b-pirate-6-4I recently read an interesting story about a robot that has been developed that can adapt to being injured.  It made me wonder if a robot could someday learn Aikido. Here is an excerpt from that article on Fastcompany.com:

A new study published today in Nature explains how robots can use a sort of "evolutionary algorithm" to learn new ways of operating after being injured, according to the MIT Technology Review. Take out one of its legs, and the robot uses rapid-fire calculations to figure out how to keep moving.

The MIT Technology Review lays it out in horrifying detail, reminiscent of a certain Toy Story character:

In a video accompanying the paper, researchers show a spider-like robot that suffers an injury to one of its six legs. The creature starts trying new ways of moving, and in about 40 seconds regains 96 percent of its speed, looking less like a broken toy and more like a wounded animal crawling away.

The amount of speed that the robot recovers is staggering and incomparable to humans who could never regain that much just after being injured.  The robot can do so because it does not feel pain.  Which brings me to the point as to why a robot like this cannot learn Aikido.  Don't get me wrong a robot can learn Aikido or any martial art at a technical level where the moves are nothing more than perfunctory.  But, true Aikido requires one to have a kokoro or spirit (心)  and ki (氣).  These two elements make up this idea of "consciousness" in human beings.  Yoda in Star Wars deftly describes when he said, "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship."  The force he is referring to is ki (氣) and the luminousness is spirit (心).  To be aware of oneself is not only how we are able to feel pain but also what makes us able to connect with other human beings.  A robot cannot make a true connection because it has not spirit or consciousness.  This connection is what makes Aikido "work."  As Yoda would say, "It is not this crude matter" when referring to our bodies.  It is our minds or our consciousness that makes it work.  Therefore in a circuitous way - no robots cannot truly learn Aikido.


Read the full article here: http://m.fastcompany.com/3046749/fast-feed/were-doomed-robots-can-now-learn-to-adapt-to-injuries