i-Cub is a humanoid robot.  Not any old common or garden humanoid robot like Robosapien, which is more a toy with a few preprogrammed instructions,   i-Cub learns from following instructions, being told or shown what to do and then doing it.

It’s the size of a slightly large toddler, and the artificial intelligence, dexterity and balance are cotinually being worked upon to improve cognition and functionality. (I’m fighting the temptation to anthropomorphise and call i-Cub a “him”, but its a struggle!)  The size, mechanics and learning processes are based on the proportions and capacity of a 2 year old, in the hope we can understand more about mental and social development.

for more information see here

It seems we are well on the way to creating a new silicon based “life-form” – intelligent, capable of learning, interacting, adapting.  I have the Battlestar Galactica theme running through my head in a semi-morbid kind of way, and my mind wanders into the ethics of slavery and justice.  “Ah – its only a machine” i hear you say, as your eyes gloss over and boredom or confusion sets in.

But how long before something like this passes the Turing Test?  Not long if Microsoft’s project Natal gaming enhancements continue at the speed and capacity they are currently developing:

I don’t understand the intricacies of the  technology  but find it fascinating and challenging to see the developments made, and i wonder where this will take our self understanding and our ethical viewpoint as we look upon our creation and declare it good…

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