How About a Machine That Can Write Its Own Software to Continually Learn

Technology is the driving factor of today's economy.  Just about every business utilizes tech to run websites, store data, you name it.

And there's much discussion on having computers crunch data using algorithms to identify patterns, predict behavior using models and such.  As well as artificial intelligence using neural networks that learn over time.

I'm wondering, at what point, will the computer be able to generate it's own programs.  As in writing lines of code to perform certain functions.  Adapt as they grow.  Fix their own bugs.

Let's say a program is designed to learn how to play a game of tic tac toe.  It runs millions of simulations to perfect each move over time.  And eventually becomes proficient in winning against humans.  They've already taught some machines to play games with good results.

But then the computer would be presented with a new task, which it wasn't familiar with.  So it would generate the program to teach itself, without instructions from humans.  Like a giant sponge, assimilating new information unassisted.

That's what I'd like to see.  An advanced machine capable of learning as well as having the understanding of how to move outside it's realm of expertise to perhaps program itself to adapt and learn new things unassisted.

I suppose an example would be a robot who can move about and have access to external stimuli such as sight, sound, smell, touch.  And the being would be connected to the internet.  And as it went through life, interacting with new experiences, it could search it's neural network, while constantly looping to the internet or some other global knowledge store house, and research on the fly, and update it's neural network.  And continue.  Constantly learning and teaching itself new things.  And perhaps writing programs or algorithms to adapt to it's new environment.

Perhaps a cat walks into the room, the machine searches the neural network, no memory of this being, search the internet, oh, based on the size, features, smell, etc. this must be a cat.  What do I need to know about cats.  Will it harm me?  What does it eat (machines?).  Can I pet it?  Does it have a name.

  Continuously scanning and updating in real time.  Seems like it would get real smart real fast.  And then link these machines to other machines to gain knowledge and disseminate the information faster.  As each machine was part of the whole and had access to all the other machines.  Kind of like the Borg, yet not a living being.

I suppose it would have to be equipped with ethics and morals. But then again, that's open for debate depending on who programs it.  What if the machine killed the cat?  Would it go to machine prison?  Could it get married?  Or buy insurance?  Who owns it?  Will machines have funerals?  Can a machine be sold?  Do machines have a family tree?  What if it steals?  All questions that need to be thought through ahead of time.

That seems like the next stage in the evolution of smart machines.  It seems possible with all the new technology and software and cheaper prices and availability of parts.  Perhaps some group is already working on this.  Not a conscious being but a super machine with mobility and senses that can learn over time and globally share and research it's finding back to the base where other machines can gain the experience, in real time.