categories ... such as robots

Robots programmed to deceive

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/10/10 10:56 AM

Engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology* have created a robot capable of deception. They set up two bots in a game of hide and seek. Robot 1 would dash off, knocking over obstacles set in its path. Robot 2 would ordinarily then be able to follow the trail of knocked over stuff and find Robot 1. But Robot 1 was capable of creating false trails and then dash off to hide in unexpected places.

“We have developed algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,” says Arkin, proudly.

“We strongly encourage discussion about the appropriateness of deceptive robots to determine what, if any, regulations or guidelines should constrain the development of these systems,” adds the prof.

* in league with our secret robot overlords.

Comments | Filed Under: robots domo arigato

Oil-eating swarm of robots

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/27/10 06:00 PM

It’s an MIT project called Seaswarm. Little robots drag around nano-fabric that can asborb 20 times their weight in oil.  These robots dragging around the nano-fabric use wifi and GPS to communicate and position themselves without a human being directing them where to go. A prototype has been developed and was tested in Boston’s Charles River to make sure the waves wouldn’t knock the bots around too much.

Comments | Filed Under: robots oil spill

Search for artificial intelligence in space, not radio waves

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/23/10 03:08 PM

Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) astronomer Seth Shostak says instead of listening for radio waves and looking for biological signs in our search for life beyond Earth, we need to start trying to detect alien artificial intelligence. This is apparently a growing sentiment in the Seti community. It’s based on the idea that technology evolves much more quickly than humans.  Here’s a quote from Shostak:

“If you look at the timescales for the development of technology, at some point you invent radio and then you go on the air and then we have a chance of finding you,” he told BBC News.

“But within a few hundred years of inventing radio - at least if we’re any example - you invent thinking machines; we’re probably going to do that in this century.

"So you’ve invented your successors and only for a few hundred years are you… a ‘biological’ intelligence.”

Comments | Filed Under: space, SETI artificial intelligence robots

New robot eats and poops

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/22/10 11:31 AM

A new British robot called Ecobot III can survive for seven days at a time by consuming biomass and excreting waste. The article points out that it’s only able to convert about 1% of the material it consumes into energy so I guess it’s kind of like a panda eating nutrient-low bamboo. Whether you see the takeaway here as being a robot that eats or a robot that poops is up to you.

“Diarrhea-bot would be more appropriate,” lab director Chris Melhuish told New Scientist. “It’s not exactly knocking out rabbit pellets.”

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Oscar the bionic cat

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/25/10 05:38 PM

Of course we’re charmed by Oscar. More on him here.


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Yotaro the robot baby

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/23/10 11:56 PM

As discussed on the show, here’s a video of Yotaro, the robot baby. As you can see, he (it?) isn’t especially realistic but somehow elicits nurturing instincts in those that see it (him?). Interesting to note that the realistic runny nose is produced by a constantly oozing pump. There is NO WAY TO STOP THE RUNNY NOSE. In that sense, this is a very realistic simulation of a baby. 

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Tech News In Brief - 6/2/10

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/03/10 11:14 AM

The Skype 3G app for iPhone is hugely popular. Free calls! Free calls! Until next year!

Umpire’s blown call ruins pitcher’s perfect game. Call out the robots!

Bill would give government ‘emergency’ power to secure civilian networks in the event of cyber attack.

Foxconn raises worker wages by up to 33%

Man and machine become one. Robot overlords encourage human subjects to stay obedient.

And a triple shot Facebook Rock Block:

Clickjacking on Facebook

Zuckerberg sweats

Mom finds kidnapped kids on Facebook

Comments | Filed Under: skype iphone baseball china robots facebook

Tech News In Brief - 6/2/10

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/02/10 11:40 AM

Tethering comes to the iPhone. But it’s not free.

Meanwhile, AT&T pricing is going to more complex for iPhone and iPad.

Steve Jobs gives interviews, everyone gets excited, nothing much gets said.

Google’s Chrome OS to be released in “late fall”

NBC not so into the iPad . Still way into Jay Leno.

Rocket taxi - a story that gives us a chance to say “rocket taxi”!

iFart somehow not cool enough for iPad . Snobs.

Robot are getting people jobs . Are employed robots going to save the economy? Nothing to fear here:

Comments | Filed Under: at&t iphone apple ipad google robots

Japanese robot moon base! JAPANESE ROBOT MOON BASE!

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/28/10 11:53 AM

Today’s story of the impending robot takeover takes place in Japan and on the moon. Engadget has the story of a robot base being planned for the moon by 2020. This on top of Japan already planning to send a robot to the moon in just five years from now. They’re also planning a manned mission. And several Manga books about all of this. But don’t be worried, once the robots have secured the moon, I’m sure they’ll stop there and never use their base as a headquarters for an attack on earth. BECAUSE WHY WOULD THE ROBOTS DO THAT? (confidential to the robots: I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in your lunar microchip plants.)

