Harvard, Tufts, UVM Scientists Create Living Robots from Frogs

What a time to be alive. Imagine what they will come up with in the coming decades.

4 Likes

Keep telling me how evolution isn’t teleological.

The robots, which are called “xenobots” after Xenopus laevis — an African clawed frog species whose cells were used in their creation — were designed using an “evolutionary algorithm” on a supercomputer.

“”the computer (an evolutionary algorithm) performs a trial and error process, creating and simulating millions of virtual creatures.””

And here we go into the next generation of Intelligent species, soon to eliminate useless humans. Let’s just sit back and watch what happens.

:popcorn:

Sure. Just because people are able to perform an analog of some natural process, doesn’t mean it has to have been guided.

Result is baked in the algorithm. There’s no need for guidance.

That is guidance.

1 Like

Fine, if you want to define it like that.

So was there guidance in creating the xenobots?

Fine, if you want to define it like that.

If someone has “baked” intentions into an algorithm to achieve a result, then it simply is guidance. It’s not a question of my definition.

Yes there was, don’t you think so?

Have you read Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins?

No.

Here is his argument:

  1. Sonar in bats > as sophisticated as sonar developed by engineers in WWII. No need for design because we have evolution.
  2. Genes > as sophisticated as computer code developed by computer scientists in Cold War. No need for design because we have evolution.

Take it one step further:

Evolution > As sophisticated as algorithm used to create robots at Harvard, Tufts, and UVM. No need for design because…

1 Like

Sure.

The items compared in your two examples above may be broadly equivalent, but I don’t think you can compare evolution with an algorithm. The claim is that evolution has led to the development of the entirety of life on earth in its present form. Where’s that algorithm :slight_smile: Anyway, even if people could develop one that would do that, I’m not sure what that would be supposed to demonstrate. Just because something can be designed doesn’t mean it is necessarily not a product of evolution. You’d need to show it can’t otherwise have come into being. Also, if people are capable of doing something, that suggests it is simpler than something requiring the intervention of an all-powerful, mystical designer.

As for the existence of evolution itself, we know that small changes occur, and the theory is that they can lead to extensive changes over time. Thus it can explain the existence of complex constructs without the need for sophisticated processes.

1 Like
  1. Genetic Code
  2. Sexual Selection
  3. Random Mutation
  4. Natural Selection
  5. Repeat until you get intelligent life.

This is what an evolutionary algorithm looks like (I suppose the same as the one used to create robots), from my neural networks class notes:

1 Like

And is there one which can produce the equivalent of life on earth in all its complexity? No, of course not. Not even remotely close.

1 Like

So you’re saying actual biological evolution is more sophisticated than all the algorithms we have? I agree.

1 Like

I’m not sure they’re comparable. I don’t know much about algorithms. My understanding is that evolution is an accretion of very simple and completely understood changes over very long periods of time. The results are complex, but the process itself is not.

2 Likes

Have you had calculus? Newton’s method of finding the root of a function is an algorithm.

Yes it takes a long time, and here is the process:

  1. Genetic Code
  2. Sexual Selection
  3. Random Mutation
  4. Natural Selection
  5. Repeat until you get intelligent life.
1 Like

I see. So it’s a mathematical process.

All of the latter aspects of evolution there break down to/are dependent on simple changes to genetic codes. The first item in the list doesn’t quite belong. Maybe it should also be pointed out that there has to be a starting point of existing DNA/RNA or related substances, if we’re talking about evolution.

1 Like

In math, an algorithmic solution is one where you have to keep repeating a process until you arrive at the right answer.

An analytic solution is one you can solve on a piece of paper just by moving numbers around.

Right. And the codes that don’t help you survive get weeded out, so life gets more and more complex.

Well evolution starts with life already there.

Abiogenesis concerns how life began (which we don’t know yet).

2 Likes

OK. So going back to your earlier posts this evening, what exactly are you saying here?

2 Likes