DARPA's Physical Intelligence program represents a potential major advance in artificial intelligence research, as the “physical intelligence” device would not require computer programming or the use of human controllers to provide directions, as with traditional robots. Instead, the device operates via nano-scale interconnected wires that send signals through synthetic synapses, just like the human brain. Such a system is capable of remembering information, meaning that robots might be able to act like humans in the foreseeable future.
Compared to traditional artificial intelligence systems that rely on conventional computer programming, this one “looks and ‘thinks’ like a human brain,” said James K. Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gimsewski is a member of the team that has been working under sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a program called Physical Intelligence.
The stated objective of the program is: "The analysis domain is to develop analytical tools to support the development of human-engineered physically intelligent systems and to understand physical intelligence in the natural world".