Replicants: How humans and AI – artificial intelligence – could merge

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Researchers are starting to build hybrid collaborative systems that combine the best of an AI model’s superpowers with human intuition. In this, humans contribute leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills and machines lead with speed and scalability.

A new line of research has a vision of a society in which people are living seamlessly with machines. Though admittedly still some years off, in this vision the AI is merged with an intelligent body to create new types of robots that have properties comparable to those of intelligent living organisms, possibly a step towards creating Replicants with all the implications as imagined by Philip K. Dick in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that also inspired the Blade Runner movies.

This requires what the researchers call Physical AI, combining knowledge from materials science, mechanical engineering, computer science, biology and chemistry. According to a new paper, these robots would be designed to look and behave like humans or other animals and would possess intellectual capabilities normally associated with biological organisms.

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How might we move towards this higher self – this symbiotic future of natural and artificial? The drive of human imagination, and the onward march of human technology towards what was once science fiction is revealing the possibility of a new dance.


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