By Kim Tae-gyu / Staff Reporter
THE KOREA TIMES 2005.1.31(page 1)
South Korean scientists created the world"s first artificial species, a software robot with ``genes"" and ``chromosomes.""
Kim Jong-hwan, professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, said Sunday his team had developed a robot with 14 chromosomes, which gives the machine a ``personality.""
``This robot is a software-based one, sometimes called a sobot. It has a unique synthetic character determined by its specific combination of 14 chromosomes,"" the 47-year-old Kim said.
When Kim"s team gave a stimulus to the chromosome-equipped sobots, they showed totally different responses even under the same environment due to their distinctive personalities.
Several cognitive sensors enable the prototype models to identify 47 differing outside stimuli. The virtual robots also have 77 behavior patterns.
``Because a sobot is basically a software system, it can easily travel to other robots and multiply. In the middle of such processes, it can evolve through crossover and mutation,"" Kim said.
With the development of associated technologies, Kim expected the number of chromosomes would be augmented as sobots evolve to a more sophisticated species in the future.
The capacity to load large volumes of data is related to the evolution of sobots. Currently, 14 chromosomes consist of roughly 2,000 bytes of data.
The effort to incorporate the sobot into a platform, robot hardware, is now underway and Kim"s team looks to unveil the new-concept species as soon as next month.
``Diverse behavior patterns driven by sobots" specific personalities will be precisely translated into action just like the soul rules the body,"" Kim said.
Kim did not think the robotic evolution would lead to the human race being threatened; the concept of the recent blockbuster ``I, Robot.""
``If we design the chromosomes safely, the self-reproducing robot will not post a threat back to us,"" Kim said.
Kim first revealed the robotic breakthrough at a keynote speech of the International Conference on Autonomous Robots and Agents, held in New Zealand last December.
Kim is also known as pioneer in the field of robot football and has headed the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) since its foundation in 1999.
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