Not a movie: Robots have their own World Wide Web

_71855175_robotbodyBBC News reports that a world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time. In an article titled “Robots Test Their Own World Wide Web, Dubbed RoboEarth” the news site describes the system, which has been developed by research scientists from Philips and five European universities.

“At its core RoboEarth is a world wide web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other,” said Rene van de Molengraft, the RoboEarth project leader.

The aim of the system is to create a kind of ever-changing common brain for robots.

Author James Barrat, who has written extensively about the dangers of robots gaining their own intelligence, thinks there need to be safeguards.

“In the short term, RoboEarth adds security by building in a single point of failure for all participating robots,” he said.

“In the longer term, watch out when any of the nodes can evolve or otherwise improve their own software. The consequences of sharing that capability with the central ‘mind’ should be explored before it happens.”

Elsewhere on BBC News, Jane Wakefield reviews advances in artificial intelligence, in the article “Singularity: The Robots Are Coming To Steal Our Jobs.”

“AI’s are embedded in the fabric of our everyday lives,” head of AI at Singularity University, Neil Jacobstein, told the BBC.

“They are used in medicine, in law, in design and throughout automotive industry.”

Wakefield writes: “And each day the algorithms that power away, making decisions behind the scenes, are getting smarter.

It means that one of the biggest quests of the modern world – the search to make machines as intelligent as humans – could be getting tantalisingly close.

Mr Jacobstein predicts that artificial intelligence will overtake human intelligence in the mid-2020s.”

As an example of the coming changes in the workplace, she reports that “Chinese company Hon Hai, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, has announced it intends to build a robot-making factory and replace 500,000 workers with robots over the next three years.” The article points out that “Google has just bought eight robotic firms, while Facebook has its very own AI lab.”

She continues: “if the rise of the robots is inevitable – albeit a few years off – then it is also a logical step that humans will eventually be eliminated from the decision chain entirely, meaning AIs will be controlling other AIs.”

This seems to be happening already: RoboEarth.