Artificial Intelligence: Scientists Develop The First AI-based Living Organism


Science seems to be unstoppable when it comes to Artificial Intelligence and robotics.

Just a few days ago, a team of American scientists announced that they had created the first world “living machine” by putting frog cells into organisms that were evolved by algorithms.

According to a report published by Mindy Weisberger on Live Science, “scientists used computer algorithms to ‘evolve’ an organism that's made of 100% frog DNA — but it isn't a frog”.

“Though the original stem cells came from frogs — the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis — these so-called xenobots don't resemble any known amphibians”, the report states. “The tiny blobs measure only 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) wide and are made of living tissue that biologists assembled into bodies designed by computer models”, it continues.

Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist who worked in this experiment, affirmed that this organism is “neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal”. “It's a new class of artefact: a living, programmable organism”, he said. On the other hand, his colleague Sam Kriegman, of the University of Vermont, declared that “this [the organism] is an autonomous agent — it's almost like a wind-up toy”.

These xenobots also follow a sort of evolutionary path based on computer algorithms. “Biologists fed a computer constraints for the autonomous xenobots, such as the maximum muscle power of their tissues, and how they might move through a watery environment. Then, the algorithm produced generations of the tiny organisms”, the article explains. “The best-performing bots would "reproduce" inside the algorithm. And just as evolution works in the natural world, the least successful forms would be deleted by the computer program”, it adds.

However, this discovery has raised some concerns about whether this could be beneficial or potentially destructive for humans. “That fear is not unreasonable", said Michael Levin, of Tufts University in Massachusetts. “When we start to mess around with complex systems that we don't understand, we're going to get unintended consequences”, he expressed.

Draw your own conclusions…

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