Thinking robots degree program : LUSENET : Human-Machine Assimilation : One Thread

From September, Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen is to run a BSc honours degree course in artificial intelligence and robotics.

This will teach the cutting-edge technologies of building robots which can "learn" how to respond to challenges and make intelligent decisions when faced with choices.

Rather than simply being machines which are pre-figured to react in a set manner, the course will develop robots that have more flexibility of response and which can teach themselves new patterns of behaviour.

The science of "intelligent machines" will be a leading technology of this century, says course leader Chris MacLeod.

'Human-like qualities'

"Recent technological advances have created machines that behave intelligently, for example, many household appliances can now choose their own program to suit the user and so make their operation simpler.

"In the next century, the trend will continue and develop towards machines with human-like qualities."

As well as developing machines for industry or for domestic appliances, Mr MacLeod believes intelligent robots will be used in places inaccessible or unsafe for humans - such as the ocean bed or in space.

'Emerging industries'

The head of the university's department of electronic and electrical engineering, Norman Deans, said the course would provide graduates for the emerging artificial intelligence industries.

"These graduates are likely to be highly attractive to prospective employers."

Robert Gordon claimed to be the first university in the UK offering such a course.

But Edinburgh University set up the then Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception as long ago as October 1966.

-- Scott (, May 08, 2000

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