Dutch News

20 April 2014
The self-evolving 3D printer robot will need a kill switch

A professor at a Dutch university is creating an independent robot system with a 3D printer that should develop themselves totally independently. The result should be that the robots should evolve into a new, stronger generation. It will be the real independent evolution of robots in the real world, something that has never been done before.

The robots will get their own life cycle. A robot will be printed and then in the end be melted down again to be the raw material for a new robot. It will be an eco-system that only needs energy. Robots that are good at finding the energy will live longer, so a real survival of the fittest will come into being. It will be the first time ever that evolution is imitated in reality.


Robots that develop in an evolutionary way already exist, but this evolution is imitated in a computer, and it is still purely digital and it is the human being that decides how the robot looks. With the new self-developing and evolving robot system it is not sure how the robots will look. They will decide by themselves.


According to the professor a complete new generations can come into being in just a few days. And what would happen on the long run? He does not know, although he already fantasizes about self-developing and evolving robot systems to clean up the radioactive mess in Fukushima  or that can build a settlement on Mars.


The professor has been submitting a research proposal at the European Commission and the upcoming months it will become clear if the project will be funded with the needed 4 million, to start the first living and development space for the self-evolving robots. Also other universities and a high tech company will join in the project.


There is an ethical dilemma though: the self-evolving robot will need a kill switch, in case one loses control over how the robots are evolving. If that becomes dangerous for human beings it needs to be possible to stop the process. With self-thinking killer drones coming up, this might be quite an important dilemma to solve.


Source: De Volkskrant







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