Autonomous Mental Development by Robot and Animals

How does one create the intelligent of machine? This problem has proven difficult. Scientist have taken one of three approaches over the past years, firstly, which is knowledge based, an intelligent machine in a laboratory is programmed directly to perform a given task. Secondly, learning base approach, a computer is “spoon fed” human edited sensory data while the machine is controlled by a task specific learning program. Third, is by a “genetic search”, robots have evolved through generations by the principle of survival of the fittest, mostly in a computer simulated virtual world. Although notable, none of these is powerful enough to lead to machine having the diverse, complex, and highly integrated capabilities of an adult brain, such as vision, language and speech. These traditional approaches have done as the incubator for the birth and growth of a new direction for machine intelligence: autonomous mental development.

What is autonomous mental development? With a brainlike natural or an artificial embodied system, under the control of its intrinsic developmental program develops mental capabilities through autonomous real time interactions with its environments by using its own effectors and sensors. Traditionally, a machine is not autonomous when it develops its skills, but a human is autonomous throughout its lifelong mental development.

Current advances in neuroscience illustrate this principle. For instance, if the optic nerves originating from the eyes of an animal are connected into the auditory pathway early in life, the auditory cortex gradually takes on representation that is normally found in the visual cortex. Further, the rewired animals learn successfully to perform vision tasks with the auditory cortex. This discovery advises that the cortex is governed by developmental principles that work for both auditory and visual signals. For instance, the developmental program of the monkey brain dynamically elect sensory input, according to the actual sensory signal that received, and the selection process is active throughout adulthood.

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