Annual Meeting 2000
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Mechanical Engineering

Elvis the self-taught humanoid
Today there is a new Swedish robot - or rather, a humanoid. He may not look so impressive, something like a prehistoric Robbie the Robot. But appearances deceive.

The name of this humanoid, Elvis, comes from the days when he could only stand in one place and shake his booty. Today he has become more clever. He can both walk and hear, and eventually he will also be able to speak. But other robots can already do that, and much better. What is so special about Elvis is that he is self-taught.

Elvis's daddy works at Chalmers in Gothenburg. He is Peter Nordin, who earned his doctorate in artificial intelligence. But actually he is a negligent father, because he created Elvis and then left him to his fate. In practice, this meant that Elvis was equipped with a basic program. This program then created tens of thousands of small program loops and tested them. Elvis discards the bad ones and builds on the good ones.

Researchers have sometimes been amazed at the ingenious solutions that Elvis has figured out. Obviously a humanoid doesn't "think" in the same way as a human.

Elvis recently found a wife, who has of course been named Priscilla. There are plans to give her latex skin and human facial features.

So what happens when humanoids have become so clever that they outshine us humans? It is not difficult to understand the risks, for example, if they are infected by a computer virus and run amok. Insurance companies have already become interested in insuring us against such damage. But we won't be there for many years.

However, they say that by 2005, we will have 30,000 intelligent robots in the 15 EU countries alone.


Information Technology
  - Ericsson
  - Reachin
  - Pipebeach

Energy and Environment
  - ABB
  - Ångström Solar Center
  - Sydkraft
  - Snowclean
  - Chalmers Industriteknik


Medicine and Chemistry
  - Göteborg University
  - Carlsson Research
  - Vitrolife
  - Tripep
  - XCounter
  - Integrum
  - Pyrosequencing
  - Perbio Science
  - Melacure Therapeutics
  - Uppsala Science Park
  - Sahlgrenska

  - Micronics
  - Security Qube System

Vehicles and Space
  - Kockums
  - Saab
  - Volvo
  - Volvo Penta
  - ISA
  - Vägverket
  - Chalmers
  - Onsala Rymdobservatorium
  - Saab Nyge Aero

Mechanical Engineering
  - Chalmers

Forest Products
  - SLU

Contact person:
Lars-Birger Ernudd
Latest update:
October 27, 2000
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