Tag Archives | Robots

Google Buys Military Robotics Contractor

The company that creates terrifying machines such as BigDog, CHEETAH, and PETMAN for the Pentagon's DARPA division is now a subsidiary of Google. It remains to be seen how Google plans to combine the deployment of robots such as BigDog (below) with its knowledge of your intimate personal information and location at all times. The New York Times reports:
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 extraordinarily agile machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.
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Meet The Robotic Telemarketer Who Swears She Is Human

We now know what ends the most advanced androids will serve: initiating marketing scans. TIME on incredibly creepy robo-calls from a person purporting to be Samantha West, a real live woman, to eerily convincing effect:
When Scherer asked point blank if she was a real person, or a computer-operated robot voice, she replied enthusiastically that she was real. But then she failed several other tests. When asked “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” she said she did not understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained repeatedly of a bad connection. When the number was called a second time, a real live employee of Premier Health Plans Inc., who gave his name as Bruce Martin, answered the phone. He described the company as selling life insurance, health insurance and dental insurance.
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USA Has Plans for Hypersonic Robot Plane

blueskyWhen I was a kid I couldn’t wait for robots to be a part of daily life. Sadly, my childish dreams of a robot buddy a la R2D2 have long been replaced by the reality of globe-crossing semi-autonomous bringers of death. Check out Lockheed Martin’s newest entry into the world of robot death machines, a hypersonic drone that should be on schedule to be killing babies born today by the time they’re nearly adults.

Via BBC:

Lockheed Martin has begun work on a successor to the supersonic Blackbird SR-71 spy plane.

The unmanned SR-72 will use an engine that combines a turbine and a ramjet to reach its top speed of Mach 6 – about 3,600mph (5,800km/h). Like its predecessor, the SR-72 will be designed for high-altitude surveillance but might also be fitted with weapons to strike targets.

Lockheed said the aircraft should be operational by 2030.

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Man Still Feeling Repercussions of 1973 UFO Abduction Claim

dsd anhThe Associated Press visits catches up with Charles Hickson, a fisherman who made headlines forty years ago after claiming that he and another man were abducted and examined by clawed, robotic aliens. Hickson stuck with his story:

Via NBC News:

Charles Hickson never regretted the notoriety that came his way after he told authorities he encountered an unidentified flying object and its occupants 40 years ago on the banks of the Pascagoula River. Until his death in 2011, Hickson told his story to anyone who would listen.

But Calvin Parker Jr., the other man present for one of the most high-profile UFO cases in American history, has never come to terms with what he still says was a visit with gray, crab-clawed creatures from somewhere else. He says the encounter on Oct. 11, 1973, turned his life upside down.

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Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Nearly Half Of American Jobs Are Likely To Be Eliminated By Computers Over The Next Two Decades

american jobs

Humanity is nearly obsolete. MIT Technology Review writes:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage.

Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

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What Happens When Soldiers Get Attached to Their Robots?

leiaThere’s an interesting article at Medical News Today about the phenomenon of soldiers become emotionally attached to the robots they use in combat.

Via Medical News Today:

It’s becoming more common to have robots sub in for humans to do dirty or sometimes dangerous work. But researchers are finding that in some cases, people have started to treat robots like pets, friends, or even as an extension of themselves. That raises the question, if a soldier attaches human or animal-like characteristics to a field robot, can it affect how they use the robot? What if they “care” too much about the robot to send it into a dangerous situation?

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Developing Robots To Care For The Elderly


Will you believe your grandparents when they swear to you that the robots have turned on them? Via the Telegraph:

Experts believe that Linda, a £25,000 robot, could be the perfect solution to one of the biggest hazards facing elderly residents in care homes: falls.

Continuously sweeping the building in search of distressed residents is exactly the kind of repetitive task to which robots are ideally suited.

Not only could robots like Linda patrol corridors for continuous surveillance 24 hours a day, but they could perform additional tasks such as carrying messages or escorting patients to appointments.

The problem of teaching machines to distinguish between an everyday situation and an emergency is now being tackled by a £7m EU-funded project being conducted at six universities in Britain and abroad.

The project, known as STRANDS (Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-term Scenarios) is focused on programming robots to learn about their environment and recognise when something is amiss.

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