Robotic evolution


\nAs New Scientist Tech points out, it will soon be possible to "evolve" colonies of robots that are able to think, act and even pass on their robotic DNA to future generations:

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"Robots that artificially evolve ways to communicate with one another\nhave been demonstrated by Swiss researchers. The experiments suggest\nthat simulated evolution could be a useful tool for those designing of\nswarms of robots. Roboticists Dario Floreano,\nSara Mitri, and Stéphane Magnenat at the Swiss Federal Institute of\nTechnology in Lausanne collaborated with biologist Laurent Keller from\nthe University of Lausanne.


They first\nevolved colonies of robots in software then tested different strategies\non real bots. Both simulated and real robots were set loose in an arena\ncontaining two types of objects – one classified as "food" and another\ndesignated "poison" – both lit up red. Each bot\nhad a built-in attraction to food and aversion to poison. They also\nhave a randomly-generated set of parameters, dubbed "genomes" that\ndefine the way they move, process sensory information, and how they\nflash their own blue lights... Their "genomes"\nwere combined and randomized in a way designed to mimic mating and\nmutation and used this to create the next generation robot."

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With a nod to Charles Darwin, the Swiss researchers are calling the process by which "smart" robots live and "dumb" robots die "unnatural selection."

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