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Scientists say they have created ‘living robots’ that regenerate themselves

The combination of technology and biology has created what is being billed as a renewable “living robot”.

Last year, scientists presented what lead researcher Joshua Bongard of the University of Vermont call “new living machines,” the equivalent of so-called robots developed from embryonic stem cells. frog, follow Science Alert.

He said his “xenobots” are “neither a traditional robot nor a known animal. It’s a new kind of artifact: a living, programmable organism. ”

And now, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the team used artificial intelligence to help “xenobots” reproduce. “

“Here, we show that clusters of cells, if released from a growing organism, can similarly find and combine loose cells into clusters that look and move just like them, and this ability does not need to be evolved or specifically introduced by genetic manipulation. Ultimately, we show that artificial intelligence can design replicating clusters better and do useful work when they do,” the study’s authors wrote.

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“This suggests that future technologies can, with little outside guidance, become more useful as they spread, and that life hides surprising behaviors just below the surface, waiting to be discovered.” discover.”

In the study, cells fused together when incubated to produce new generation of cells.

“This form of existence, never seen before in any organism, arises spontaneously over days rather than evolving over millennia. We also show how artificial intelligence methods can engineer assemblies that delay the loss of replication and do useful work as a side effect of cloning,” the researchers said. write study.

Is there any danger in this kind of science?

The study’s authors say they’ve found a new way to create life.

“People have thought for a long time that we have found all the ways that life can regenerate or regenerate. But this is something that has never been observed before,” said Douglas Blackiston, who worked on the study. New York Post.

“This is profound,” said Michael Levin, co-leader of the study. “These cells have the genome of a frog, but, freed from being tadpoles, they use collective intelligence, a plasticity, to do something amazing.”

The scientists point out that they hope to be able to use what they have created.

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“If we knew how to tell collections of cells to do what we want them to do, then that would be regenerative medicine – it is the solution to trauma, birth defects, cancer,” says Levin. mail and aging.

“All these different problems are here because we don’t know how to predict and control what groups of cells will form. Xenobots is a new platform to teach us,” he said.

Bongard says “xenobots” redefine what a robot is, according to CNN.

“Most people think of robots as being made of metal and ceramics, but not what a robot is made of, but what it does, acting on behalf of humans,” he said.

“In that way, it’s a robot, but it’s also clearly an organism made from unmodified frog cells,” he said.

“AI has not programmed these machines the way we normally think about coding. It shaped and sculpted and created this Pac-Man form,” said Bongard. “In essence, shape is the show. The shape affects how the xenobots work to amplify this incredibly surprising process. “

The research was funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“There’s a lot that can be done if we take advantage of the cell’s flexibility and problem-solving abilities,” says Bongard.

Source link Scientists say they have created ‘living robots’ that regenerate themselves

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