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Why Human Brains Hold the Key to Smarter Artificial Intelligence

Human brains sustain 'internal evolution.'

The EU's INSIGHT project has learned about how people solve problems by examining how ideas in their brains could evolve.

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The European Union-funded INSIGHT project has gained a new understanding of how people solve problems by examining how ideas in their brains could evolve throughout their lives, which one day could lead to smarter robots.

Project coordinator Eors Szathmary, a professor at Hungary's Eotvos University, notes robots currently "lack adequate algorithms for insight problem-solving in various contexts, which is vital in human understanding."

INSIGHT used computer simulations, robots, examinations of cell cultures, and human psychology experiments and neuroimaging to support the hypothesis that cognitive adaptations operate in real time within the human brain's neural networks over its life. For example, rat neurons were activated to learn temporal activity patterns, which were recorded and played back to a naive network to determine if the acquired information could be duplicated. Natural selection algorithms designed to create open-ended autonomous exploration were fed to robots, which were tested to see if they could establish their own goal.

"Ultimately, robots could be able to generate their own values and desires, and in a sense have minds of their own," Szathmary says.

INSIGHT also has created an evolutionary robotics toolkit to enable anyone with a computer to evolve robot bodies and brains in physics-based simulations, three-dimensionally print these elements, and assemble the robot and observe its real-world behavior.

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