Posts Tagged ‘robots’

This week the U.S. military took one step toward making the freakish humanoid robots of Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Terminator films a reality. For real. Thank heavens there’s friendlier (and tastier!) bot news, too.
 

petman

Bot Vid: DARPA’s New Pet Is Petman

DARPA just announced its most recent Robotics Challenge, a “game” that solicits innovative solutions to hypothetical future war problems. Mere moments later … it announced a winner! What gives? Well, since the new Challenge was for humanoid robots, and DARPA is funding a hugely advanced Terminator-like machine from Boston Dynamics called PETMAN….it’ll be of no surprise to learn PETMAN is the winner. To celebrate, there’s a new PETMAN video to send Arnie-like chills right up your spine.

Bot Vid: Sushi Bot

Sushi is an art–just check out the astonishingly charming film Jiro Dreams of Sushi for proof–but it’s also a delicious kind of food with global popularity, prompting mechanization of the delicate production process to suit the mass market. Cue Suzumo company’s new SushiBots, which can kick out up to 3,600 maki rolls an hour, all with the reported subtle touches that a human would apply, without cutting so much as a grain of rice.

Bot Vid: Shapely Balls

Once considered by the world’s thinkers to be the “perfect” shape, a sphere is evidently a pretty ideal form for many obejcts to take, because it can roll and smoothly be transported through chutes and pipes as well as being structurally strong. Now there’s a bot that borrows the sphere aesthetic and marries it to a standard hexapod walking system to make a compound machine that can maneuver using three different modes dependent on terrain and user requirements. It’s called MorpHex.

Bot News

Robots to protect the Titanic. Concerned that the effects of nearby shipping and tourist deep-dive vessels visiting the site are causing the wreck to rapidly degrade, the original discoverer of the Titanic’s broken body on the floor of the Atlantic ocean, Robert Ballard, is now proposing that a fleet of deep-sea robots permanently “man” the location. They would paint the vessel with anti-fouling paint so that bacteria wouldn’t eat any more of its iron skin and also monitor human visitor missions to make sure they don’t touch the wreck or damage it in any way. As of now, the 100 year-old shipwreck is a UNESCO-protected heritage site.

Did NASA’s robot find life on Mars in 1976? The robot Viking missions were a striking and powerful symbol of our early successes in space exploration, landing on the distant surface of Mars in the mid-’70s and returning photographs and science data from Mars that were the most revelatory ever about its makeup and life-bearing potential. At the time scientists concluded its experiments designed to search for the evidence of life drew a blank. But now new analysis of the data (which survives as printouts) has suggested that there really was evidence of complex behavior indicative of life in the soil samples the doughty little robot investigated. And if we want proof, the University of Southern California team suggests, all we need to do is fly a sufficiently powerful microscope to Mars…and we’d see microbes.

UAVs get a new launch trick. Utah Water Research scientists have looked at the rather tricky question of how best to launch surveillance drones into the air, and have come up with a fabulously biblical solution: A slingshot launch system. Their bungee-slingshot UAVs are being used to map the environment. 

Bot Futures: Robot production line workers

The ongoing, sticky mess involving worker conditions in Foxconn’s plants in China has this week resulted in almost unprecedented access for a journalist to the iPad production line. What we see is a highly human-centered process, but with countless pieces of machinery assisting almost every step of the assembly:

We know that Western public condemnation of worker conditions has pushed Apple to make unmatched efforts to improve the situation (even though much of the “condemnation” may be a little misplaced, particularly when it comes to worker salaries of “$14 a day,” due to misunderstanding global currency economics), but it’s definitely evident that the production line jobs are tedious and repetitive to the nth degree. That’s something Foxconn’s CEO has pledged to change, by augmenting his factories with still more robotic assistance.

But the rise of China as a manufacturing force for all sorts of goods, not just electronics, may actually change the local and global stage of robotic workers. That’s partly because of rising wages, which make 24-hour-reliable robots more efficient employees, partly due to the improved perfection a robot can achieve, and partly due to international criticisms of Chinese working conditions. Kuka robots, Europe’s most successful maker of industrial bots, is now reported to be building a Chinese hub…making 5,000 robots a year in the nation instead of the 1,000 or so it was making just two years ago. Other robot firms across the EU, in Japan, and the U.S. are also predicting rapid growth in China’s demand for robot production line units, and this rush is pushing the global market value of industrial robots skyrocketing to about $41 billion by 2020. China may swifty outpace Japan and South Korea as the most robotized nation.

