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Calculus without limits

Hyperreal numbers: infinities and infinitesimals - "In 1976, Jerome Keisler, a student of the famous logician Tarski, published this elementary textbook that teaches calculus using hyperreal numbers. Now it's free, with a Creative Commons copyright!" (pdf—25mb :) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 17, 2014 - 7 comments

What will time be like in 100 years?

Ten different blog title generators
posted by oceanjesse on Sep 17, 2014 - 22 comments

Deus ex machina

Patrick Lin discusses ethics, responsibility and liability related to safety programming in self-driving cars: Robot Cars With Adjustable Ethics Settings.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 19, 2014 - 31 comments

"This stuff isn't science fiction. The robots are here right now."

Humans Need Not Apply. Video essayist CGP Grey explains why we need to start preparing for a post-human economy.
posted by ocherdraco on Aug 13, 2014 - 103 comments

Next: Lasersabers

Remember the floating training remote in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote that can levitate on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely in the ISS. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded with Android smartphones, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal.
posted by elgilito on Aug 3, 2014 - 3 comments

Resistance is not futile? /Hugh

I come from the future, and I’m here to tell you: transcending the limits of the flesh can be downright dull. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 1, 2014 - 16 comments

What if there was a Robot cheering for those fans?

The Hanwha Eagles, a much beleaguered South Korean major league baseball team have introduced Fanbots, jersey-clad robots who lead cheers, display messages (and selfies where the robot would otherwise have a blank screen) sent in from fans at home, and generally stand in for fans who aren't there. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 30, 2014 - 13 comments

Robot, Heal Thyself

A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
posted by tocts on Jul 23, 2014 - 16 comments

YOU WERE MADE FOR LONELINESS

You Were Made for Loneliness is a Twine text adventure by Tsukareta that explores the idea of love in different situations. Since it's release back in June reviews have been overall positive. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Jul 20, 2014 - 8 comments

X-Rays of Toy Robots

X-Rays of Toy Robots [link via Laughing Squid]
posted by drezdn on Jul 14, 2014 - 15 comments

Dear Marc Andreessen

"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 18, 2014 - 50 comments

"Everyone On Wall Street Is A Dick."

The two-day Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) graduate showcase at NYU was a madhouse, with some 100 projects on view, ranging from groundbreaking innovations to timely trinkets. But the most talked about project by far was Peiqi Su's "Penis Wall" - an array of 81 robotic phalli that rise and fall in response to the stock market. Official Vimeo account for the project - Thesis presentation - in depth How-it-was-made production blog. (Slightly NSFW if your work doesn't like white, plastic, abstract dicks.)
posted by The Whelk on May 23, 2014 - 14 comments

Nothing is stranger to man than his own image.

O Human Star, an ongoing webcomic by Blue Delliquanti, is a near-future science fiction family drama about robots, relationships, identity and finding a place for oneself in the world. [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities on May 23, 2014 - 11 comments

The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save 2

"Buy our car, but be aware that it might drive over a cliff rather than hit a car with two people." The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two?
posted by juv3nal on May 13, 2014 - 160 comments

The Ballad of Lost KMEL

Flying Robot Rockstars (SLYT)
posted by Joe in Australia on May 4, 2014 - 9 comments

The Eternal Ingénue

SF/F legend Connie Willis pours a preview of a near-future version of the story of backstage back-stabbing, " All About Eve" with "All About Emily" for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2014 - 12 comments

Humanity needs bots to save the world's knowledge from humanity.

Wikipedia is edited by bots. That's a good thing.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Mar 23, 2014 - 33 comments

How do you make your mom robot angry? Keep pushing her buttons.

