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Can a thousand tiny swarming robots outsmart nature?

4 minutes

The mini robots that may show how to ‘programme’ cells for improved performance

Scientists still have much to learn about how life materialised on earth, but the concept of emergence – complex systems developing from smaller, simpler parts – goes a long way towards demystifying it. To help better understand emergence, researchers at Harvard are programming small, simple ‘kilobots’ to simulate emergent patterns found in nature. Beyond revealing more about how order and intelligence can emerge from chaos, it’s possible that the kilobots could reveal shortcomings and inefficiencies in our own biology that we might someday be able to reprogramme.

Producer: Josh Cassidy

Website: Deep Look

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Essay/
Automation & Robotics
Robot says: Whatever

What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn’t a lack of smarts: it’s that computers can’t have needs, cravings or desires

Margaret Boden

Essay/
Future of Technology
The blitzscaling illusion

All the great inventions took painstaking, risky, indirect routes to fruition. Has Silicon Valley really escaped history?

Edward Tenner