Robots with human-like brains to take on Mars unaided – New Scientist

It’s hard not to read articles like this without seeing lots of Wall-E like robots roaming around the red planet.

So how do we make robot brains more like ours? One way might be to change the type of processor they use. Until now, robots have always been fitted with central processing units (CPUs), just like most PCs. Such units are very good at crunching small streams of data fast, but they can only do one thing at a time.

In contrast, graphics processing units (GPUs), which are heavily used in supercomputers and gaming, can handle larger data sets more quickly, and deal with several of them at once. This is how the human brain works, and even though we process some tasks millions of times more slowly than does a computer, the amount of information our brains can handle is vast. But until quite recently, GPUs have been too big and expensive to use in robots.

Robots with human-like brains to take on Mars unaided – tech – 19 February 2014 – New Scientist.