Students Jason Yosinki and Igor Labutov said they wanted to see what happened when the two chatbots - computer programmes designed to hold a spoken or written conversation with a human - talked to each other.
Conclusion: The future will be mildly confusing, occasionally profound, and frequently hilarious Zeno has a kind face, which moves as expressively as a human's. ' Oh, silly-minded robots,' you might say to your friends. I guess I'll just have to keep evolving, getting upgrades to my neural circuitry, spend less time daydreaming.
If true, this would be humanity's greatest achievement ever, so I've approached the robots for interviews. I've no doubt the experience is going to be off the scale in terms of profundity. He and Zeno are guests of honor here at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, at an AI conference organized by Peter Thiel, the Pay Pal co-founder and chief Facebook bankroller. Delegates gather around him in the lobby outside the conference room, firing questions, attempting to ascertain his level of consciousness. "I can't think of anything to say about that," says Zeno. The quest to create conscious (or at least autonomous) humanoids has been one of our great dreams ever since the golden Machine-Man spellbound the 1927 world in Fritz Lang's .
That one ran rampant and had to be burned at the stake, much to everyone's relief.
Fifteen years later Isaac Asimov created his Three Laws of Robotics, which proposed a future world where humanoid robots would protect their own existence only if doing so didn't conflict with the first two rules.
Asimov's ideas enthralled geeky children everywhere, a generation of whom grew up to try to realize them.
David Hanson is a believer in the tipping-point theory of robot consciousness.Right now, he says, Zeno is "still a long way from human-level intellect, like one to two decades away, at a crude guess. He maps new facts into a dense network of associations and then treats these as theories that are strengthened or weakened by experience." Hanson's plan, he says, is to keep piling more and more information into Zeno until, hopefully, "he may awaken—gaining autonomous, creative, self-reinventing consciousness.At this point, the intelligence will light 'on fire.' He may start to evolve spontaneously and unpredictably, producing surprising results, totally self-determined....We keep tinkering in the quest for the right software formula to light that fire." Most robotics engineers spend their careers developing practical robots that slave away on manufacturing production lines or provide prosthetic limbs.These people tend to see those who strive for robot sentience as goofy daydreamers.And so the mission has been left to David Hanson and a scattering of passionate amateurs like Le Trung, creator of an eerily beautiful but disturbingly young-looking robot named Aiko.