Robot Dreams

Well, not really dreams. More like, Robots taking over the world because they don’t need humans any more to figure stuff out for them.

This is not entirely new … we’ve heard some news of this before. What concerns me, of course, is that once the robots can think for themselves … well, you know what happens next.

If Isaac Newton had had access to a supercomputer, he’d have had it watch apples fall and let it figure out what that meant. But the computer would have needed to run an algorithm developed by Cornell researchers that can derive natural laws from observed data.

The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that represent natural laws — without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer. They have tested their method, or algorithm, on simple mechanical systems and believe it could be applied to more complex systems ranging from biology to cosmology and be useful in analyzing the mountains of data generated by modern experiments that use electronic data collection.

The research is described in the April 3 issue of the journal Science (Vol. 323, No. 5924) by Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and graduate student Michael Schmidt, a specialist in computational biology.

The rest of the press release is here.


  1. #1 Mankel
    April 6, 2009

    We are doomed!

  2. #2 The Science Pundit
    April 6, 2009

    Well, they’ve already taken my job! It’s about f#@$ing time that they started putting PhD’s out of work!!

  3. Only humans, who have little understanding of the natural world and how it works, hell, we don’t even understand exactly how our own brain functions, could be so audastic as to believe that algorithms used to analyze simple machines could be used to understand complex biologic processes.

    Egad! Perhaps they should use the algorithyms to understand their own egos.