You thought Google buying robot technology was scary? We've discussed here the unease brought on by Google's purchase of Boston Dynamics, the maker of "terrifying robots", and recently the prediction of robots rising by Google's Director of Engineering, but it turns out that Google may not be the problem. Truly terrifying robots are already here and could show up in your home if you happen to have mounds of disposable cash and no sense of boundaries. No this isn't April 1, yes this is legit.
posted by jeremias on Mar 15, 2014 - 55 comments

Survival Research Labs makes a proposal to Google

"I want to make fictional worlds, inhabited by large robots and machines, all over the Google campus" Google has recently shown a great deal of interest in robots, snapping up companies right and left. Mark Pauline, a noted expert in the field, offers his services to the search behemoth.
posted by mecran01 on Mar 7, 2014 - 28 comments

Squarepusher x Z-Machines - Music For Robots

In mid-2013, Zima Japan unveiled Z-Machines, a "social party robot band" featuring a 22-armed drummer, and a guitarist with 78 fingers. While Z-Machines was initially seen by many as a nightmarish reincarnation of the Chuck E. Cheese Band, the Japanese developers have since collaborated with other musicians, and now Warp Records is announcing an upcoming collaboration EP: Squarepusher x Z-Machines - Music For Robots to be released in April. [more inside]
posted by p3t3 on Feb 13, 2014 - 27 comments

Even Robots Get The Blus

Facebook Deploys Robots to Save Blu-ray From Extinction
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 9, 2014 - 65 comments

Dirty, Dull and Dangerous

What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next?
Soldiers?
Rescue teams? Managers?
Astronauts? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 31, 2014 - 91 comments

A robot leads the way at the Department of Automatics

Friendly Robots of the Soviet Union: Even robots like to drink in Soviet Russia: a babushka hands this futuristic-looking robot from Kaliningrad what looks to be a pint of beer in 1969.
posted by not_the_water on Jan 21, 2014 - 7 comments

Tis The Season To Secure Contain Protect

The collaborative wiki-as-fiction site, Secure Contain Protect (previously), held a contest to determine which entry will get the coveted SCP - 2000 spot. The theme? Science Fiction. Read the winning entry here, and the rest of the alien-spaceship-crashing-memetic-virus-watching-living-TV-show-spreading contestants here.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 23, 2013 - 31 comments

Things Don't Make Sense Till They Make Sense to a Stupid Robot

In 2010, Judea Pearl was honored with a symposium on his work. He gave a talk on how to use causal models to evaluate counterfactuals. (He takes the first 14 minutes to thank people and reflect on his intellectual debts. Skip it if you really want to get to the meat of the talk, but it is well worth watching.) [more inside]
posted by Jonathan Livengood on Dec 22, 2013 - 8 comments

Google acquires Boston Dynamics.

Big Dog. Wild Cat. Cheetah. Petman. Atlas. Google acquires Boston Dynamics, notable maker of terrifying robots. [more inside]
posted by tracert on Dec 13, 2013 - 105 comments

Our Final Invention: How the Human Race Goes and Gets Itself Killed

Worried about robots? You should be. Artificial intelligence superior to our own is, by some estimates, only thirty years away. What could possibly go wrong? The answer: everything.
posted by artemisia on Dec 7, 2013 - 86 comments

Robot does 12 human-years of trial testing in one week.

Robot scientists! A Pretty cool video about research automation from the Wall Street Journal. [slyt]
posted by Lutoslawski on Nov 14, 2013 - 10 comments

Economist warns of the coming robot apocalypse

The robots are here. George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen predicts that the trend towards automation will squeeze the middle class further still, and compares its effects on American politics to a too-overlooked 1955 short story by Isaac Asimov.
posted by Jacob Knitig on Nov 14, 2013 - 81 comments

Where would be the fun in watching a driverless Formula 1 race?

