May 28, 2015 Pittsburgh, PA
Carnegie Mellon University announced today that Professor Chris Atkeson has invented a revolutionary way to program robots, Cognitive Capture™. This is a new form of human-robot symbiosis. Atkeson says "Motion capture is used in movies and video games to copy movement from humans to animated characters. Cognitive Capture™ can be used to copy complete behaviors, including reflexes and responses to errors, from humans to robots. The essense of Cognitive Capture™ is to copy the engram (left) associated with a behavior. Psychology has been searching for the locus of engrams since the 1920s. We have finally found it. Engrams are stored in the enteric nervous system, also known as your "gut brain". The engram portal is the sympathetic ganglia via the myenteric and submucosal plexus. These are parts of your body most people don't even know they had. We really do think with our stomachs." When asked what the rest of the nervous system is used for, Atkeson replied "It is vestigial, like your appendix or leg bones in whales."
Cognitive Capture™ consists of a few simple steps:
This video shows Cognitive Capture™ in action, and how Atkeson is preparing his robot for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The challenge includes stealing a car, driving it, fleeing from the car when police arrive, breaking through a locked door, turning a valve to flood a hallway to block pursuit, drilling an escape route through a wall, running across rough terrain and up stairs, and a surprise task to be announced later.
Cognitive Capture™ is the modern version of Phrenology, the science of the bumps on your head. The shape of your brain changes throughout life as a result of your use of engrams. Engrams that you use often cause your brain to bulge, resulting in a bump on your head over that brain area. It turns out we don't need MRI or other imaging techniques to understand the brain. Identifying your engrams and how you use them tells you all you need to know.
Cognitive Capture™ is also related to the theory of the four humors: sanguis, khole, melas khole, and phlegma (sanguine/air, choleric/fire, melancholic/earth, and phlegmatic/water). These are four adjustable features of engrams that can be used to find appropriate engrams for one's current mood. "It turns out that climate change is driven by our collective choleric humors. These humors raise everyone's brain temperature, and since excess heat is released into the atmosphere, causes global warming. We can stop global warming by just stopping thinking, as recommended by many Republicans."
Atkeson remarked that "Our fate really is determined by the stars. The gravitational attraction of nearby stars affects which engram we choose in any given situation. Movie and music stars also guide our fate. I always ask myself, 'What would Taylor Swift do?'"
Atkeson recently described his inspiration for Cognitive Capture™. "There are advanced space aliens hiding on the dark side of the moon. They want to meet us, but they are too advanced, so a meeting would destroy our culture. Instead, they pop out every once in a while and beam knowledge to us from the Galactic Library. This explains why the same theory pops up across the world at the same time (such as the inventions of calculus and cold fusion). The knowledge beam focus is out of whack."
"We have developed a Mind Shield™ (left) which can be used to prevent hackers from extracting your engrams without your knowledge. It prevents mind probes by aliens as well."
"We have also developed an Alien Tracker™ (right) which detects and tracks undocumented aliens."
When asked what Cognitive Capture™ had to do with deep learning, Atkeson replied "Cognitive Capture™ is just as deep, closely related to deep brain stimulation and deep drilling for oil."
Atkeson is also known for his work on soft robotics, which inspired the robot Baymax in Disney's recent movie Big Hero 6. Cognitive Capture™ turns out to work best on such soft robots, as humans are also made up of soft tissues with a hard skeleton. Atkeson is raising funds to build a real life Baymax.
A long term research goal is to enable human to human engram sharing. "We can replace universities with engram-based teaching, Students can simply buy Engram Apps™ from our Engram Store™."
Atkeson responded to recent comments that AI and robotics are a threat to humanity: "Robots and AI programmed using Cognitive Capture™ are only dangerous if the human that generated the engram is dangerous."