When introduced in December of 1987, the Rockman series has it's story set in a robotic dominated "near future" of 200X.  Of course, 23 and so odd years later, we have already a ways passed that marker.  So where are we in the field of Artificial Intelligences and Automatons in respect to the World of Rockman?  Given the complexity of the subject, it's not something that can be plotted on a graph. But to give an idea of where we stand, I'm presenting a few recent news stories in the field of robotics.  And since this topic seems perfectly open for reintroduction in the future with new advancements (and me maybe reusing this same intro paragraph): "On The Path to A Mechanized 20XX: August 2011"

IBM's Next Step in Human Cognition Emulation

          The ultimate limiter of an artificial intelligence system to mimic human like though is the structure of modern computers.  The ever dynamic Neuron and Axon network that make up the human brain is far removed from the Von Neumann architecture.  But a revolution is at foot by the people at IBM.  On the 17th of August, they revealed their new paradigm of processors for the SyNAPSE Project, which is said to imitate neuron activity by means of building patterns from multi-modal input, as well as dynamically changing this data with each new input.
               Truth be told, the idea of robots like the ones in the World of Rockman have been truly complete fiction in the face of how modern computers work.  But if this chip delivers even a fraction of what it claims to, it completely changes the playing field.  I'll be following this story closely.

MABEL is World's Fastest Bipedal Robot

          A project headed by Jessy Grizzle and Johnathan Hurst at the University of Michigan,  MABEL is bipedal motion robot, and currently max out at a top speed of 6.7 MPH.  It is currently believed to be the fastest bipedal robot, as it is actually able to emulate human like gapes in it's strides. Remarkable as most other robots can only at best walk.  It's quite a feat, high speed locomotion with a feedback / feedforward learning algorithm to correct it's weight distribution and balance, and the system currently does this without visual input. Of course, the purpose of this is to one day create robots that can access any location a human can.   It's still a ways off from Quickman like speed or being able to slide thought.

U.S. Army considering a Full Autonomous Robot Base

         Robots deployed in warfare situations are to this day primarily an affair requiring operators manually directing the robots actions.  But this is not a necessary requirement, as autonomous AI has been developed for these machines, which could save countless man hours. Unfortunately they still lack sufficient testing time for them to be cleared as reliable by senior officers.    So in a bid to build up said testing hours, Miltary Robotics insiders report that the military are seriously considering the construction of a full autonomous military base to give sufficient space and time for reliability testing.
            Now if only DARPA would go green light funding for a Boss Robot to oversee the base,  we would have a nice complete "Rockman Stage".  But considering the purpose of this base, it functions more like one large elaborate version of X's storage capsule.


Leave a Reply.