robots

Spineless swines, cemented minds

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Researchers at the MIT are testing out their version of a system that lets them see and analyze what autonomous robots, including flying drones, are “thinking.” […]

The system is a “spin on conventional virtual reality that’s designed to visualize a robot’s ‘perceptions and understanding of the world,’” Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi, a post-doctoral associate at MIT’s Aerospace Controls Laboratory, said in a statement.

{ LiveScience | Continue reading | via gettingsome }

image { Lygia Clark }

‘Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.’ —Paul Theroux

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We evaluated the impact of different presentation methods for evaluating how funny jokes are. We found that the same joke was perceived as significantly funnier when told by a robot than when presented only using text.

{ Dr. Hato | PDF }

Ongoing projects: Adding farting to the joking robots.

{ Dr. Hato | Continue reading }

we took a young woman w/ severe memory loss and helped her forget she ever had it

{ Samantha West The Telemarketer Robot Who Swears She’s Not a Robot | more }

‘Pourquoi démissionner quand on est innocent ?’ –Jérôme Cahuzac

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{ Thomas Jackson }

Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love

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Holograms of human figures are appearing increasingly often in airports as virtual assistants. And they may also be introduced in various commercial activities. […]

The woman was two-dimensional, a projection on a human-shaped glass sheet. […] She is a product by Tensator®, a “queue control and management solutions” brand. Installed in June of last year, an aviation trade publication reported she cost the airport only 26,000 dollars. The avatar runs 24 hours a day and is portable so she can be moved to other areas of the terminal. […] You will find similar holographic announcers or “airport virtual assistants” in Dubai, Washington Dulles, Macau, Istanbul Ataturk and Long Beach, among other locations. […] The next step will be to install more interactive virtual assistants, which might answer basic questions from travellers about things like flight times, gates or rental car locations. Their plan is to provide models with a touch-screen interface next to the avatar rather than Siri-style speech technology. Voice recognition, while available in the more expensive models (roughly 100,000 dollars) isn’t recommended for airports due to the likelihood of interference from background noise. […]

Musion is better known for their less practical work: reviving dead celebrity singers. Their most famous project was the digital resurrection of Tupac Shakur at last year’s Coachella Festival. The company also recreated Frank Sinatra to perform at Simon Cowell’s 50th birthday party. […] Copyright permissions and objections from various estates, in addition to the high costs, have so far prevented “resurrections” from becoming a more widespread trend.

{ Domus | Continue reading }

art { Wayne White }

Persistent vegetative state

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These new robot-painting machines can wash, apply solvent to remove dirt, rinse and then spray two different paint types. […]

Manually, it takes a team of painters 4.5 hours to do the first coat. The robots do it in 24 minutes with perfect quality. Boeing began using the machine in February. By midsummer, all 777 wings will be painted this way. […]

Half the 777 wing-painting team has been redeployed to other roles, such as programming the machines, painting the airline liveries on the fuselage or working on the sophisticated paint job needed for the 787-9 tails, which have a special smooth aerodynamic finish, Clark said.

{ Seattle Times | Continue reading }

Step aside for the flex Terminator X

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From assembly line robots to ATMs and self-checkout terminals, each year intelligent machines take over more jobs formerly held by humans; and experts predict this trend will not stop anytime soon. […]

“By 2015, robots should be able to assist teachers in the classroom. By 2018, they should be able to teach on their own, and this will cause many teachers to lose their jobs.” […]

The ultimate tool to replace doctors could be the nanorobot, a tiny microscopic-size machine that can whiz through veins replacing aging and damaged cells with new youthful ones. This nanowonder with expected development time of mid-to-late 2030s could eliminate nearly all need for human doctors. […]

Experts estimate by 2035, 50 million jobs will be lost to machines […] and by the end of the century, or possibly much sooner, all jobs will disappear. Some believe the final solution will take the form of a Basic Income Guarantee, made available as a fundamental right for everyone. […] America should create a $25,000 annual stipend for every U.S. adult, Brain says, which would be phased in over two-to-three decades. The payments could be paid for by ending welfare programs, taxing automated systems, adding a consumption tax, allowing ads on currency, and other creative ideas.

{ IEET | Continue reading }

Arianna Huffington Unveils New ‘Huffington Man’ Aggregated From 84 Different Humans

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Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing.

At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.

It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.

It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

Some, to example, there are again whose movements are automatic. Perceive. That is his appropriate sun.

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There’s growing privacy concern over flying robots, or “drones.” Organizations like the EFF and ACLU have been raising the alarm over increased government surveillance of US citizens. Legislators haven’t been quick to respond to concerns of government spying on citizens. But Texas legislators are apparently quite concerned that private citizens operating hobby drones might spot environmental violations by businesses.

{ Robots | Continue reading }

‘Between grief and nothing I will take grief.’ –Faulkner

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There are good reasons for any species to think darkly of its own extinction. […]

Simple, single-celled life appeared early in Earth’s history. A few hundred million whirls around the newborn Sun were all it took to cool our planet and give it oceans, liquid laboratories that run trillions of chemical experiments per second. Somewhere in those primordial seas, energy flashed through a chemical cocktail, transforming it into a replicator, a combination of molecules that could send versions of itself into the future.

For a long time, the descendants of that replicator stayed single-celled. They also stayed busy, preparing the planet for the emergence of land animals, by filling its atmosphere with breathable oxygen, and sheathing it in the ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet light. Multicellular life didn’t begin to thrive until 600 million years ago, but thrive it did. In the space of two hundred million years, life leapt onto land, greened the continents, and lit the fuse on the Cambrian explosion, a spike in biological creativity that is without peer in the geological record. The Cambrian explosion spawned most of the broad categories of complex animal life. It formed phyla so quickly, in such tight strata of rock, that Charles Darwin worried its existence disproved the theory of natural selection.

