Is the Pentagon trying to freaks us all out, or do they just want to
give zombies something to eat? The Department of Defense is reportedly
almost finished building robots with “real” brains.
That’s according to National Defense Magazine, which this week
profiled the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) lab and a little known project that has sucked down
millions of dollars during the last few years: millions of dollars
spent trying to replicate the human brain.
National Defense Magazine’s Sandra Erwin explores the “physical
intelligence” program this week, a research and development
initiative launched back in 2009 in order to “to understand
intelligence as a physical phenomenon and to make the first
demonstration of the principle in electronic and chemical
systems,” according to the Defense Department’s original
Erwin says that four years later, a team of scientists led by
University of California, Los Angeles
Chemistry Professor James K.
Gimzewski is just “inches away from the finish line” in
terms of reaching their goal.
Gimzewski and crew have constructed a tiny machine, Erwin
writes, that allows robots to attack independently. How
independently? It won’t rely on convention computer code used to
program cyborgs and robots like the kind found in Hollywood sci-fi
flicks, but instead use microscopic wires to emulate the electrical
and chemical pulses sent from cell to cell within the human
“Rather than move information from memory to processor, like
conventional computers, this device processes information in a
totally new way,” says the scientist
“What sets this new device apart from any others is that it
has nano-scale interconnected wires that perform billions of
connections like a human brain, and is capable of remembering
information, Gimzewski said. Each connection is a synthetic
synapse. A synapse is what allows a neuron to pass an electric or
chemical signal to another cell. Because its structure is so
complex, most artificial intelligence projects so far have been
unable to replicate it.”
According to DARPA, “The objective of the implementation
domain is to demonstrate the first human-engineered open
thermodynamic systems that spontaneously evolve nontrivial
‘intelligent’ behavior under thermodynamic pressure from their
“The objective of the analysis domain is to develop
analytical tools to support the development of human-engineered
physically intelligent systems and to understand physical
intelligence in the natural world,” the agency writes.
On the website for UCLA’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
department, the goal of the “physical intelligence program” is
described a bit more succinctly. “The project will not only lead
to fundamental understanding about various physical and biological
self-organization systems and origin of intelligence, but also
practical applications such as the creation of next generation of
electronic circuits with intelligent behaviors, and dynamic
interactions/control of biological systems,” says UCLA’s
Dr. Gimzewski tells National Defense Magazine that a team of
scientists have made great strides in the multi-million dollar
project, even if it’s the most ambitious one he’s seen yet. But
what happens when it’s finally complete?
“It is not clear, however, that the Pentagon is ready to
adopt this technology for weapon systems,” writes Erwin, citing
a Defense Department policy statement from last year that limits
the Pentagon’s power to make autonomous robots.
Meanwhile, though, other DARPA operations like the PETMAN project reported by RT earlier this week
suggest it’s only a matter of time before the military has some
form or another of weaponized robot warriors.