Technical Inventions aren’t just the neat and hyped iPads, Segways or other Gadgets –
they are also inventions that help people in life-threatening situations or protect them from poor living conditions. The medical advances in alone should be verification enough to the usefulness of modern Technology. Technology has also changed life in Industrial areas – however, these changes have seen mixed reactions since a lot of jobs that used to be done by people have been lost to machines and robots. Especially in recent years, the progress of technology in artificial intelligence has advanced tremendously.
Gadgets helping around the house or in a factory are not completely new for most of us, even the type that can understand us, such as the new iPhone’s Siri. Through sensory systems and laser scanning they can recognize and process objects. These aspects make robots so useful in dangerous areas. Instead of brave firefighters running into a flaming building, robust and fireproof robots are deployed. However, unfortunately they aren’t just being used to save lives; their use in military situations that we might know from science fiction movies is already a reality.
Additionally, subtle psychological aspects of human behavior are being taught to robots. The goal is to prepare them to deal with emotions, empathy and incorrect beliefs. In essence, they should be able to relate to people. Although robots can currently pick up on human emotions to an extent through reading face expressions or body language, they need further development in the computational model of mind-reading. A few examples of attitudes or emotions that can be read are interest, boredom, contemplation or embarrassment.
Scientists are also looking at the human anatomy to construct robots the same way. For example, wires are used where muscles or tendons would be in a human. The Italian Institute for Technology (IIT) showcased that robots can even look like humans on the inside. Possible usage scenarios for these robots are support in households or assistance of disabled.
Even the sense of self that humans have is being copied by scientists. Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Telenoid has maximal human-like features. He should feel present in the room and perceive his own body as we humans do.
When deciding what makes humans human, one generally agrees that it boils down to: spirit, soul and mind. While it’s impossible to locate and create a soul, researchers are trying to recreate the human mind within the next 10 years using the brain as a model. First up, the researchers want to build an intelligent super computer and around 2023 the virtual human brain should be complete. Whether the human mind and its brain power will actually be able to fit on a chip will be interesting to see.