AI has developed a unique type of robot called Xenobots that has the ability to self-repair and self-replicate biologically.
According to Forbes, these bots do not contain a single mechanical component and scientists refer to them as “machines”.
Senior author and computer scientist at the University of Vermont, Joshua Bongard, stated, “People have philosophized about this forever. But now you can actually do experiments to create biological machines or machines that make biology, which in turn make machines.”
The AI carried out an evolutionary algorithm that tested billions of biological body shapes in simulation. The algorithm test would aid in finding which configuration cell is capable of replicating on its own.
Clusters of 4,000 to 5,000 frog cells in a petri dish, hand-sculpted by scientists themselves were used to make the xenobots. By simply adding more random frog cells, these bots replicated on their own. Scientists are sculpting the cells to develop a certain way by programming these bots. This is referred to as biological intelligence, which means they will perform better in the real world compared to traditional robots which fail in real-life.
One of the biologists and computer scientists of the team calls them, “programmed engineered organisms”, based on the belief that intelligence was occurring at the design and programming level of the bot, but not the actual bot.
Biologist Douglas Blackiston is of the view that society will have to grasp the gravity of the new technology, and understand what implications and applications it may have.