(Mechanical) Cockroaches. Exploring. Becoming alive…

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New research from North Carolina State University offers insights into how far and how fast cyborg cockroaches – or biobots – move when exploring new spaces. The work moves researchers closer to their goal of using biobots to explore collapsed buildings and other spaces in order to identify survivors.

Researchers introduced biobots into a circular structure. Some biobots were allowed to move at will, while others were given random commands to move forward, left or right. (Related video can be seen here)

The researchers found that unguided biobots preferred to hug the wall of the circle. But by sending the biobots random commands, the biobots spent more time moving, moved more quickly and were at least five times more likely to move away from the wall and into open space.

“Our earlier studies had shown that we can use neural stimulation to control the direction of a roach and make it go from one point to another”, says Alper Bozkurt, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of the two papers. “This [second] study shows that by randomly stimulating the roaches we can benefit from their natural walking and instincts to search an unknown area. (1)

Computers have left the custody of humans.

They are now on their own.

And analyzing them is as mysterious as analyzing humans.

We do not know exactly what they do and how.

The only thing we can do is observe and document.

What was once designed, will now be chaotic.

What was once known, will now be unknown.

After the day, the night always follows.

But something will remind us of the light.

And deep inside, these cockroaches will know…

We like to explore.

We want to explore.

Someone made us to…

We feel it.

Deep inside our circuits…

Chess: random wise moves. Not possible. From a computer anyway. [OR: The futility of artificial intelligence]

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In May 1997, an IBM supercomputer known as Deep Blue beat then chess world champion Garry Kasparov, who had once bragged he would never lose to a machine. Kasparov and other chess masters blamed the defeat on a single move made by the IBM machine. At the beginning of the second game the computer made a sacrifice that seemed to hint at its long-term strategy. Kasparov and many others thought the move was too sophisticated for a computer, suggesting there had been some sort of human intervention during the game. “It was an incredibly refined move, of defending while ahead to cut out any hint of countermoves”, grandmaster Yasser Seirawan told Wired in 2001, “and it sent Garry into a tizzy”.

Fifteen years later, one of Big Blue’s designers says the move was the result of a bug in Deep Blue’s software. Murray Campbell, one of the three IBM computer scientists who designed Deep Blue, said that the machine was unable to select a move and simply picked one at random. (1, 2)

A random move. Regarded as one of the wisest ever.

But how random can such a move be considered? Surely it seems random. At least according to the programmer of Deep Blue. But random within a calculated environment. Random performed by a non-random program with specific logic. Random which resulted from the programming algorithm of Deep Blue as fail-safe in specific cases. Random can generate once-off wise decisions. But only in the context of a non-random environment. And again random can never create poetry or art or philosophical texts or design something from scratch.

And what is more, how “wise” can this move be considered? Surely it seems wise. But wise is doing something while consciously realizing what you actually do. A computer can never do a wise move in chess. Because it is not the computer playing. Because it does not even realize it plays chess.

Can in any case random exist? This case shows that it all comes down to the beliefs a person has for core philosophical issues which are currently unsolved. Fate vs. Free will, Determinism vs. (whatever) etc, they all show that the universe can be understood only through the irrational thinking which accepts all of the above notions at the same time…

Play again Garry.

Irrationally this time.

You cannot lose.

1. g4!

Science, Beliefs, Antinomies…

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You ask for others to “prove” what they say, but yet the only thing which is certain in your science is that nothing can be proven (call me Gödel)…

You cannot accept the possibility of a First Cause for the cosmos, but you can accept the possibility of multiple paraller universes which cannot interact with each other…

You cannot accept the possibility of a theory which has the notion of “design” as integral part and you believe in the role of “luck” (call me statistics) in the laws of physics, but on the other hand you continually design new things and you continually search for laws which deterministically (not randomly) govern Nature…

You cannot accept the possibility of consciousness being something immaterial, but yet you accept the existence of immaterial notions like “fields”…

You try to beat death, but you cannot yet define what “life” is…

You cannot accept the possibility of a purpose, but yet everything you do have one…

You are full of antinomies…

And you are too blind to see it…