The illusion of life

Conference Date
Lyon, France
Date Published
September 2017
Conference Date: 2017, Vol. 14, Pages 4-5.
(doi: 10.7551/ecal_a_003)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license
Article PDF (4.48 MB)

One of the main goals of robot designers or computer scientists working on artificial intelligence is to give the illusion of life in their creations. For this Graal quest, our first thought would be to look around, study and copy the existing living beings in nature like humans or animals. This has been applied for centuries to solve technical issues like bird wings for planes or four leg walks for robots. But neither biomimicry nor the search for a perfect and accurate replication of reality lead to the illusion of life. Our belief is the following: it seems necessary to go beyond the technical nature of the living creature we want to copy. How and where to find a solution to this problem? Who tried to solve this in first place? In which context? And more importantly, can we adapt these methods in computer or robotics research? The answers given here can be found in the film industry and more particularly in the world of one of the pioneer studios in animation, the Walt Disney studios and its golden age: the late 1930s.