SOINN, The Robot Apocalypse Begins

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There is nothing like a cool technology story. Today’s little story comes from my good friend Koichi.

Have you ever hear of SOINN? If you haven’t prepare to have your mind blown!

SOINN Stands for the Self Organizing Incremental Neural Network. This is a learning algorithm created by Dr. Osamu Hasegawa at the Tokyo Institue of Technology. Wait wouldn’t that school name abbreviate as T.I.T.? I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. Back to the story…

This algorithm can use the internet to actually learn and recognize what things are. For example if SOINN has never seen a pair of scissors before, it can learn what they are and then be able recognize any pair of scissors that it sees thereafter!

In addition, SOINN can also link properties to objects: “scissors are sharp,” “pens and pencils are cylindrical and stick-like,” or “humans are the enemy.”

Okay, I’m joking about that last one, but couldn’t someone program a machine to think that? It sounds like the start of some real-life, “I ROBOT” type of movie.

I know this may seem kind of trivial to some, but I think this technology has insane potential. If a computer can learn to this extent, it’s only the beginning. What other things will this algorithm be able to learn? Human communication? Emotions? I find stories like this truly fascinating. Check out this video:

Japan is renowned for it’s technological prowess. One of the things that truly impressed me about Japanese technology were its advances with robotics and artificial intelligence. Oh yeah, that invisibility suit that they made at Tokyo University is pretty cool, too.

When you look at Honda’s Asimo robot it’s kind of hard not to be amazed by what it can do. It can recognize faces, mimic people’s actions (like dancing), and even run. I remember seeing Asimo closeup at the Tokyo Motor show. He was literally about two feet directly in front of me. I kind of wanted to snatch him and run off. He was that cool.


I also remember being quite amazed when I found out that the company Cyberdyne was real and was headquartered in Tsukuba, Japan very close to where I lived. Cyberdyne doesn’t make T100s or T1000s (to my knowledge) but they do make the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL??) a cyborg suit that can substantially increase a human’s strength You can even rent these mo fos. Don’ believe me? Here’s a link:

http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/customer/index.html

Just click on “domestic rental.”

Despite how cool all of this stuff is, in the back of my mind I’m kind of freaking me out a bit, in a sci-fi, “robots take over the world” kind of way. I was looking at all of these cool items and I had this thought run through my head:

“What do you get when you combine Honda’s Asimo Robot, the Cyberdyne strength suit, and the SOINN artificial brain?

What do you get when you add Cyberdyne's HAL strength suit, Honda's Asimo, and the new Soinn algorithm?

What do you get when you add Cyberdyne’s HAL strength suit, Honda’s Asimo, and the new Soinn algorithm?

THE END OF THE FUC*ING WORLD, THAT’S WHAT!” If you throw in the invisibility suit and you end up with some Predator-type robot that nobody can freakin’ see!

If anybody needs me. I’ll be in the fallout shelter underneath my apartment.

Sincerely,

Donald Ash

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  • Nanami

    I totally called it!! And Donald-kun, if you’re into robots and AI, try reading the book The Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto! It’s really good and the English translation is amazing (I have a copy of it and have read it several times now). It starts off with something similar to this being what gives rise to AI and our dependency on it. I won’t ruin the story but you should totally check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.. and also..: AWESOME! I want a persocom :|

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