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Watch how this robot displays self-awareness during experiment

Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Reasoning Lab in New York are in the process of testing three humanoid robots for self-awareness and self-recognition. These self-aware robots are created and programmed as NAO robots, which are used commercially and for research purposes.self-aware-robots-nao

The aim of implanting self-awareness in robots is carried out by programming, and does not involve its mechanics. The program allowed the robot to identify itself, and the results can lead to significant advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the coming years. A “dumbing pill” made to think that two robots were incapable of speech, and the three humanoids were asked which one was not given the pill. In response, a robot was able to identify its speech, and the self-awareness capability made itself to state that it was not given the pill.


This is considered as a breakthrough as self-awareness is considered as a main trait of human beings, and this could lead to further complex AI structures. The test performed on these three humanoids is known as “The King’s Wise Men.” In the puzzle, the king decides on his new advisor by calling the three of his wisest men to the contest. The kings then lays a white or blue hat on the three wise men, but the color can only be seen by the one in front of the other.

“This is a fundamental question that I hope people are increasingly understanding about dangerous machines,” said Bringsjord. “All the structures and all the processes, informationally speaking, that are associated with performing actions out of malice could be present in the robot.”

The first wise man who identifies the color of the hat becomes the king’s advisor. The solution is that all the three were wearing blue hats. In a similar way, none of the robots were given the dumbing pill, but one of the robots manages to self-assess and ascertain the reality. The researchers have stated that they plan to instill morals in robots,  with the ultimate aim of creating robots can can decide by itself in life-saving and emergency situations.

Bringsjord will present his research this August at the IEEE RO-MAN conference in Japan, which is focussed on “interactions with socially embedded robots”.

Watch NAO robot’s performance in this video:

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About Anirudh Madhav

A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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