back to article DARPA seeking Genesis-style godware capability

US military wacky-professor bureau DARPA has outdone itself this time, issuing a request for "intelligent" electronic components and chemicals which can "self-organise" themselves to form complex items such as routers, fuel cells, biofuel factories or medical drugs. Indeed, reading between the lines it appears as though the …


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  1. Rosco

    Embodied Cognition

    Sounds like they're taking seriously the new-ish direction that some philosophers and AI-ers have been exploring in Embodied Cognition (AKA the "Enactive Paradigm"). The idea that intelligence / mind /consciousness is not a disembodied property of an isolated collection of matter but rather is the "structural coupling" of an entity and its environment. Maturana & Varela were leading lights and I like where they were going ... but practical application? I think it's a bit early for that by a few centuries at least - DARPA's speciality

  2. M. Burns Silver badge

    What they forget

    Is that operationally, intelligence is indistinguishable from prescience. Anyone who's written a life simulation quickly runs into this issue.

  3. frank ly

    Over here!

    I've got a big wobbly pinkish bag of chemicals that can self-organise. I'm not sure they can do the router and fuel cell stuff, but the production of biofuel (methane) is way advanced and small quantities of medical drugs (rare proteins, hormones, etc) must be being produced in there.

    Where do I send the samples and how much are they offering for it?

  4. Fractured Cell
    Black Helicopters


    How long before DARPA invent Skynet?

    ("You cannot stop judgement day. You merely postponed it.")

  5. John Tappin

    Terminator 2 here we come

    I hope they invent the processors and liquid metal. Self aware Killbots here we come

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It's a welfare state...

    DARPA is exactly the whacko boffinshop that you describe yet it serves a far greater purpose as well. The US has never been all that keen on socialist stuff like a good quality welfare state so they have the military industrial complex instead. The government collects the taxes in the same way we do but whereas we pay people to sit at home and watch Jeremy Kyle they plough that money into a massive federal military budget which employs a rather robust proportion of the population. From the professors with PhDs in something entirely useless right down the the thick necked boneheads in the front line fighting corps, most of these people wouldn't be able to hold down gainful employment outside of the military gravy train. Of course every now and again something good comes out of it (a good deal on oil, an internet, a space program) but generally it's just there to employ people and keep the massive economy of the US creaking round like a giant rusty version of the biscuit machine from bagpuss (no biscuits are ever made, they just go round and round and people see biscuits being made and assume that there must be some good stuff going on inside).

    So here they are throwing a considerable wedge of tax dollars at _something they fully expect to amount to nothing_ but at least they get to have lots of people employed and unlike us aren't throwing a considerable wedge of tax pounds at _people they fully expect to amount to nothing_.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Skynet is already in operation (British military satellites). The Cyberdyne Corporation also already exists, it's a Japanese robotics company specialising in in robot suits and similar - Of course there's nothing to worry about...

  8. Luther Blissett

    I win. Gimme the money. Here's how I done it.

    > According to DARPA, humanity at present has only a dim grasp of what intelligence actually is and how it came into existence.

    Meh. What do they know. Have they asked everyone? Typical error of post-Kripke semantics. Let's shake the gene pool.

    ==> According to humanity, DARPA at present has only a dim grasp of what intelligence actually is and how it came into existence.

    Not bad. Just isn't on the money - literally. Another spin of the roulette wheel.

    ==> According to DARPA, intelligence at present has only a dim grasp of what humanity actually is and how it came into existence.

    Oxymoron here, quite apart of what DARPA accords. Substitute "empire" for "humanity" and we're talking CIA, but that's beside the point.

    ==> According to intelligence, DARPA at present has only a dim grasp of what humanity actually is and how it came into existence.

    That's the one.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re: I win. Gimme the money. Here's how I done it.


    Are you in a positiion and in a mind to better than DARPA, which would now be led by IARPA? 'Tis but one closed Intelligence System though, and therefore always shortsighted in the Long Game

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Foolish meatsacks

    We will organise ourselve for you.

    you have nothing to worry about.

  11. Adrian Esdaile
    Paris Hilton

    Of course...

    By 'intelligent' I implied one that can spell.

    oh, Paris moment right there.

  12. Adrian Esdaile
    Black Helicopters

    It's not April 1 is it?

    "Physical Intelligence" and self-replicating chemicals.

    So DARPA are looking for... an intellignent human? In the US?

    Good luck.

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