No one is certain what caused the five mass extinctions that glare out at us from the rocky layers atop the Cambrian. But we do have an inkling about a few of them. The most recent was likely borne of a cosmic impact, a thudding arrival from space, whose aftermath rained exterminating fire on the dinosaurs. […]

Nuclear weapons were the first technology to threaten us with extinction, but they will not be the last, nor even the most dangerous. […] There are still tens of thousands of nukes, enough to incinerate all of Earth’s dense population centers, but not enough to target every human being. The only way nuclear war will wipe out humanity is by triggering nuclear winter, a crop-killing climate shift that occurs when smoldering cities send Sun-blocking soot into the stratosphere. But it’s not clear that nuke-levelled cities would burn long or strong enough to lift soot that high. […]

Humans have a long history of using biology’s deadlier innovations for ill ends; we have proved especially adept at the weaponisation of microbes. In antiquity, we sent plagues into cities by catapulting corpses over fortified walls. Now we have more cunning Trojan horses. We have even stashed smallpox in blankets, disguising disease as a gift of good will. Still, these are crude techniques, primitive attempts to loose lethal organisms on our fellow man. In 1993, the death cult that gassed Tokyo’s subways flew to the African rainforest in order to acquire the Ebola virus, a tool it hoped to use to usher in Armageddon. In the future, even small, unsophisticated groups will be able to enhance pathogens, or invent them wholesale. Even something like corporate sabotage, could generate catastrophes that unfold in unpredictable ways. Imagine an Australian logging company sending synthetic bacteria into Brazil’s forests to gain an edge in the global timber market. The bacteria might mutate into a dominant strain, a strain that could ruin Earth’s entire soil ecology in a single stroke, forcing 7 billion humans to the oceans for food. […]

The average human brain can juggle seven discrete chunks of information simultaneously; geniuses can sometimes manage nine. Either figure is extraordinary relative to the rest of the animal kingdom, but completely arbitrary as a hard cap on the complexity of thought. If we could sift through 90 concepts at once, or recall trillions of bits of data on command, we could access a whole new order of mental landscapes. It doesn’t look like the brain can be made to handle that kind of cognitive workload, but it might be able to build a machine that could. […]

To understand why an AI might be dangerous, you have to avoid anthropomorphising it. […] You can’t picture a super-smart version of yourself floating above the situation. Human cognition is only one species of intelligence, one with built-in impulses like empathy that colour the way we see the world, and limit what we are willing to do to accomplish our goals. But these biochemical impulses aren’t essential components of intelligence. They’re incidental software applications, installed by aeons of evolution and culture. Bostrom told me that it’s best to think of an AI as a primordial force of nature, like a star system or a hurricane — something strong, but indifferent. If its goal is to win at chess, an AI is going to model chess moves, make predictions about their success, and select its actions accordingly. It’s going to be ruthless in achieving its goal, but within a limited domain: the chessboard. But if your AI is choosing its actions in a larger domain, like the physical world, you need to be very specific about the goals you give it. […]

‘The really impressive stuff is hidden away inside AI journals,’ Dewey said. He told me about a team from the University of Alberta that recently trained an AI to play the 1980s video game Pac-Man. Only they didn’t let the AI see the familiar, overhead view of the game. Instead, they dropped it into a three-dimensional version, similar to a corn maze, where ghosts and pellets lurk behind every corner. They didn’t tell it the rules, either; they just threw it into the system and punished it when a ghost caught it. ‘Eventually the AI learned to play pretty well,’ Dewey said. ‘That would have been unheard of a few years ago, but we are getting to that point where we are finally starting to see little sparkles of generality.’

{ Ross Andersen/Aeon | Continue reading }

Blow me to Bermuda

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This research constitutes an initial investigation into key issues which arise in designing a flying humanoid robot (FHR), with a focus on human-robot interaction (HRI). The humanoid form offers an interface for natural communication; flight offers excellent mobility. Combining both will yield companion robots capable of approaching, accompanying, and communicating naturally with humans in difficult environments. Problematic is how such a robot should best fly around humans, and what effect a robot’s flight will have on a person in terms of non-verbal communicative cues. To answer these questions, we propose an extension to existing proxemics theory (“z-proxemics”) and predict how typical humanoid flight motions will be perceived (“z-kinesics”). Data obtained from participants watching animated sequences are analyzed to check our predictions. The paper also reports on the building of a flying humanoid robot, which we will use in interactions. […]

One possible design for a flying humanoid robot (FHR): “Angel”, a soft, safe companion robot intended for playful and affectionate interactions who a) approaches b) entertains, c) accompanies and guides, and d) serves humans.

{ IEEE | PDF }

‘I used to think I could change the world but now I think it changed me.’ –John Isaacs

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Memory is a strange thing. Just using the verb “smash” in a question about a car crash instead of “bump” or “hit” causes witnesses to remember higher speeds and more serious damage. Known as the misinformation effect, it is a serious problem for police trying to gather accurate accounts of a potential crime. There’s a way around it, however: get a robot to ask the questions. […]

Two groups - one with a human and one a robot interviewer - were asked identical questions that introduced false information about the crime, mentioning objects that were not in the scene, then asking about them later. When posed by humans, the questions caused the witnesses’ recall accuracy to drop by 40 per cent - compared with those that did not receive misinformation - as they remembered objects that were never there. But misinformation presented by the NAO robot didn’t have an effect.

{ NewScientist | Continue reading }