Darwinian genetic programming creates invention machine

From: J. R. Molloy (jr@shasta.com)
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 23:47:59 MDT

From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <sentience@pobox.com>
> Any potential John Galts out there are politely requested to wait on their
> undermining of a decadent and unappreciative civilization until the
> Singularity Institute finishes a small item of business currently on the
> table.

Sounds like you need to replace John Galt with John Koza.

Creative computer can invent to order
William Peakin

SCIENTISTS have built an "intelligent" computer that may soon be able
to invent and design products of its own.

In recent tests the machine has come up with designs for hi-fi
equipment, cruise control systems and electrical circuits which are
close to those designed and patented by humans but which the machine
produced in a fraction of the time. In one case it recreated in just
three days a chip-based radio tuner that was patented by IBM last
April after months of development.

The computer's designers intend to get it to solve problems for which
answers have yet to be found. The aim is to create an "invention
machine" that after being set a specific task will design the solution
without further human intervention.

The computer's creator John Koza, a consulting professor in medicine
and electrical engineering at Stanford University, California, has
called the machine GP after the special form of "genetic programming"
it uses. "It uses the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest
to produce and then sift through new ideas or solutions," Koza said.

Conventional computers calculate their answers using a set of
instructions fed into them by humans. GP, by contrast, mimics nature.
It is fed thousands of sets of instructions - which are akin to the
genetic codes contained in DNA - in the form of randomly generated
computer programs. Provided only with its goal, to design a radio
tuner for example, it breeds and cross-breeds these programs thousands
of times until they yield a solution.

The development brings the world a step closer to fulfilling the
prophecy of Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose early
computers helped break the Germans' Enigma code in the second world
war. Turing believed machines would one day acquire artificial
intelligence rivalling the abilities of humans.

He suggested that artificial intelligence could occur through a
"cultural search" whereby a computer would learn everything there is
to know in the world.

Wising up: computers are creeping closer to the condition of the
intelligent robots of AI

Turing believed another route to artificial intelligence was
"genetical evolution". This is similar to the Steven Spielberg film AI
Artificial Intelligence, to be released in Britain in September, in
which the main character is a robot designed as a substitute child for
infertile couples. After being abandoned, the robot meets Gigolo Joe,
a robotic version of a male escort played by Jude Law.

Evolution is also the path chosen by Koza, who has tested his computer
by pitching it against some of the biggest technological breakthroughs
of the past 100 years to see if it can duplicate or infringe
inventors' patents. So far it has succeeded in infringing more than 20
key patents. "We give it a piece of wire - the embryo - and 400,000
sets of instructions - the primordial stew that would be used in
creating something," said Koza. "We tell it what we want and run the
program. It's magical to watch it invent something in a few days that
probably took someone several years."

In separate experiments scientists at Southampton University used a
similar program to redesign a girder built by Nasa for an experiment
on the space shuttle.

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