Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre and its programs are administered within the Australian Government Department of Industry. The facility attempts to promote greater understanding and awareness of science and technology within the community.
RoboQ is a mechanical humanoid found at Questacon. It utilises features of artificial intelligence (typically pre-programmed responses) to replicate human movement and intelligence. It is an adaptive robot that receives input from sensors to perform physical movements or produce vocal responses. Its parts can be classified as either sensors, controllers or actuators.
The term 'artificial intelligence' was originally created by a mathematician named Alan Turing. He was also involved in formalising the concept of algorithms and computer science.
A Turing machine is a hypothetical device that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules. Despite its simplicity, a Turing machine can be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer algorithm, and is particularly useful in explaining the functions of a CPU inside a computer.
The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human by providing responses to a series of questions. If a person cannot reliably distinguish responses between the machine and the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. An example of the Turing test for you to experience is available at TuringHub, Robitron; alternatively, you can chat to ALICE or Fake Kirk.
In 2014, two computer scientists Russian Vladimir Veselo, and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko working at PrincetonAI, finally passed the Touring Test after they developed "Eugene Goostman", a computer program that simulated a 13-year-old boy, and managed to convince 33 per cent of the judges that it was human. You can read the full news article here.
The free program Google Earth contains many built-in modelling functions.
Open the program and experiment with the flight simulator and marine follow functions.
What other features of artificial intelligence can you identify in your use of Google Earth?
Future of artificial intelligence
Many scientists argue that eventually computers will develop a consciousness and become self-aware, but still believe that it is a long way off.
There are a small group however, that believe some computers are already exhibiting behaviours that appear to be independent thought, mostly through the use of 'bots', or colloquially the ghosts of the machine.
Read the article on chatbots, and discuss your answers with the class.
You should also ensure you complete the activity on the film 'Small Soldiers' on your worksheet.
Developing artificial intelligence
As a final conclusion to artificial intelligence, students will design and develop their own simple video game using Kodu.
Kodu, originally named Boku, is a programming integrated development environment (IDE) by Microsoft's FUSE Labs. It runs on Xbox 360 and a Windows version is available to the general public for download from Microsoft's FUSE web portal.
As has been discussed, artificial intelligence involves the programming of objects with pre-set sequences. Kodu, is an interactive environment that efficiently replicates this process.
The Google Doc describes the features that will be covered in the Kodu development environment. Some of the work is taken from the international open source computing website ictcomputing developed by Matt Brittland in the UK.
Complete the Kodu project from this Google Doc.