As scientists hold the world’s first conference on sex robots, one expert warns that making love to machines could become addictive.
Robot experts from around the world will converge on Manchester in northern England this week for the Human Choice and Computers Conference, where they will explore the latest research and theories about how humans will engage with robots.
Academics will also touch on moral issues, such as whether sex robots are potentially harmful and should be banned. Continue reading »
In the back kitchen of Mountain View’s newest pizzeria, Marta works tirelessly, spreading marinara sauce on uncooked pies. She doesn’t complain, takes no breaks, and has never needed a sick day. She works for free.
Marta is one of two robots working at Zume Pizza, a secretive food delivery startup trying to make a more profitable pizza through machines. It’s also created special delivery trucks that will finish cooking pizzas during the journey to hungry customers if approved by the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health. Right now Zume is only feeding people in Mountain View, California, but it has ambitions to dominate the $9.7 billion pizza delivery industry. 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 »
– 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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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 »
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 »
What could possibly go wrong?
– Open letter: we must stop killer robots before they are built (The Watchers, July 28, 2015):
More than 1 000 of the leading researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have signed and published an open letter calling for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons, also known colloquially as “killer robots”.
The letter, published July 27, 2015, has also been signed by many technologists and experts, including SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Skype co-founder Jaan Talinn and linguist and activist Noam Chomsky.
Musk, Hawking and Wozniak have all recently warned about the dangers that AI poses to mankind. Though it has to be said, Wozniak thinks humans will be fine if robots take over the world; we’ll just become their pets. Continue reading »
– Robots can now learn to cook just like you do: by watching YouTube videos (VentureBeat, Jan 2, 2015):
Researchers have come up with a new way to teach robots how to use tools simply by watching videos on YouTube.
The researchers, from the University of Maryland and the Australian research center NICTA, have just published a paper on their achievements, which they will present this month at the 29th annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
The demonstration is the latest impressive use of a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning. A hot area for acquisitions as of late, deep learning entails training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from audio, images, and other inputs, and then presenting the systems with new information and receiving inferences about it in response. Continue reading »
– Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn’t every hospital have one of these? (Natural News, 11, 2014):
While vaccine makers and drug companies are rushing to bring medical interventions to the market that might address the Ebola pandemic, there’s already a technology available right now that can kill Ebola in just two minutes in hospitals, quarantine centers, commercial offices and even public schools.
It’s called the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot, and it was invented by a team of Texas doctors whose company is based on San Antonio. (And no, I didn’t get paid to write this. I’m covering this because this technology appears to be a viable lifesaving invention.) Continue reading »
– Robots Will Create ‘Permanently Unemployable Underclass’ (International Business Times, Aug 7, 2014):
The advancement of robots that can do our jobs for us will create a class-divide not seen since the 19thcentury, a report by the Pew Research Centre in America has found.
As machines have continued to displace factory workers, personal assistants and receptionists over the last decade, advanced countries must adapt their education systems to turn average students into exceptional ones who can outperform a robot, sociologists told Pew. Continue reading »
– Minimum Wage Consequences? iPhone 6 Will Be Made By “FoxBots” (ZeroHedge, July 7, 2014):
First it was burgers, then waiters, traders, and recently earnings-report-writers; but now it’s iPhones. The endless pressure to raise minimum wages, demand bathroom breaks, expect to sleep, and tolerable breathing standards have finally culminated in China’s FoxConn – manufacturer of the iPhone – to use a ‘robot army’ to build the new model. As The Daily Mail reports, The firm has pledged to have a million robot workers by the end of the year – and CEO Terry Gou has revealed the robots, dubbed ‘Foxbots’, are in the final stages of testing.
It is believed Foxconn will install 10,000 robots as a test. Continue reading »
– The Robots Are Coming, And They Are Replacing Warehouse Workers And Fast Food Employees (Economic Collapse, May 22, 2014):
There are already more than 101 million working age Americans that are not employed and 20 percent of the families in the entire country do not have a single member that has a job. So what in the world are we going to do when robots start taking millions upon millions more of our jobs? Thanks to technology, the balance of power between employers and workers in this country is shifting dramatically in favor of the employers. These days, many employers are wondering why they are dealing with so many human worker “headaches” when they can just use technology to get the same tasks done instead. When you replace a human worker with a robot, you solve a whole bunch of problems. Robots never take a day off, they never get tired, they never get sick, they never complain, they never show up late, they never waste time on the Internet and they always do what you tell them to do. In addition, robotic technology has advanced to the point where it is actually cheaper to buy robots than it is to hire humans for a vast variety of different tasks. From the standpoint of societal efficiency, this is a good thing. But what happens when robots are able to do just about everything less expensively and more efficiently than humans can? Where will our jobs come from?
And this is not something that is coming at some point in “the future”.
This is already happening. Continue reading »
– Now The Military Is Going To Build Robots That Have Morals (Defense One, May 13, 2014):
Are robots capable of moral or ethical reasoning? It’s no longer just a question for tenured philosophy professors or Hollywood directors. This week, it’s a question being put to the United Nations.
