A T-1000 actuality: what ChatGPT and AI might maintain for us

With generative synthetic intelligence (AI) methods equivalent to ChatGPT and StableDiffusion being the speak of the city proper now, it’d really feel like we’ve taken an enormous leap nearer to a sci-fi actuality the place AIs are bodily entities throughout us.

Certainly, computer-based AI seems to be advancing at an unprecedented charge. However the charge of development in robotics – which we might consider because the potential bodily embodiment of AI – is sluggish.

Might or not it’s that future AI methods will want robotic “our bodies” to work together with the world? If that’s the case, will nightmarish concepts just like the self-repairing, shape-shifting T-1000 robotic from the Terminator 2 film come to fruition? And will a robotic be created that would “reside” ceaselessly?

Power for ‘life’

Organic lifeforms like ourselves want power to function. We get ours through a mixture of meals, water, and oxygen. The vast majority of crops additionally want entry to mild to develop.

By the identical token, an eternal robotic wants an ongoing power provide. At the moment, electrical energy dominates power provide on the earth of robotics. Most robots are powered by the chemistry of batteries.

An alternate battery kind has been proposed that makes use of nuclear waste and ultra-thin diamonds at its core. The inventors, a San Francisco startup known as Nano Diamond Battery, declare a potential battery lifetime of tens of 1000’s of years. Very small robots can be an excellent person of such batteries.

However a extra possible long-term answer for powering robots might contain completely different chemistry – and even biology. In 2021, scientists from the Berkeley Lab and UMAss Amherst within the US demonstrated tiny nanobots might get their power from chemical compounds within the liquid they swim in.

The researchers at the moment are understanding how you can scale up this concept to bigger robots that may work on strong surfaces.

Repairing and copying oneself

In fact, an timeless robotic may nonetheless want occasional repairs.

Ideally, a robotic would restore itself if potential. In 2019, a Japanese analysis group demonstrated a research robot called PR2 tightening its own screw using a screwdriver. That is like self-surgery! Nonetheless, such a way would solely work if non-critical parts wanted restore.

Different analysis teams are exploring how gentle robots can self-heal when broken. A gaggle in Belgium confirmed how a robotic they developed recovered after being stabbed six instances in one in all its legs. It stopped for a couple of minutes till its pores and skin healed itself, and then walked off.

One other uncommon idea for restore is to make use of different issues a robotic may discover within the setting to exchange its damaged half.

Final 12 months, scientists reported how dead spiders can be used as robot grippers. This type of robotics is named “necrobotics”. The thought is to make use of useless animals as ready-made mechanical units and fix them to robots to change into a part of the robotic.


A video of a spider hooked up to a syringe being lowered onto one other spider and selecting it up. The proof-of-concept in necrobotics concerned taking a useless spider and ‘reanimating’ its hydraulic legs with air, making a surprisingly sturdy gripper. Preston Innovation Laboratory/Rice College.

A robotic colony?

From all these current developments, it’s fairly clear that in precept, a single robotic could possibly reside ceaselessly. However there’s a very lengthy strategy to go.

Many of the proposed options to the power, restore and replication issues have solely been demonstrated within the lab, in very managed situations and usually at tiny scales.

The last word answer could also be one in all giant colonies or swarms of tiny robots who share a typical mind, or thoughts. In any case, that is precisely what number of species of bugs have advanced.

The idea of the “thoughts” of an ant colony has been contemplated for many years. Analysis revealed in 2019 confirmed ant colonies themselves have a type of reminiscence that’s not contained within any of the ants.

This concept aligns very nicely with in the future having huge clusters of robots that would use this trick to exchange particular person robots when wanted, however hold the cluster “alive” indefinitely.

Red ants colony at work

Ant colonies can include ‘recollections’ which are distributed between many particular person bugs. AdobeStock

In the end, the scary robotic situations outlined in numerous science fiction books and flicks are unlikely to immediately develop with out anybody noticing.

Engineering ultra-reliable {hardware} is extraordinarily troublesome, particularly with complicated methods. There are presently no engineered merchandise that may final ceaselessly, and even for a whole lot of years. If we do ever invent an timeless robotic, we’ll even have the possibility to construct in some safeguards.