In the near future, robots could be run by bacteria

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic in the tech world. AI is the idea that a machine could not only speak and act like a human; but also be consciously aware of itself and its surroundings.

Studies on AI have been conducted for decades. Some hypothesize that one would teach the machine as one might a child. Others hypothesize that a language would have to be created specifically for an AI that equips them with logic and conceptual distinctions. However, a paper published on July 16 in Scientific Reports gave a very different idea.

A Virginia Tech scientist, Warren Ruder, created a mathematical model to demonstrate the idea that bacteria could potentially control the behavior of a machine, such as a robot. He proposed that he could build a living microbiome on a non-living machine, or robot, and control the device through the microbiome. Essentially, the bacteria would act as a living and fully functioning brain.

Ruder is an assistant professor of biological systems engineering; his research conducted at the university found that robots may be able to have an actual brain. In the future, Ruder would like to design and create robot-type machines with the ability to read the expressions coming from the bacteria, such as E. coli.

In Ruder’s mathematical experiment, the bacteria would turn either green or red in response to what they ate. Additionally, the theoretical robot used sensors to read the color of the bacteria; thus telling it how to act and where, depending on the color.

While Ruder plans to use his findings for the biological development for the interactions between soil and bacteria, he very well might be onto something much more… intelligent.

His discovery that a machine could potentially be controlled by a living and functioning “brain” may lead to thousands of other similar studies and further development in the on-going search for the first artificial intelligence.

Post Author: tucollegian

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