If we ever want to develop the kind of advanced, thoughtful AI shown in science fiction, it might need a human-like body.
Aberystwyth University computer scientist Mark Lee argues that a truly advanced AI system that can learn from and interact with its environment must have a robotic body as well. Lee wrote in The Conversation that otherwise, even the best AI couldn’t develop the sense of self that gives us humans a subjective viewpoint and helps us infer things about the world.
Lee cites recent attempts to teach AI algorithms in a way that mirrors how infants learn about the world, by slowly learning the rules through experimentation while taking in and interpreting their surroundings. This way, he argues, AI-driving robots may someday become empathetic enough that we could develop a relationship with them.
“So while disembodied AI definitely has a fundamental limitation,” Lee wrote in The Conversation, “future research with robot bodies may one day help create lasting, empathetic, social interactions between AI and humans.”
Lee’s human-centric ideas aren’t universally accepted within computer science, though.
Modeling AI hardware and software after the human brain has certainly led to some major advances. But other experts argue that focusing explicitly on recreating the human mind in a machine could hold the field back.
READ MORE: Why AI can’t ever reach its full potential without a physical body [The Conversation]
More on AI: Artificial Consciousness: How To Give A Robot A Soul
Evrythng, an internet of things (IoT) platform that seeks to give each physical product its own trackable digital identify, has raised $10 million in a round of funding.
The announcement comes as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global supply chain, with inventories, factories, and transport systems all impacted. Evrythng promises transparency and visibility, turning individual items, pallets, and batches into “data-generating” objects on the web and allowing companies to identify and address issues as they arise.
“COVID has caused breakdowns at various parts of the supply chain — factory closures, raw material supply problems, distribution to supply routes, inventory imbalances, and backups,” Evrythng cofounder and CEO Niall Murphy told VentureBeat. “At the same time, COVID has accelerated ecommerce massively, profoundly changing how brands work with different retail channels. Having real-time visibility [into] what is happening across the supply chain and sales channels enables brands to preempt problems and respond or adapt to changes rapidly.”
In addition to giving brands visibility into a product’s path from the manufacturer to retail stores, the underlying technology can offer consumers insights into their product’s journey and even confirm its authenticity — particularly useful when many online marketplaces are awash with fake goods.
Ralph Lauren uses the Evrythng platform to embed unique QR codes into each of its products at the point of production in factories around the world, giving the company real-time visibility into its supply chain and insights into consumer engagement. By scanning the code, shoppers can see instantly that the product is genuine, and they can also link through to the company’s ecommerce store or contact customer service.
“The scale, depth, and ubiquity of Ralph Lauren’s product digitization strategy are groundbreaking,” Murphy said. “While we can clearly point to specific applications like factory
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