Jul 6, 2016
From playing patty cake to taking part in arm wrestling matches, these motorists appear to be concentrating on anything but the road. The startling videos posted to YouTube show people lounging around while their self-driving cars do all the work. A second serious crash involved a Tesla on autopilot has also been reported. Police in Pennsylvania say the motorist smashed into a guardrail and a concrete median before his car rolled onto its roof on July 1.
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A robot-powered burger joint is coming to San Francisco.
In 2012, secretive robotics startup Momentum Machines debuted a machine that could crank out 400 made-to-order hamburgers in an hour. It’s fully autonomous, meaning the robot can slice toppings, grill a patty, and assemble and bag the burger without any help from humans. The internet flipped out. Continue reading »
It’s not your imagination: Millennials really are glued to their smartphones.
Nearly four in 10 millennials (39%) say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children or co-workers, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people released Wednesday by Bank of America. That’s compared with fewer than one in three people of all ages who say they engage with their smartphones more.
This means that, on an average day, millennials — defined here as being ages 18 to 34 — “interact with their smartphone more than anything or anyone else,” the survey concluded. Continue reading »
We’ve heard rumors for years about engines capable of getting 100 miles to a gallon of fuel, but the reality is much closer than you might think. Josh “Mac” MacDowell says he not only has the engine, he has come up with an idea, strong enough the U.S. patent office has given him a patent for it. MacDowell is using a Stirling engine, coupled with thermopile technology to make it possible to drive a Hybrid electric car and never have to stop to charge it.
The Stirling engine was actually invented 200 years ago, in 1816. The engine is driven by the exchange of hot and cold air, much like nature drives a thunderstorm. The Stirling engine is capable of using roughly 50% of the energy it produces. An internal combustion engine, like the ones in our vehicles, uses about 14%. Continue reading »
A German firm called Magazino believes it has built a better warehouse robot: the Toru. Unlike the robots used in Amazon warehouses that help locate items for shipping by moving entire shelves, Toru robots can pick up individual items.
“The [Amazon] approach saves a lot of human work spent on walking around, but there is still the need for a human worker to eventually pick the item off the shelf,” explains Magazino CEO and cofounder Frederik Brantner (see “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse, Human-Robot Symbiosis”). Continue reading »
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is working with a robotics company to develop a shopping cart that helps customers find items on their lists and saves them from pushing a heavy cart through a sprawling store and parking lot, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Such carts are an emerging opportunity for robotics companies as brick-and-mortar stores look for innovative ways to match the convenience of Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers, said Wendy Roberts, founder and chief executive officer of Five Elements Robotics. Continue reading »
Starting June 7th, and continuing for the next month, the FAA has warned airplane pilots that GPS signals on the West Coast, and especially over California and Nevada, may be impacted.
The reason why is not exactly clear, but as Gizmodo notes, the US military will be testing a device or devices that will potentially jam GPS signals for six hours each day. Officially the tests were announced by the FAA but are centered near the US Navy’s largest installation in the Mojave Desert, China Lake, located “just down the road” from Area 51. The Navy has kept silent about the nature of the tests.
As Gizmodo adds, the FAA issued an advisory warning pilots on Saturday that global positioning systems (GPS) could be unreliable during six different days this month, primarily in the Southwestern United States. On June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30th the GPS interference testing will be taking place between 9:30am and 3:30pm Pacific time. But if you’re on the ground, you probably won’t notice interference. Continue reading »
China plans to continue to develop the South China Sea. This time, Beijing has set a goal to build an oceanic ‘space station’, as deep as 3,000 meters underwater, Bloomberg reports, quoting a Science Ministry presentation.
If successful, this will be the first project for long-term human habitation at such depths.
“Having this kind of long-term inhabited station has not been attempted this deep, but it is certainly possible. Manned submersibles have gone to those depths for almost 50 years. The challenge is operating it for months at a time,” Bryan Clark from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments told Bloomberg. Continue reading »
Those concerned about a robot uprising in the future may be able to rest a little easier, as Google is working on a “kill switch” to prevent robots from turning on their masters.
