-loop system, which involves performing a task based entirely on the internal self-model, without any external feedback, the robot was able to complete the pick-and-place task with a 44 percent success rate. “That’s like trying to pick up a glass of water with your eyes closed, a process difficult even for humans,” observed the study’s lead author Kwiatkowski, a PhD student in the computer science department who works in Lipson’s lab.


I think that the news story can be ignored without loss, though the research itself might be interesting as another method for learning motion models. (There is a lot of prior related work.)