Thursday, October 7, 2010

Organic Operating System

Life imitates art - Skynet becomes closer to reality that even Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting nervous.  When it comes to developing really cool technologies the world has never seen, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the place that is making that happen.

The AFRL in Rome, New York has been developing a self-aware computer system that automatically adapts and optimizes its behavior.  Cut off it's arm, and it uses another system to hold the gun to your head.  It does this through a new "organic" operating system (OOS).

The user sets inputs by setting a goal and allotting a budget.  The self-aware OOS has five key properties to accomplish the task:
  1. Ability to observe itself and optimize its behavior.
  2. Observe application behavior and optimize the application.
  3. Self-healing.
  4. Goal-oriented while optimizing constraints.
  5. Is lazy - using just enough resources to accomplish the task.
To put these into terms we can all understand.
GOAL: The Terminator has to kill Connor.
CONSTRAINTS: The Terminator can only kill Connor using the death tools of the timeline he is transported to.
OBSERVANT: The Terminator recognizes Connor as a threat and takes a defensive posture.
SELF-AWARE: Connor removes the Terminators gun-shooting arm. The Terminator realizes he can no longer shoot Conner with that arm, so picks up the gun with his other arm
GOAL-ORIENTED: The Terminator continues towards his goal under new constraints by shooting at Conner with his other arm.
LAZINESS: The Terminator didn't waste effort running after Connor or fixing his arm, he just picked up the gun and kept shooting.

Compare that to today SCARAs or industrial robots.  If a welding robot looses the welding head, it doesn't stop welding.  NOOOO!  It keeps following it's program completely unaware that it's not actually accomplishing its goal or has an appendage dangling by its hydraulic hose.  Industrial robots are not self aware and are not hell-bent on accomplishing its goal at all costs.

But that's not all.  It gets scarier.  Imagine a Terminator made of Liquid Metal combined with the ability to self heal.  That's enough for even Robert Patrick to be concerned.

I'd pay close attention to the AFRL.  While the commercial world is oogling CPUs and GPUs and APUs as great technical advances, the military is developing an OOS capable of taking over the world via its cloud computing capabilities.

For More Information
Defense Tech BriefsSelf-Aware Computing article
Liquid Metal Technologies
The Apple iTerminator
Skynet (just kidding, here's the real link)

(Solidsmack, aka Baltar, has been warning us! Or just desensitizing us for our new masters.)
Robots Will Digest and Poo You
Design the Robot Face of Death
Robots too Small to Carry You Off, Not Your Kids
Robots Won't Eat You, Just Take Your Job
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