While Google continues to create more intuitive artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and repeatedly shows us just why robots might turn on humanity, the tech giant has published a new paper detailing the development of “Safely Interruptible Agents” to prevent robots from doing things that they shouldn’t. Continue reading »
When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden first exposed the world to just how easily the government could compromise their technology and spy on them, many immediately sought ways to secure their data and protect their gadgets.
But, as Wired.com reports, Snowden is here to help. “‘Going Black’ is a pretty big ask,” he tells VICE’s Shane Smith, but not impossible, as Snowden shows how to “make sure your phone works for you… instead of working for someone else.”
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If you thought that $80 billion a year would be a sufficient enough budget for the US government to systematically upgrade its computer systems, think again.
In a report released by nonpartisan congressional investigators found that about $60 billion of the government’s $80 billion IT budget goes straight to maintenance just to keep the aging technology running, not to modernization according to ABC News.
To make matters worse, the government is expected to spend $7 billion less in 2017. In addition to screwing people out of their social security payments, we can now add jeopardizing critical IT systems to the list of ‘out of the box’ cost cutting measures that the US government has come up with. Then again, money must be freed up in order to fund such toys such as $4.4 billion destroyers. Continue reading »
Western Culture is built around ideals of individual choice and freedom. Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make “free” choices, while we ignore how we’re manipulated upstream by limited menus we didn’t choose.
This is exactly what magicians do. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose. I can’t emphasize how deep this insight is.
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Energy is perhaps the most important issue of human civilization at this time, and we are fortunate to bear witness to many exciting changes happening right before our eyes when it comes to creating the shift away from destructive fossil fuel power.
Germany has impressed Europe and the world with its success in providing nearly all of the power for its forward-thinking people from green energy sources. The small but progressive Latin American nation of Costa Rica has been in the spotlight for fueling its entire nation for some 285 days of the year 2015 with renewable energies. The movement towards renewable energy seems to be taking hold in Europe: Continue reading »
Inspired by the geniuses Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein, teenager Max Loughan loves to invent things, in fact, he says he has known his entire short life that his purpose was to change the world with his inventions. And he may just do it.
“As cheesy as this sounds, from day one, on this planet that I knew I was put here for a reason,” said Max. “And that reason is to invent, to bring the future.” [Source]
Wearing a lab coat while speaking in a televised interview with KTVN Channel 2 in Reno and Tahoe, Nevada, Max explains the free energy device that he made in his parents’ boiler room turned laboratory. Continue reading »
The Japanese X-ray telescope Hitomi has been declared lost after it disintegrated in orbit, torn apart when spinning out of control. The cause is still under investigation but early analysis points to bad data in a software package pushed shortly after an instrument probe was extended from the rear of the satellite. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, lost $286 million, three years of planned observations, and a possible additional 10 years of science research.
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– Nimble-Fingered Robot Outperforms the Best Human Surgeons:
A surgical robot was able to repair pigs’ bowels more accurately than human doctors.
A robot surgeon has been taught to perform a delicate procedure—stitching soft tissue together with a needle and thread—more precisely and reliably than even the best human doctor.
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Colonel Sanders is raising a robot army to serve fried chicken at a restaurant near you. KFC’s first automated restaurant, called Original+, went live in Shanghai on April 25th, complete with an artificially intelligent robot manager named “Du Mi” who works at the front counter.
According to Chinese news outlet Sohu, “‘Du Mi’ marks the first commercial use of artificial intelligence in the fast food industry. The artificial intelligence robot was launched by China’s leading web services company Baidu during its World Conference in 2015.” Continue reading »
Dubai received bid of $.0299/kWh for 800MW of solar power. This price represents the lowest yet recorded for solar power (and might not represent the end of the price drops…).
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has received 5 bids from international organisations for the third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, said HE Saeed Mohammed AlTayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. The lowest recorded bid at the opening of the envelopes was US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the bids to select the best one.
First its new president, Jean-Bernard Levy, said French state utility EDF would delay a decision on its joint French-Chinese nuclear project in the UK, Hinkley Point. That was over a year ago. Then the CFO of EDF, Thomas Piquemal, quit reportedly because he opposed the project on financial grounds. That was a short time ago. Then after a slew of leaked memos, the French government just announced that EDF would be raising more money and the Hinkley decision would now come in September. Continue reading »
This week, Ford and Volvo announced they are forming a “coaliton” – along with Google – to push not only for the development of self-driving cars, but for federal “action” (their term) to force-feed them to us.
The reasons are obvious: There’s money – and control – in it.
To understand what’s going on, to grok the tub-thumping for these things, it is first of all necessary to deconstruct the terminology. The cars are not “self-driving.” This implies independence.
And “self-driving” cars are all about dependence. Continue reading »
A convoy of self-driving trucks recently drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck.
Shipping a full truckload from L.A. to New York costs around $4,500 today, with labor representing 75 percent of that cost. But those labor savings aren’t the only gains to be had from the adoption of driverless trucks. Continue reading »
A bridge needs to be built, so time to bust out the cranes, right? Not so fast, a Chinese company has built a machine that has a creative way of setting girders into place.
The SLJ900/32, made by the Beijing Wowjoint Machinery Company, is a 580 ton, 300 foot long and 24 foot wide mega machine that looks more like a train than a crane and acts a lot like a Stretch Armstrong action figure. Instead of using a stationary or crawler crane to lift the girder of a bridge from the ground and drop it into its place, the SLJ900/32 drives the girder onto the previously placed girder, slowly extends its arms to the next support platform, pushes the girder towards the front of the machine and then lowers it into place.
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British programmer Joshua Browder is helping people save a lot of money on legal fees with his latest project – the world’s first robot lawyer. The 19-year-old developed a free service that allows users to ask any kind of legal question and receive relevant answers autogenerated by bots.
Browder first started the project last summer as a free website to help people appeal unfair parking tickets. He came up with the idea after getting a series of tickets himself for “trivial reasons”. Having wasted several hours on writing appeals to these tickets, he realised that many people do not have the time, legal knowledge or even the energy to appeal. So he decided to create an automatic appeal generator, using previously successful letters as a template. He aptly named the service DoNotPay, given that the legal fees involved in challenging tickets could mount up to sizable amounts between $400 to $900. Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Lost for words…….”
Two Columbia University astronomers, Professor David Kipping and graduate student Alex Teachey, suggest humanity could use lasers to conceal the Earth from searches by advanced extraterrestrial civilizations.
Several prominent scientists, including Stephen Hawking, have cautioned against humanity broadcasting our presence to intelligent life on other planets. Other civilizations might try to find Earth-like planets using the same techniques we do, including looking for the dip in light when a planet moves directly in front of the star it orbits. Continue reading »
The evolution of humanoid robots is well into the concerning stage at this point. DARPA’s latest incarnation of its Atlas robot is seen in the following video beginning to walk at a pace with a sense of balance equal to most humans. Strangely, toward the end of the video, it is being “abused” by its human handler, which begs the question if a true artificial intelligence is permitted to flourish in this robot, if it might strike back at some point. At the very least, this robot’s demonstration of dexterity in the warehouse is likely to threaten humans economically as humans continue to be outsourced to machine labor at record levels.
But it’s the latest humanoid robot from Hanson Robotics that might further heighten the level of concern. As you will see below, the “Sophia” robot is being designed to walk among us in the future and fully integrate as part of the consumer experience and on into the family, according to CEO Dr. David Hanson. Continue reading »
The truth is slowly becoming stranger than fiction in the modern police/warfare state. Recently declassified information about an experiment out of the little known Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) backs up this notion and is cause for major concern.
The SCO was launched in 2012 as a means of secretly strategizing for a war against China and Russia. Outside of this one video, they just released, very little is known about their experiments or weapons building. Continue reading »