In a development that will only worry everyone who has ever seen any Terminator movie or The Matrix, Swiss scientists have taught a robot how to hunt down prey.
Motherboard reports that a handful of brainiacs at the University of Zurich's Institute of Neuroinformatics "recently taught a robot to act like a predator and hunt prey—which was a human-controlled robot—using a specialized camera and software that allowed the robot to essentially teach itself how to find its mark."
Which isn't alarming at all! No really, according to researcher Tobi Delbruck, it's completely benign. Delbruck told Motherboard that even though the robot was programmed with animal-like predator behavior in mind, the project was more about following behavior.
To describe what he meant, Delbruck said "one could imagine future luggage or shopping carts that follow you."
The Institute for Neuroinformatics installed visual apparatus on their robot that essentially aped the human eye's ability to rapidly track movement. Then the robot ran the input through powerful software that sifts through terabytes of information to teach itself how to handle what it sees. The neural-style network ability allows the robot to essentially get better at hunting prey with practice.
The positive applications of this kind of work really are obvious—it could be applied to autonomous vehicles, for instance, to help them better learn how to behave on roadways.
As long as it's in the proper hands, that is. For now, let's all just try to maintain a positive outlook, shall we?