Although it’s certainly similar, it’s not the story of “The King’s Wise Men”, but the story of how a simple logic test shows self-awareness in a robot when faced with a classic philosophical problem.
Technology has seen advancements in the last decades more than it could have been imagined. Robots are becoming a strong workforce, already utilized in fabrics, soon in the hotel industry apparently and automatic functions will be driving our cars for us.
Still, the process of humanizing them has not yet been finished. And, quite frankly, most do not seem to pull on that thread too hard. However, an experiment conducted in New York has proven that robots can gain self-awareness, by recognizing its own voice and everything around it.
The tale of “The King’s Wise Men” speaks about a king wishing to find a new advisor and measuring three candidates to a test. Each of them had a hat placed upon their head and told that at least one of them was blue in color, meaning that one, two or all three hats could be in the same shade.
The candidates were not allowed to speak to each other and only saw the colors of the other two hats. The first one to guess the color of his own, won, and would become the king’s new advisor.
The experiment on three robots was modeled after the story, though with the obvious necessary adjustments. All three of the robots were told that they received a “dumbing pill” that will render their ability to speak null, which was essentially pushing the button for “silent”.
However, one of three still had its ability to speak functional. When asked “Which pill did you receive?”, all three robots attempted to say “I don’t know.”, with only one of them able to actually voice out the words.
Upon recognizing its own voice and understanding simple logic, the robot quickly changed its answer to “Sorry, I know now!”. It may not be groundbreaking, but it still remains that an engineered robot could figure out that by speaking, it logically meant it had the ability to speak.
It showed a great advancement in the process of providing them self-awareness and capabilities to solve problems that might help in the future.
It also might not be Skynet just yet, but hopes are that they never will be.
Image source: popsci.com