December 23, 2007

Learning Robot


Roaming the countryside, a danger to the citizens.

Last week, Ryan came to me with an idea for a T-Shirt he wanted to give Derek. He got the idea from a paper circa 1948 by Alan Turing that Derek had shared with us. The paper is called “Intelligent Machinery — A Report by A.M. Turing.”

The paper covers the subject of machines that can learn — unorganized machines that are not designed with a specific purpose in mind, but instead would learn by interacting with the environment. There is a startling passage in the paper in which Turing describes the feasibility of creating a thinking machine that would be placed in a mechanical body, and why one would do this:

In order that the machine should have a chance of finding things out for itself it should be allowed to roam the countryside, and the danger to the ordinary citizen would be serious.

Ryan wanted a simple old-timey-looking robot drawing, so I banged out the image you see in the upper right hand corner of this post. Now that Derek knows about the gift, I am posting it here for your entertainment.

I used an online merchant called “Zazzle” to create the T-shirts. Ryan wanted them white-on-black, so I made the art transparent, to show the black fabric through.

You can see the white-on-black T-Shirt design here on its Zazzle page. Turing’s quotation is on the back.

Ryan has ordered some, and when they come in I’ll take pictures so that folks can see how they came out.

Posted by James at December 23, 2007 12:57 PM
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Important question:

What kind of sandwich?

Posted by: Julie at December 23, 2007 6:15 PM

It's got lettuce. That's all we can tell for sure. But I'm guessing it's a BLT.

Posted by: James at December 23, 2007 8:04 PM

when it figures out it can use the knife to cut the sandwich, will it cut it into halves, two triangles or four triangles?

Posted by: Bull at December 23, 2007 9:06 PM

What an awesome design! I may have to order myself one.

Huge Kudos!

Posted by: Kitten Herder at December 25, 2007 1:21 PM

Glad you like it! I had a lot of fun making it.

Posted by: James at December 25, 2007 10:33 PM

Since Zazzle just mailed out a 20% off coupon, I ordered myself a long sleeve one of these as a consolation prize for a REALLY REALLY bad month (see my blog rant for details)

Posted by: Kitten Herder at December 27, 2007 8:34 PM

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