HomeNewsResearchers Reportedly Building Robots That Can ‘Give Birth’ to Other Robots

Researchers Reportedly Building Robots That Can ‘Give Birth’ to Other Robots

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Westend61 via Getty Images)

Robot uprisings and superintelligent AI takeovers. What was once a nightmare scenario confined to the realm of science fiction has slowly but surely become a more plausible future. With ever-advancing technology, scientists have created robots capable of everything from trivial tasks to delicate surgical procedures.

Back in 2017, robots at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research Lab were taught to speak and developed their own language, eventually having full conversations indecipherable by the researchers. The bot-to-bot conversations “led to divergence from human language as the agents developed their own language for negotiating,” as the scientists put it. And as if that wasn’t unsettling enough, the technology has only advanced from there.

“There remains much potential for future work,” Facebook’s researchers wrote in their paper, “particularly in exploring other reasoning strategies, and in improving the diversity of utterances without diverging from human language.”

But amid the construction of the seemingly endless army of intelligent metallic beings, we’ve always had one small consolation. They can’t reproduce. No, that function has always been reserved for humans and other living, breathing plants and animals. And it always will be. Right? Right??

MIT Scientists Create Self-Replicating Swarm of Robots

Wrong. Researchers at MIT are cooking up a flock of tiny robots. These miniature electronic beings are capable of all sorts of fascinating (or hair-raising, depending on your outlook) functions. That includes carrying power and data, building structures and vehicles…and reproducing.

More specifically, they’re able to replicate themselves through construction. Rather than being restricted to building similarly tiny robots, however, the fun-size army can build larger versions of themselves as well.

And every hostile robot army, I mean astonishing invention, needs a name. The subunit of the robot, which is currently under construction at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, is called a voxel.

“When we’re building these structures, you have to build in intelligence,” MIT Professor and CBA Director Neil Gershenfeld said in a statement. “What emerged was the idea of structural electronics — of making voxels that transmit power and data as well as force.”

The voxels make up the robot and the pieces of the thing being built. This allows them to work together to create structures far larger than themselves. “It could build a structure,” CBA doctoral student Amira Abdel-Rahman explained in a statement. “Or it could build another robot of the same size, or it could build a bigger robot,”

Anyone beginning to hyperventilate can breathe a sigh of relief. The robots can’t create massive swarms of themselves – yet. The research is promising, meaning self-replicating robots could become a reality in the coming years. Researchers are currently working with the aviation industry, car companies, and NASA on the further development of the new technology.