Which is both good news and bad news for Chinese workers. What if the robots don’t just displace workers from tedious or dangerous roles into ones where humans excell and robots’ can’t match just yet (such as quality assurance) but displace them out of work? And then there’s a bigger question of the rise of robotic workers across the world. Some vocal Apple critics demaned that it reposition its manufacturing facilities in the U.S.–but can you picture a future where Apple did this, but peopled its floors with thousands upon thousands of robot workers, rather than fleshy ones? This could get complicated for the Teamsters.

Article Source Link: http://www.fastcompany.com/1830837/this-week-in-bots?partner=gnews

JP

In this weekly series, Life’s Little Mysteries explores the plausibility of popular sci-fi concepts. Warning: Some spoilers ahead!

If a bunch of sci-fi flicks have it right, a war pitting humanity against machines will someday destroy civilization. Two popular movie series based on such a “robopocalypse,” the “Terminator” and “Matrix” franchises, are among those that suggest granting greater autonomy to artificially intelligent machines will end up dooming our species. (Only temporarily, of course, thanks to John Connor and Neo.)

Given the current pace of technological development, does the “robopocalypse” scenario seem more far-fetched or prophetic? The fate of the world could tip in either direction, depending on who you ask.

While researchers in the computer science field disagree on the road ahead for machines, they say our relationship with machines probably will be harmonious, not murderous. Yet there are a number of scenarios that could lead to non-biological beings aiming to exterminate us.

“The technology already exists to build a system that will destroy the whole world, intentionally or unintentionally, if it just detects the right conditions,” said Shlomo Zilberstein, a professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts.

Machines at our command

Let’s first consider the optimistic viewpoint: that machines always will act as our servants, not the other way around.

“One approach is not to develop systems that can be so dangerous if they are out of control,” Zilberstein said.

Something like Skynet – the computerized defense network in “The Terminator” that decides to wipe out humanity – is already possible. So why has such a system not been built? A big reason: Nuclear-armed nations such as the United States would not want to turn over any of the responsibility for launching warheads to a computer. “What if there is a bug in the system? No one is going to take that risk,” said Zilberstein. [What If There Were Another Technologically Advanced Species?]

On a smaller scale, however, a high degree of autonomy has been granted to predator drones flying in the Middle East. “The number of robotic systems that can actually pull the trigger autonomously is already growing,” said Zilberstein.

Still, a human operator monitors a drone and is given the final say whether to proceed with a missile strike. That certainly is not the case with Skynet, which, in the “Terminator” films, is given control of America’s entire nuclear arsenal.

In “The Terminator,” the military creates the program with the objective of reducing human error and slowness of response in case of an attack on the U.S.

When human controllers come around to realizing the danger posed by an all-powerful Skynet, they try to shut it down. Skynet interprets this act as a threat to its existence, and in order to counter its perceived human enemy, Skynet launching America’s nukesat Russia,  provoking a retaliatory strike. Billions die in a nuclear holocaust.Skynet then goes on to build factories that churn out robot armies to eliminate the remainder of humankind.

In a real-life scenario, Zilberstein thinks simple safeguards would prevent an autonomous system from threatening more people than it is designed to, perhaps in guarding country’s borders, for example. Plus, no systems would be programmed with the ability to make broad strategic decisions the way Skynet does.

“All the systems we’re likely to build in the-near future will have specific abilities,” Zilberstein said. “They will be able to monitor a region and maybe shoot, but they will not replace a [human] general.”

Robots exceeding our grasp

Michael Dyer, a computer scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, is less optimistic. He thinks “humans will ultimately be replaced by machines” and that the transition might not be peaceful. [Americans Want Robots, and They’re Willing to Pay]

The continued progress in artificial intelligence research will lead to machines as smart as we are in the next couple hundred years, Dyer predicts. “Advanced civilizations reach a point of enough intelligence to understand how their own brain works, and then they build synthetic versions of themselves,” he says.

The desire to do so might come from attempts at establishing our own immortality – and that opportunity might be too much for humanity to resist. (Whowouldn’t want to spend their ever-after with their consciousness walking around in a robot shell?)

Maybe that sort of changeover from biology to technology goes relatively smoothly. Other rise-of-the-machines scenarios are less smooth.

Dyer suggests a new arms race of robotic system could result in one side running rampant. “In the case of warfare, by definition, the enemy side has no control of the robots that are trying to kill them,” Dyer said. Like Skynet, the manufactured might turn against the manufacturers.

Or an innocuous situation of overdependency on robots spirals out of control. Suppose a factory that makes robots is not following human commands, so an order is issued to shut off power to the factory. “But unfortunately, robots happen to manage the power station and so they refuse. So a command is issued by humans to stop the trucks from delivering necessary materials to the factory, but the drivers are robots, so they also refuse,” Dyer says.

Perhaps using the Internet, robotic intelligences wrest control of a society that depends too much on its automata. (“The Animatrix,” a 2003 collection of short cartoons, including some back stories for “The Matrix” movies, describes such a situation.)

Overall, a bit of wisdom would prevent humankind from falling into the traps dreamed up by Hollywood screenwriters. But the profit motive at companies has certainly engendered more automation, and the Cold War’s predication on the threat of mutually assured destruction points out that rationality does not always win.

“Doomsday scenarios are pretty easy to create, and I wouldn’t rule out that kind of possibility,” said Zilberstein. “But I’m personally not that worried.”

Plausibility rating: Military leaders and corporations probably will not be so stupid as to add high levels of programmed autonomy to catastrophically strong weapon systems and critical industrial sectors. We give the “robopocalypse” two out of four Rocketboys.

Article Source Link: http://news.yahoo.com/science-fiction-fact-could-robopocalypse-wipe-humans-175403124.html;_ylt=ApN8d.EGDv74bFaZSfNwaBsPLBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNqODY0ZXZoBGNjb2RlA2N0LmMEcGtnA2JjYzgwZjFkLTQyODAtMzJlYy05YWIyLTVlMGNlZDIxYmZjZgRwb3MDNgRzZWMDbW9zdF9wb3B1bGFyBHZlcgNhN2Y0MTZlMC01ZjExLTExZTEtOWZkYi0wYTFkNGIzNWY0ZTk-;_ylg=X3oDMTFycGwxa2xhBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANzY2llbmNlBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

“There’s a lot more to this Egyptian Crisis than what the mainstream media is leading us to believe.  In August 2010, archeologists sent down a robot to “explore a shaft inaccessible to a previous robot, unlocking a room that has remain sealed for 4,500 years.”

They’ve found something of great significance in the Giza Plateau and they don’t want us to know about it. They need to increase military security around the Giza Plateau to keep regular people away. To do this, they created a problem, reaction and solution scenario.

This vault under the Sphinx was said by famous psychic, Edgar Casey, to harbor documents about the history of man kind but the Egyptian government will not permit access to the site.

Personally, aside from an elaborately ornate sarcophagus and/or a potential trove of gold and gem stone items of antiquity, the only items discovered that would really make me fall off my chair are:

1. Multiple Sarcophagi and/or mummies of previously unexpected reasoning and understanding.
2. Info/Instructions on the exact details of how/why the pyramid(s) was built
3. Skeletal remains of an entity foreign to Earth origin
4. Any object of a design that truly isn’t technologically consistent with the era or with this planet
5. Alien artifacts
6. Our human origins
7. Portal or Interdimensional Stargate
8. Advanced technology far superior than ours or what we’ve seen.
9. Ark of the covenant
10. They’ve found that the great pyramids are an Earth resonance frequency device used to stop or impede geographic pole shifts from happening? Maybe, they were used in past civilizations, and we’ve just discovered their true power?

March 8-15th Geographic Pole Shift
VIDEO

Interesting, at the end of this video, he talks about March 8-15 of a coming geographic pole shift…! The great pyramids are placed at the exact central point of Earth’s land mass. If they are trying to stop a geographic pole shift, the pyramids would be the place to start since they are tuned to Earth’s resonant frequency. Maybe, they’re setting up camp there to stop this coming pole shift. And the riots were instigated and used as a diversion to get the military to surround the Giza Plateau while they try to get them to work?

Is this their last-ditch effort to stop what’s coming?”

Thanks to ‘jcattera’ for the info!!

JP