Inside Mechanical Brains:
What Do Robots Dream Of?

3 January, 2013

Share this story:
Follow us: - Have you ever wonder what robots dream of? The idea that robots can dream might sound implausible to some. Robots are machines. They do not have feelings emotions and they certainly cannot dream, many people would undoubtedly argue.

Not long ago, Nico demonstrated that a robot can become self-aware.

If even artificial intelligence is familiar with the concept of self-awareness, then perhaps it is possible to create robots that can also dream?

In Arthur C. Clarke's classical space adventure 2010: Space Odyssey Two, Sal-900 asks: "Will I dream?" Dr. Chandra replies "Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why... Perhaps you will dream about HAL - as I often do."

According to J. Bongard, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University Vermont, "robots equipped with an algorithm that infers their own physical structure from stored sensory data, dreams of their prior actions, so to speak- perform better in a simple forward locomotion task than robots whose decisions are not dream-inspired.

Can robots dream?

Furthermore, robots that use these self-models to plan future actions can recover autonomously from injuries, by adapting their gait to compensate for the changed circumstances."

In a way, one could say that robots, not totally unlike people do get "tired" at times and have a need for "rest".

Dr. Adami, Professor of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute believes that a robot might benefit from some "down time" just like people do.

Dr. Adami speculates that if robots were given an alternate state, one in which the robot stopped exploring and instead focused on a problem or obstacle, it could provide benefits for them just like it provides benefits for human beings.

This raises the question: "How would dream-inspired algorithms work in terra incognita?"

A robot would spend the day exploring part of the landscape, and perhaps be stymied by an obstacle.

At night, the robot would replay its actions and infer a model of the environment. Armed with this model, it could think of-that is, synthesize- actions that would allow it to overcome the obstacle, perhaps trying out those in particular that would best allow it to understand the nature of the obstacle. Informally, then, the robot would dream up strategies for success- just as the robot constructed by Bongard dreams about its own shape and form-and approach the morning with fresh ideas.

Although such an algorithm would require far more complex simulations than those giving rise to self-models in the work of Bongard, robots relying on this kind of navigation could play an interesting role in our quest to understand the nature of consciousness.

Perhas robots dream about landscapes or relaxing activities..?

For example, we ought to be able to record the changes in the robot's artificial brain as it establishes its beliefs and models about the world and itself, and from those infer not only its cognitive algorithms, but also witness the emergence of a personality.

Thus, perhaps the discipline of experimental robot psychology is not too far off in the future. And even though the robots studied by Bongard seem to prefer to dream about themselves rather than electric sheep, they just may have unwittingly helped us understand what dreams are for.

So, robots can certainly dream, but their dreams will be slightly unlike ours and who knows may androids do dream of electric sheep after all.


See also:
"Self-Awareness" - New Discovery How The Brain Constructs A Sense Of Self

Follow for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:

Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:

Bizarre Neuroscience Of Immortality: Scientist Wants To Die So He Can Live Forever

Immortality is a hot topic among scientists these days. There are scientists who want to upload your brain into a hologram to keep you alive forever, and now there are even those who are willing to die...

Mysterious Brain Of Daniel Tammet - A Scientific Rosetta Stone

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner


Copyright © All rights reserved.

Advertise With Us!


 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Closer To Realistic Virtual Worlds - Disney Researchers Reproduce Human Face!
The technology, which employs several consumer-grade photo cameras to capture a face in a fraction of a second, gives the possibility to replicate the human face - with near-perfect accuracy!

Hacking Your Brain And Extracting Sensitive Information Will Soon Be Possible
In the near future it will be possible to extract sensitive information with help of a brain-hacking software. It doesn't really matter if you want to share the information or not, this software will force you against your will...

Car That Can Fold Itself Up: HIRIKO Can Squeeze Into Really Tiny Spaces!

Silicone-Based Robots Can Walk And Change Their Appearance
In the near future this kind of amazing robots will cost just a few dollars. This robot is made of silicone. It can walk, change color and light up in the dark. It can even change temperature...

Upload Your Brain Into A Hologram: Project Avatar 2045 - A New Era For Humanity Or Scientific Madness?

Would you like to live forever? What do you think about the idea that your conscious mind will be uploaded into a hologram?

Can Parallel Universes Explain The Déjà Vu Phenomenon?

Have you ever had a déjà vu experience? It's the feeling, or impression that you have already witnessed or experienced...

A Milestone Towards Future Satellite-Based Quantum Teleportation Achieved But Race Still Continues!
Teleportation experiments represent a crucial step toward future quantum networks in space, which require space to ground quantum communication. Physicists achieved a great progress by teleporting more than 1100 photons...

Our Brain Is A Holographic Machine Existing In A Holographic Universe

Stanford brain researcher and the quantum physicist, Dr. Karl Pribram, was long puzzled by a perplexing question...

Star Trek Tricorder - Now Available Online For Anyone To Build!

Do We Live In A Computer Simulation Created By An Advanced Alien Civilization?

Spying On People Inside Building Through The Walls

Biometrics: Eye-Scanners Can Be Fooled

European Physicists Break Quantum Teleportation Record!

Incredible Crystal Star City Hovering In The Air - It Looks Just Like An Alien Invasion

Levitating Ball Defies Gravity - Incredible Technology Of The Future

DeepFlight Super Falcon - A New Advanced "Flying" Submersible - The Future Of Manned Ocean Exploration!

Two-thirds of our planet is underwater. We glide over the surface of the oceans, but we still have very little idea what is going on a few metres down. This underwater vehicle named DeepFlight Super Falcon makes true wonders ...


NASA's 'Mighty Eagle' Robotic Prototype Lander Takes Flight - It Can Hover And Move Sideways!

Tractor Beam Works On Increasingly Larger Objects - "Star Wars" Mighty Technology Much Closer

NextGen - How Future More "Exotic-Looking" Aircraft Will Change The Way We Travel

Project Glass: How Google Will Look Through Your Eyes And Record All That You See

Space-Time Crystal Computer That Can Outlive Even The Universe Itself!

World’s Thinnest Screen Created From A Soap Bubble