The Office of Naval Research will award $7.5 million in grant money over five years to university researchers from Tufts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Brown, Yale and Georgetown to explore how to build a sense of right and wrong and moral consequence into autonomous robotic systems.
“Even though today’s unmanned systems are ‘dumb’ in comparison to a human counterpart, strides are being made quickly to incorporate more automation at a faster pace than we’ve seen before,” Paul Bello, director of the cognitive science program at the Office of Naval Research told Defense One. “For example, Google’s self-driving cars are legal and in-use in several states at this point. As researchers, we are playing catch-up trying to figure out the ethical and legal implications. We do not want to be caught similarly flat-footed in any kind of military domain where lives are at stake.”
Continue reading »
– Robots Are Caring for Elderly People in Europe (Vice, May 6, 2014):
Judging by recent surveys, most people seem to think that robots that are actually useful will lead to some sort of apocalyptic machine uprising. But look past the military bots and automated job-stealers, and one of the most obvious applications of a service robot is an entirely unthreatening task humans are increasingly failing to meet demand for: caring.
Six elderly people across Europe currently have a new companion: a GiraffPlus robot, or Mr. Robin, as one 94-year-old taking part in the trial rather adorably calls it in the video below. It’s part of an EU-funded project to use robotics to help elderly people who want to stay at home remain independent past the point they’d usually be unable to live alone due to physical or cognitive difficulties.
Continue reading »
– Nowhere to run. nowhere to hide from the killer robots (Intellihub, May 3, 2014)
– Self-organizing robot armies produced – and all thanks to ingenious termite logic (RT, Feb 15, 2014):
Harvard ‘brainiacs’ are at it again. Inspired by termites, they have realized their dream of cheap, expendable, self-organizing robots – a construction crew building complex structures at a quick pace, and completely independent of leadership.
The possibilities are vast. The machines can be made to build any three-dimensional structure on their own and with minimal instruction. But what is truly staggering is their ability to adapt to their work environment and to each other; to calculate losses, reorganize efforts and make adjustments. It is already clear that the development will do wonders for humanity in space, hard-to-reach places and other difficult situations.
– Foxconn Working With Google on Robotics (Wall Street Journal, Feb 11, 2014):
Foxconn has long been associated as the partner for Apple, assembling the majority of the U.S. company’s iPhones and iPads.
But few people know the Taiwanese contract manufacturer, also known as Hon Hai Precision industry, has been quietly working with Google.
People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Foxconn has been working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to carry out the U.S. company’s vision for robotics.
To speed up robot deployment at its own factories, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with Rubin in Taipei recently and they discussed new robotic technologies, they said.
– Skynet Is Here (And Stealing Your Jobs) (ZeroHedge, Feb 8, 2014):
It may not be as sleek and intimidating as Robocop (or Skynet’s Terminator) but California-based Knightscope’s recently unveiled line of K5 robots will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.” While everyone from Jamba Juice to McDonalds is looking at robotizing their workforce away from minimum-wage-hike-demanding, bathroom-break-needing, healthcare-expecting, sleep-requiring humans, it seems everyone from your local mall cop to replacing police in neighborhood watch is now under threat as the automation of the American workforce moves from science fiction to science fact.
In a bid to make local communities safer and give local law enforcement agencies more tools to fight crime, California-based Knightscope recently unveiled a line of K5 robots that it believes will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.”
The new K5 units have a look that resembles R2-D2 from “Star Wars,” but their casual design masks a highly advanced robot that its creators hope will drastically cut down on crime. Weighing in at 300 pounds, the five-foot K5 can patrol a neighborhood and uses a built-in laser to form a 3D map of the surrounding area in 270-degree sweeps. Four built-in cameras, meanwhile, are capable of scanning up to 1,500 license plates a minute.
“Data collected through these sensors is processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern,” the company’s website states. Continue reading »
– Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots (The New York Times, Dec 14, 2013):
SAN FRANCISCO — BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie.
A robot named BigDog, which can walk over rough terrain, can also stay upright in response to a well-placed human kick.
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.
– Robowar: The next generation of warfare revealed – a general’s dream, but are they also humanity’s nightmare? (Independent, Nov 15, 2013):
Rather like a dog with a rubber bone, the Crusher likes to toy with its prey. After first sizing it up, it leaps, rolling and gripping its target until it is sufficiently chewed up and “dead”. Unlike a dog, the Crusher is capable of performing this feat on a line of parked cars.
More disturbingly, this six-tonne, six-wheeled monster developed for America’s Department of Defence and otherwise known as the Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle, or UGV, can pounce without the intervention or say-so of a human operator. It is an ability which, in theory, can stretch to firing the machine-gun mounted on its roof.
The UGV is a forerunner of what many in the defence world believe is the next quantum leap in warfare – a generation of fully autonomous weapons which would be capable of crossing one of the great Rubicons of modern conflict by “deciding” for themselves when to take human life. In the words of one US general, they are the harbingers of an age where “death by algorithm is the ultimate indignity”.
