Accession Number:

ADA422063

Title:

Autonomy and Intelligence - A Question of Definitions

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

SPACE AND NAVAL WARFARE SYSTEMS COMMANDSAN DIEGO CA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2002-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

4.0

Abstract:

It is tempting to call a mechanism that works by itself autonomous. The common dictionary definition of autonomy supports this temptation. According to Websters Ninth New College Dictionary, autonomy is the quality or state of being self-governing. But governance implies more than simple perpetual motion. Does the earths rotation around the sun constitute an autonomous trajectory Probably we would not commonly think so. What if an asteroid suddenly appeared in the earths path What would the earth do about it Would the earth modify its trajectory and avoid the impending collision Not likely. A collision would confirm for us that the earth was not autonomous. Now take a laboratory robot equipped with a SONAR array. The output of the SONAR array could be used to steer the robot away from looming obstacles, thus avoiding many potential collisions, Would we then say that the robot was autonomous Many robotics developers, based on the titles and texts of their documents, do indeed say that obstacle avoidance is an autonomous behavior. Those very same robots, however, usually have an on-off switch. When that switch is in the off position, the robot cannot avoid a looming object and a serious and destructive collision is likely to occur. The on state of the robot could also be compromised by depletion of the robots energy reserve, again making it vulnerable to environmental calamities. Something similar could happen to us when we are asleep or are otherwise not paying particular attention. Should we say then that autonomy is a state-dependent attribute

Subject Categories:

  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE