Tag Archives | Robots

National Intelligence Council Predicts Cyborg Enhancements and Augmented Reality

Picture: TenaciousMe (CC)

Remember daydreaming about robots and cyborgs as a kid? They’re almost here! Bad news, though: They’ll be killing machines. What could possibly go wrong? You’re welcome, future.

WIRED reports on some of the predictions of the National Intelligence Council:

We’ve seen experimental prosthetics in recent years that are connected to the human neurological system. The Council says the link between man and machine is about to get way more cyborg-like. “As replacement limb technology advances, people may choose to enhance their physical selves as they do with cosmetic surgery today. Future retinal eye implants could enable night vision, and neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought,” the Council writes. “Brain-machine interfaces could provide ‘superhuman’ abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available.”

And if the machines can’t be embedded into the person, the person may embed himself in the robot.

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The Pressing Conundrum Of Creating Moral Machines

Via the New Yorker, Gary Marcus on how we will soon need our machines to be ethical, but have no idea how to do this:

Google’s driver-less cars are already street-legal in California, Florida, and Nevada, and some day similar devices may not just be possible but mandatory. Eventually automated vehicles will be able to drive better, and more safely than you can; within two or three decades the difference between automated driving and human driving will be so great you may not be legally allowed to drive your own car.

That moment will signal the era in which it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge when an errant school bus carrying forty children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going?

Many approaches to machine ethics are fraught [with problems].

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Think Tank To Study The Risk Of A Genocidal Robot Uprising

Good to know that we may finally have an answer on this. The BBC reports:

Cambridge researchers at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) are to assess whether technology could end up destroying human civilisation. The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.

Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films. But despite being the subject of far-fetched fantasy, researchers said the concept of machines outsmarting us demanded mature attention. “The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake,” the researchers write.

The CSER project has been co-founded by Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, cosmology and astrophysics professor Martin Rees and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. Prof. Price said that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us”.

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Bio-Robot Walks With Aid of Rat Heart Cells

What’s that? You’re all out of nightmare fuel? Here’s an undead-cyborg-slime-bot cobbled together out of rat heart cells and gel. Possible use? Drug screening. Fill er’ up.

Via NBC:

With the aid of a 3-D printer, researchers have fashioned soft, quarter-inch-long biological robots out of gel-like material and rat heart cells. When the cells beat, the bio-bots take a step.

The robots resemble tiny springboards, each with one long, thin leg resting on a stout supporting leg. The thin leg is covered in the heart cells. When the cells beat, the long leg pulses, propelling the bio-bot forward, according to the research team from the University of Illinois.

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Disney Perfects ‘Face Cloning’ For Hyper-Realistic Robots

Zurich, Switzerland-based Disney Research has unveiled its new method of creating eerily perfect copies of human faces for use on robots, pointing the way toward a world in which everyone has an android identical twin. The robot countenances are made of silicone, capable of portraying the full range of emotions, and most disturbingly, will be used for animatronic characters at theme parks:

We propose a complete process for designing, simulating, and fabricating synthetic skin for an animatronics character that mimics the face of a given subject and its expressions.

We use physics-based simulation to predict the behavior of a face when it is driven by the underlying robotic actuation. Next, we capture 3D facial expressions for a given target subject. We demonstrate this computational skin design by physically cloning a real human face onto an animatronics figure.

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Researchers Developing Robotic Police Officers

With municipalities desperate to reduce budgets, use of remotely-controlled robots for some law enforcement duties is an inevitability. CNET reports:

Researchers at Florida International University’s Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being [remotely] controlled by disabled police officers.

Students and professors at the Discovery Lab have been working with the two-wheeled, military-grade IHMC robots built under a $2 million DARPA initiative. The patrol bot prototype, which will have two-way video and audio, will be based on them.

They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. Remote-controlled robots are already used in military, medical, and business applications, and the lab believes law enforcement is a natural next step.

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Exploring The Corporate Gaze

Drawing inspiration from the concept of the “robot-readable world” — i.e. people and places as perceived through the eyes of smart machines such as face-detecting cameras — Quiet Babylon describes the “corporate gaze”:

There’s another class of entities to whom we have already granted personhood. I’m speaking, of course, about corporations. Immortal entities of terrifying inhuman thinking, capable of entering into contracts and incurring debts, and owed a subset of the rights which we accord to human persons. I’m interested in the aesthetics of the corporate readable world, and their truly alien gaze.

Corporations communicate to us through money, press-releases, and advertising, always advertising. For a glimpse of the corporate readable world, look to Twitter’s routinely useless “who to follow” panel, Klout’s laughable ideas about what you are influential about, Facebook’s clumsy attempts to get you to join a dating site, and Google’s demented, personalized, Gmail ads. You can see it in your credit rating, and your position on the actuarial tables.

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The Religious Worship Of Robotic Machines As Nature Perfected

The video manifesto of the Japanese art collective and new age cult AUJIK:

A guide named Nashi narrates the audience journey in an uncanny forest. What are the creatures that live there, living beings or robots? Nashi states that even the things we consider synthetic and artificial are as sacred as plants and stones.

AUJIK are a new age group that shares Shintos’ belief that everything of nature is animated. Just as with other forms of animism, AUJIK worships everything that comes out of nature, the main difference with AUJIK is that science and technology is considered as sacred as stones and trees.

The Shinto priest Hideaki spoke about similar things in the 18th century after he had seen a Karakuri doll(a clockwork robot made of wood) and claimed that in the future we will create mechanical characters that will become so superior to our own intelligence that we will subject [ourselves] as they were gods.

 

 

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Homeland Security Builds Robo-Tuna

Picture: Charlie Guinther (CC)

E! Science News reports that the DHS is building a robot tuna. Just pray that the terrorists don’t get access to weaponized mayonnaise…

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is funding the development of an unmanned underwater vehicle designed to resemble a tuna, called the BIOSwimmer™. Why the tuna? Because the tuna has a natural body framework ideal for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), solving some of the propulsion and maneuverability problems that plague conventional UUVs.

Inspired by the real tuna, BIOSwimmer™ is a UUV designed for high maneuverability in harsh environments, with a flexible aft section and appropriately placed sets of pectoral and other fins. For those cluttered and hard-to-reach underwater places where inspection is necessary, the tuna-inspired frame is an optimal design. It can inspect the interior voids of ships such as flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach external areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests.

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