Comparing Puppy and Robot Self-Awareness

One month ago today, a robot finally passed the “King’s Wise Men Self-Awareness Test” intended to test artificial intelligence.  There are many measurements of self-awareness and some apply to animals as well as machines.  For example, newborn puppies exhibit no evidence of self-awareness during the first 3 weeks of life.  Like robots they move to or from warmth (mom) to regulate temperature.  They can also find the nipple to nurse, and begin to vocalize under certain conditions.  However, at about 25 days of age, something incredible happens.  The puppy encounters a littermate and realizes, “I’m me, and you’re not me. Do you want to play?”  All communication requires this, “I exist separately” self-awareness.


Everyone really should watch the video of this “King’s Men” robot experiment from only a month ago.  In the experiment, there are 3 (adorable) robots sitting on a table that have a, “Dumbing Pill” button on top of their head which turns off most processing.


In the experiment, the researcher presses the dumbing pill on 2 of the 3 robots, then asks all three, “Which robot did NOT have the button pressed?”

The only, “smart” robot responded in a female voice, “I don’t know.”  Then a few seconds later she stands up on the table and waves at the researcher (you HAVE to see this short video – bottom of the web page) and says, “Sorry, I know now.”


This (polite!) robot “became aware” that the other 2 robots were too dumb to reply, “I don’t know” so therefore the other two got the dumb pill, so she “became self-aware” that she was the only smart one.  Then she says to the researcher (the robot actually says…) “I was able to prove that I was not given a dumbing pill.”



About Author: rtripp
Founder of Veterinary Future Society

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