Curiosity & the Future of Robotics

Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom has written an article for Forbes regarding the recent successful landing of the Mars rover Curiosity and what this step will mean for the future of robotics and AI. She writes, "Even though spacecraft travel at high speeds through the solar system, the travel times are long enough that software advances can be significant. The software has already been updated once during its 8 month flight. Beaming software is one way robots throughout the solar system can take advantage of exponential advances on Earth. In a few more years, the computing systems on interplanetary robots will be able to run extremely complex AI programs due to further advances in exponential technology. Perhaps advanced chips will be sent out to be fitted to older spacecraft, and extend the life of rovers like Curiosity."

She continues, "Advancement in autonomous navigation systems, such as those used by the Google Cars, and intelligent data understanding (reacting to unexpected events) are current technologies. The rise of semantic technologies (such as a future version of Watson or SIRI on Mars) and machine learning will drastically change robotic missions in the near future. Advanced software could be hosted on the next generations of Mars rovers, or even retrofitted into rovers like Curiosity. Around the time AI systems are creating the next AI systems on Earth, we may be able to beam AI programs out to robots on Mars with a complexity beyond human understanding."

She questions, "When this happens, would there even be a reason to leave Earth to explore the Universe? Do we enhance our experience through the robots we send out into the cosmos with highly sophisticated exponential sensor technologies that will serve as our eyes and ears – beaming back fully immersive experiences, without traveling for years – or do we even get superseded by super robots who could one day think for themselves?"

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Brett Jordan