Engineers at Columbia University, New York, have peaked in the robotics inventions, inventing a mechanical hand that can be programmed on its own – even after a defect occurs. Professor Hod Lipson, who runs the Laboratory for Creative Machines, where the survey was conducted, compared the robotic arm with how the "newborn" adapts to their environment and learns independently. A group of scientists argued that this is the first time a robot has demonstrated the ability to "imagine" and discover its purpose, to find out how to operate without built-in mechanics. In a study published in Science Robotics, prof. Lipson said: "This is perhaps the newborn baby in the crib, as she finds out what it is.
"We suppose that this advantage may be an evolutionary origin of self-awareness in humans.
"While the ability of our robots to imagine is still rough compared to humans, we believe this ability is on the road to machine-conscious self."
The mechanical arm was designed without knowledge of physics, geometry or dynamics.
After spending about 35 hours randomly, the mechanism managed to grasp the intense computer knowledge and understand its abilities.
Shortly after the mechanical arm managed to build its own biomechanics, allowing it to cleverly collect and release objects.
The robot also performs other tasks such as typing with a marker.
The researchers printed a 3D deformed part to simulate a damaged part, to see if the robot could detect the error and adapt its mechanics.
The arm was able to detect the defect, and retrained its system to continue performing tasks despite the damaged part.
The authors warn: "Self-consciousness will lead to more elastic and adaptive systems, but also involves loss of control.
"It's a powerful technology, but it needs to be taken care of."
However, some scientists argue that robots will never be able to develop their own intelligence as complex as humans.
Dr. Nigel Schadballt, a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford, said: "Does AI threaten humanity? Of course, what you see in Hollywood shows it that way. They are usually crazy, bad, and dangerous to know Basically, you do not want to get close to them.
"But it's a mistake to understand where the real problem lies. It's not artificial intelligence that should intimidate you, it's natural nonsense."