Hanson Robotics has launched a new Indigogo campaign to create "the world's smartest robot." Named Adam Z1, the robot will eventually be able to speak, play with toys, draw pictures, and respond with emotions.

And the project is no joke. Robot designer and researcher David Hanson has pooled together three other experts in this area, including OpenCog Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) project founder Ben Goertzel, roboticist Mark Tilden, and consciousness theorist Gino Yu. Hanson himself is the creator of the robots Einstein, Zeno, Robokind, Brina 48, and others.

A project to build a robot with the intelligence of a three year-old

This idea — developing a robot with a child's intelligence — is interesting for two reasons. First, an AGI needs a body. And second, an AGI develops over time and through experiences.

KurzweilAI recently spoke to Goertzel:

“My goal as you know is to create AGI with human level and ultimately greater general intelligence,” he said. “But to get there, we need to create AGIs with basic common sense understanding of the everyday human world. And the easiest way to get an AGI to have basic commonsense understanding of the everyday human world, is to give it some rough approximation of a human embodiment and let it experience the world like a human. That’s the research purpose…

“There are also shorter term practical applications, e.g., Hanson Robokind’s main intended near-term application area is for education … to use robots as an educational tool for teaching programming. Hanson Robokind robots are already being used to help teach autistic kids.

Not that long from now, full-sized humanoid robots will be in wide use as personal assistants, etc. And cheaper versions will be widespread as toys before long: think “RoboSapien with a cute face and a cloud-based mind.”

And interestingly, the team plans on making Adam Z1's software free and open source for others to improve upon.

Of course, the ethics of such a project is another thing entirely — a topic I will touch upon in a future post.

[Via Laughing Squid and KurzweilAI]