We did and do not have adequate robots for the Fukushima disaster, …
… but hey, killer robots are exactly what we need!
What could possibly go wrong?
– Killer Robots With Automatic Rifles Could Be on the Battlefield in 5 Years (Wired, Oct 18, 2013):
Robots armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank missiles and even grenade launchers are marching, er, rolling ever closer to the battlefield now that they’ve shown they can actually hit what they’re supposed to.
Four robotics companies — HDT Robotics, iRobot, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ — recently ran their M240 machine gun-armed robots through a live-fire demo at Fort Benning in what has been dubbed the “Robotic Rodeo.” The point was to give the brass a chance to see just how viable such systems are.
The Army, which issued a favorable assessment of the technology last week, doesn’t see our armed robotic overlords as weapons taking the place of boots on the ground, but rather as combatants working alongside troops in the field.
– DARPA Unveils “Atlas”: A 6 Foot Tall Humanoid Robot (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 12, 2013):
Earlier this year I highlighted DARPA’s Argus, the world’s highest resolution video surveillance platform. Well it appears DARPA has a new toy it wants to introduce you to. It’s named Atlas and it is a 6-foot, 2-inch-tall humanoid robot. Coming for your taxes in 2020!
From The Verge:
It’s not quite Terminator, but it’s not that far off either: Check out Atlas, a new, 6-foot, 2-inch-tall humanoid robot designed for a contest being held by US Defense Department. The 290-pounds machine is being called “one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built,” in no small part due to its 28 different hydraulic joints and freakishly good balance. Unveiled publicly for the first time earlier this week, it’s the latest robot from Boston Dynamics, the company behind such internet robotic sensations as Petman (a robotic man) and AlphaDog (a robotic dog), both designed for the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). But unlike those previous robots, which were restricted to military and company usage, the keys to Atlas will be turned over to a few lucky civilians, so that they can program and pilot it using their own software.
Now watch Atlas in action.
YouTube Added: 11.07.2013
– The CIA’s Latest Investment: Robot Writers (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 6, 2013):
I’ve covered the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, before (yes the CIA has a venture capital arm. In that instance, I raised concerns about Palantir, a company started by Peter Thiel in 2004 and in which I-Q-Tel was an early investor. The post was titled: Is Peter Thiel Assisting the Government in the Creation of an Authoritarian State? I hadn’t seen much regarding the CIA’s investment activities since then, until yesterday when I read about their latest investment in a company called Narrative Science. The company specializes in computers turning data into news stories. The negative implications of something like this in the hands of the CIA are endless. I’d call it HFP: High Frequency Propaganda.
Chicago-based Narrative Science got its start by turning baseball box scores into readable accounts of games — not unlike a piece you might see in your local newspaper’s sports pages.
Naturally, Narrative Science raised many questions about the impact on journalism: Will we still need writers to pen rote accounts of the day’s events if robots can do the job just fine? Should more journalists move away from the “here’s what happened” to the “here’s why it matters”? And so on.
– Military Robots Will Patrol World Cup (Mashable, May 16, 2013):
Even non-soccer fans know how hooliganism can quickly turn a harmless match into a veritable war zone, full of riots, stabbings, even death. To help keep the peace at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, FIFA has decided to go high-tech by enlisting military robots for security.
iRobot recently announced that it will outfit Brazil with 30 PackBot robots, units similar to those that have been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and inside Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. Continue reading »
– Meet your future enemy: Pentagon developing humanoid Terminator robots that will soon carry weapons (Natural News, April 8, 2013)
Watch the video embedded below: It reveals the “Petman” humanoid robot funded by the Department of Defense. Like something ripped right out of a sci-fi movie, the robot sweats to regulate body temperature, and it can be dressed in chemical suits, camo or other uniforms to resemble humans. The picture you see at the top of this article is take from the actual humanoid robot currently under development.
Have no illusions about where this is headed: The Pentagon wants to develop and deploy a robotic army of autonomous soldiers that will kill without hesitation. It’s only a matter of time before these robots are armed with rifles, grenade launchers and more. Their target acquisition systems can be a hybrid combination of both thermal and night vision technologies, allowing them to see humans at night and even detect heat signatures through building walls.
– ROBOBEES (Harvard):
Overview of the Micro Air Vehicles Project
INSPIRED by the biology of a bee and the insect’s hive behavior …
we aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources; spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.
Coordinated agile robotic insects can be used for a variety of purposes including:
- autonomously pollinating a field of crops;
- search and rescue (e.g., in the aftermath of a natural disaster);
- hazardous environment exploration;
- military surveillance;
- high resolution weather and climate mapping; and
- traffic monitoring.
These are the ubiquitous applications typically invoked in the development of autonomous robots. However, in mimicking the physical and behavioral robustness of insect groups by coordinating large numbers of small, agile robots, we will be able to accomplish such tasks faster, more reliably, and more efficiently. Continue reading »