Future killer robots could help build themselves

A new DARPA initiative looks to create robots that can take part in their own construction. Yah, I've seen "Terminator: Salvation."

Robots that can self-replicate aren't new. But a new DARPA initiative is a little more frightening as it looks to create robots that can take part in their own construction, according to The Register. That means they're "alive" before they're finished and can help their forebearers put them together.

I built myself! IMDB

As if I'm not scared to death enough of robots , it means the robot armies of the future might be able to build themselves faster.

Now, I'm all for science, but DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a military entity. That means these robots will probably have military uses. That means they'll probably be born to kill. And they'll come for me after Sarah Conner.

The initiative is known as the Self-Explanation Learning Framework, or SELF for short. It's currently in request-for-proposals mode, so don't go stocking up on the canned food yet. But if someone somehow figures out a realistic way for future AIs to function like this, then it might be time.

The science isn't quite there yet, so DARPA is holding an orientation day (PDF) for would-be mad scientists on June 10 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Va. When future freedom fighters get asked where the end of the world started, now they've got an answer.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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