Research into Artificial Intelligence is being rewinded 30 years back by twenty scientists who have made great innovations in the field. Called “The Mind Machine Project”, it will operate for five years on a $5 million grand, with primary work taking place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Although the study of AI is more than 50 years old, many feel it has been limited and has not really explored the areas which hold the biggest potential—the mind, body and memory. The focus of the MMP will be to delve into this territory again and try to create a robot that is able to use all three of them to communicate with humans. Essentially, the team hopes to develop a way for AI machines to use real, practical thought based on their capabilities.
As described by Neil Gershenfeld, one of the head scientists of the project and director of the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the ultimate goal of this reunion is to create an AI machine that can, for example, read a children’s book, understand the concept and meaning on its own, and then explain what happened. The robot will come to this comprehension on its own, and not simply repeat a fixed program it has been implemented with. Although its thoughts would still be limited as to how far they can reach, it would be a stunning innovation that has never quite been achieved before.
In the future, this research can aid people suffering from different types of diseases which limit their cognitive ability, such as Alzheimer’s. It may be able to create a brain “co-processor”, which will help them with different types of mind activities and increase their quality of life. More than anything, I think this shows the true potential of the project.