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Tech News In Brief - 5/28/10

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/28/10 11:49 AM

Foxconn to give out raises, relocate workers

Is Facebook popular? Why yes it is. More monthly page views than the next 99 most visited sites COMBINED.

iPad international launch day  - hysteria: not uniquely American.

Battle lines form in Viacom vs. YouTube battle. Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. Jocks vs. nerds.

Irish News puts up paywall, runs into figurative wall

Microsoft keeps some security patches secret - set to release them at next Windows 7 Launch Party Reunion

One Laptop Per Child for around 100 bucks - by the time this project is realized, all the children will be elderly adults.

Congress develops interest in synthetic microbes that make and eat oil. “HURRY UP!” says BP.

Herb Kohl loves Hulu.

Japanese robot moon base! JAPANESE ROBOT MOON BASE!

Comments | Filed Under: china facebook ipad video newspapers microsoft robots

In case you'd like to work from home

Posted: 05/19/10 05:26 PM

Anna Weggel is a producer on our Public Insight team.  She whomped up this blog post:

On mornings when you just can’t get up the will to roll out of bed and head to work, your robot will go for you.  Anybots QB is a browser-controlled telepresence robot with a live webcam that can replace you at your cube, in meetings, or mill around your office weirding out your coworkers.  It retails at $15,000 and will be available this fall.

This is just what Dean Pomerlau talked with us about last week.  He’s a researcher at Intel, and he’s working on ways technology can read your mind. In our podcast version of the show, Pomerlau talks about robotic telepresence. And of course, you’ll be able to use your mind to tell those robots what to do. 

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Robots and Whether They'll Kill You

Posted: 05/17/10 06:00 AM

Anyone who’s seen a science fiction movie knows that robots can be dangerous, especially the robots who appear the most human. While that’s a handy literary device, it kind of gets to the heart of a major philosophical issue in technology: can we control that which we create?

We thought about the other day when we came across this video of some experiments conducted by German scientists who were trying to see if a knife-wielding robot could be made to stop it’s stabbing or slashing or slicing before the knife cut into human flesh. An especially gripping part of the video is where research Sami Haddadin offers up his own arm to a knife-wielding robot, confident that the robot won’t cut him.

On today’s show, we talk to Sami about the experiment and how his team is trying to make robots more human so they’ll be less likely to stab actual humans.

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Creepy robot mouth has something to say!

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/12/10 02:17 PM

I know that it’s frightening. I just wish I could figure out why I think it’s so funny.

From the valuable blog Creepy Robots.

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Robots vs. Oil

Posted: 05/05/10 08:00 AM

The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is causing all sorts of environmental problems and may lead to massive economic problems in that part of the country as well. But while oil spills are not unprecedented, the technology used to address the spills is always evolving. Presently, Remotely Operated Vehicles, commonly known as ROVs, are being used to fight the oil that’s already been spilled and to investigate what caused the explosion that led to the spill in the first place.

We get caught up on exactly what kinds of machines might be at work on the scene as we talk to Drew Michel, the head of the ROV committee for the Marine Technology Society.

Drew pointed us to some sites where you can see some state of the art ROVs:

Schilling Robotics

Perry Slingsby Systems

Oceaneering (I’m kind of mesmerized by the video on this one)

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Robots that surprise us

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/04/10 04:14 PM

Okay, you can pretty much expect this to be a regular feature. We’re always coming across stuff online about surprising robot. These stories are both from 2008 but we were pretty surprised regardless.

Like the Japanese robot seal that can help people with Alzheimer’s.

Or the MIT-produced robot teddy bear designed to enhance human relationships.

Comments | Filed Under: robots

Honestly, it would be easier to collect robot articles that were NOT unsettling

Posted: 06/26/09 10:57 AM

From Smithsonian, an article about the developing world of Robot Babies:

But what if a robot could develop that way? What if a machine could learn like a child, as it goes along? Armed with a nearly $3 million National Science Foundation grant, Movellan is now tackling that very question, leading a team of cognitive scientists, engineers, developmental psychologists and roboticists from UCSD and beyond. Their experiment—called Project One, because it focuses on the first year of development—is a wildly ambitious effort to crack the secrets of human intelligence. It involves, their grant proposal says, “an integrated system…whose sensors and actuators approximate the levels of complexity of human infants.”

In other words, a baby robot.

(thanks Boing Boing!)

Comments | Filed Under: robots

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