University of Southern California professors believe the next step in artificial intelligence is a robot’s will to live

According to Science News Magazine , artificial intelligence is on the verge of a breakthrough. Currently, robots do not feel anything and are always in a state of well being. This, according to professors Kingson Man and Antonio Damasio from the University of Southern California, is the reason artificial intelligence is unable to solve problems with creative solutions. Man and Damasio believe that robots need a feeling of self-preservation in order to generate complex feelings. They created this idea from the understanding of homeostasis. Homeostasis is “the idea that life must regulate itself to remain within a narrow range of suitable conditions” (Science News). ~

Man and Damasio believe in order to create this homeostasis, recent developments in soft robotics and deep learning need to be used. Soft robotics refers to making robots out of soft objects in order for robots to be worried about hurting their exterior. This worry for hurting oneself will create a need for homeostasis within the robot. Furthermore, deep learning is a set of computer elements to mimic the nervous system. This allows for the robot to put different things into categories like identifying objects and reading a medical device. Linking these external and internal conditions “provides a crucial piece of the puzzle of how to intertwine a system’s internal homeostatic states with its external perceptions and behavior,” Man and Damasio note. ~

Once robots are able to feel due to their sense of survival, Man and Damasio believe they will be a great benefit to humankind. Although Science News brings up the worry about artificial intelligence hurting humans, Man and Damasio offered a solution to that problem. Man and Damisio claim, “in addition to having access to its own feelings, [the robot] would be able to know about the feelings of others — that is, if it would be endowed with empathy.” This idea that robots could have empathy towards the people and other robots around them would ensure, in Man and Damasio’s mind, the safety of humans and the robots themselves. ~

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