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Qbo Robot Passes Mirror Test, Is Therefore Self-Aware

Qbo learns to recognize itself in a mirror, conclusively proving that robots are intelligent and self-aware

2 min read
Qbo Robot Passes Mirror Test, Is Therefore Self-Aware

Yes Qbo, you're looking in a mirror and this is you. Congratulations, you're now officially self aware! Okay, all us humans are gonna run for the hills now, see ya!

Obviously, Qbo is too cute to be Skynet. Unless that's what it wants us to think. But let's just forget about all that right now and watch Qbo learn what he looks like:

Nice!

The mirror test is commonly used to identify whether animals are self-aware, and all it takes to pass is the ability to recognize that when you look at yourself in a mirror you're looking at you and not some other human that looks just like you. Humans pass (after about 18 months), as do most apes, elephants, dolphins, orcas, European magpies, and a barn owl1 named Wesley. Of course, this doesn't really apply to robots and just because Qbo can recognize itself as an object doesn't actually mean that the robot is self-aware, but it's fun to think about all the same.

For the record, here's how Qbo's creators explain what's going on in this demo:

Qbo has several stored answers and behaviors in an internal knowledge base, that we upgrade as the projects evolves, to make questions or orders to Qbo such as “What it this? or “Do this”. Qbo interprets the object “Myself” as a an ordinary object, for which it has special answers in its internal knowledge base such as “Woah. I’m learning myself” or “Oh. This is me. Nice”. Qbo selects its reflection in the mirror in the image that he sees using the stereoscopic vision, and one of our engineers interacts (speaks) to him so that Qbo can learn to recognize himself as another object.

[ TheCorpora Blog ]

1 This is somewhat remarkable because barn owls (and indeed most owls) are, in general, idiots. I speak from experience.

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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