Super robots to be given eyes & intelligence to identify terrorists and enemy aircraft

AI BREAKTHROUGH: Super robots to be given BRAINS to identify terrorists and enemy aircraft

SUPER-ROBOTS are to be given 'brains' which mimic human eyes to enable them to identify terror suspects in a crowd, enemy aircraft or find missing children.

By ALIX CULBERTSON
PUBLISHED: 00:00, Fri, Aug 4, 2017 | UPDATED: 21:51, Fri, Aug 4, 2017
     
Robots are set to get eyes which can spot terrorists

Scientists are "well within reach" of creating an artificial retina which could be used inside advanced image recognition cameras to help nations' spies and police with investigations.

The exciting breakthrough has been likened to Star Trek's Commander Data as it could contain neuristors - neurons and transistors - and multi-circuit components which emulate the speed at which the human brain works.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and nearby Binghamton University have been awarded a £5.4million grant by the US Department of Defence to develop the technology.

They will be expanding on current findings in which new metal oxide materials buzz electronically at the nanoscale which emulate the way human brain networks buzz on a cellular level.

"Brain-mimicking" will be "significantly" advanced by the new findings and will help scientists' currently limited understanding of how the human brain works.

The new technology consists of ultra-compact circuits called neuristors which sense light, compute an image from it then store the image.

Unlike previous attempts, the new findings mean all three of the functions will occur simultaneously and nearly instantaneously - just like in a human brain.

Alan Doolittle, a professor at Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: "The same device senses, computes and stores the image.

"The device is the sensor, and it's the processor, and it's the memory all at the same time."

Despite computers being extremely rapid in 2017, there is still a processing and memory lag time as machines need to tap into separate memory components, then process, in a never-ending process.

Professor Doolittle, added: "That back-and-forth from memory to microprocessor has created a bottleneck."

With the new retina, signals will flow "very freely, more like they do through the brain" which then massively expands the number of possible pathways it can compute, which in turn helps it compute "powerfully and swiftly".

Thousands of photos will be able to be stored in the new devices to allow them to match up what they see with previous images they have seen.

The Georgia Tech Horizons research magazine, said: "The retina could pinpoint known terror suspects in a crowd, find missing children, or identify enemy aircraft virtually instantaneously, without having to trawl databases to correctly identify what is in the images.

"Even if you take away the optics, the new neuristor arrays still advance artificial intelligence."

There is also the possibility of the retina learning to select further information out of the images it sees.

Professional Doolittle, added: "It will work with anything that has a repetitive pattern like radar signatures, for example.

"Right now, that's too challenging to compute, because radar information is flying out at such a high data rate that no computer can even think about keeping up."

The development is a big step towards mimicking the human brain, although Professor Doolittle admitted there is still a long way to go.

He said: "We're not going to reach circuit complexities of that magnitude, not even a tenth.

"Also, currently science doesn't really know yet very well how the human brain works, so we can't duplicate it."



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