Brad DeLong, recently installed at Equitablog, lays out a future (wonkish) where the returns to capital keep increasing relative to labor: "What do we people do to add value? Eight things... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 9, 2013 - 29 comments

M-Bots: modular cube-shaped robots

Researchers at MIT have created M-Bots, small cubes with internal flywheels that use angular momentum to move and magnets to help them stay aligned, as demonstrated in a video. At this point, the robots are not strictly autonomous; rather they are controlled by commands sent by radio.
posted by larrybob on Oct 7, 2013 - 44 comments

"We report that this robot elicits aversive antipredatorial reactions"

Fish Fear Robotic Predators, Unless They're Drunk. Scientists swear they had a really good reason for building a robotic fish, getting some other fish drunk, and then chasing them around with it. The robotic bird head, too. Direct link to research: A Robotics-Based Behavioral Paradigm to Measure Anxiety-Related Responses in Zebrafish.
posted by not_the_water on Aug 19, 2013 - 15 comments

The Art of John Lytle Wilson

Occasionally, an artist will paint something, but neglect to include monkeys and/or robots. When he can, John Lytle Wilson fixes that. In addition to correcting the paintings of others, Mr. Wilson also paints original pieces. Most of which include monkeys and/or robots. And unicorns. There are some unicorns in there too.
posted by Cookiebastard on Aug 14, 2013 - 13 comments

She Blinded Me ... with SCIENCE!

Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction. An intelligent discourse from The Awl about the state of modern science fiction movies. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Aug 12, 2013 - 172 comments

Robotic gymnasts made by hinamitetu

No. 16 makes the quadruple backflip look easy (YouTube), but robotic gymnastics don't always go so well (YT). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 22, 2013 - 11 comments

Out in the streets. Out with my robots

ENRG and the Electrobots perform a scene and sing a song in the pilot episode of Steve Gadlin's Star Makers.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jul 10, 2013 - 4 comments

Monster Smash

“What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers . . . it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true.” - Guillermo del Toro on being a monster loving pacifist. Designer Wayne Barlowe talks about Pacific Rim's creatures. But has maneuvering at Legendary doomed the film before it has even opened?
posted by Artw on Jul 8, 2013 - 387 comments

"Shoot, we have enough crap in the garage. We can build a combat robot."

An Oral History of the Birth and Death of BattleBots
posted by Copronymus on Jun 18, 2013 - 32 comments

Mechanical Paper Robots

Some cool mechanical paper models. [more inside]
posted by klausman on Jun 7, 2013 - 6 comments

Flapping-wing bio-inspired micro air vehicle

[V]Robo Raven[V] is a robot bird. So uncanny a hawk attacked it during testing. Other robot birds include the SmartBird, a flying robotic seagull, and AirPenguins. Robobee is a robot bee.
posted by stbalbach on May 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Music has the right to robots

"Designed in collaboration with interactive designer Jonathan Chomko, the COLORS News Machine turns your tweets into headlines, but only after they’ve been passed through all the media filters and technological platforms that disseminate and distort the news today."

"A megaphone will read your tweet out loud. Its tape recorder listens, converting what it hears into text so that the television can show it onscreen. A camera watching the television converts what it sees into a signal to the radio antenna, which broadcasts the tweet. And the waiting microphone interprets this radio address as text again for printing."

Tweet to here: @ColorsMachine. Live stream here.
posted by bdz on Apr 30, 2013 - 10 comments

Stop the killer robots before it's too late!

Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 27, 2013 - 123 comments

China robot noodles

"It is the trend that robots will replace men in factories, it is certainly going to happen in sliced-noodle restaurants." [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Apr 25, 2013 - 37 comments

HTBYERRF

A few years ago Charles Guan was a teacher's assistant in MIT's 2.007 introductory design and manufacturing class. To help out his fellow students he made a guide to building robots quickly and efficiently. Now he has expanded the original guide, retitled it How to Build your Everything Really Really Fast (HTBYERRF) and published it on Instructables, available for anyone wishing to progress from the "zip ties and duct tape" stage of building things.
posted by Harald74 on Mar 22, 2013 - 15 comments

The Robots Are Coming

All of a sudden, we looked up, and they were there. What if the explanation to the past half-decade --- or maybe the past decade and a half --- of the world’s economic malaise can be explained in one word: Robots. Maybe, in other words, the reason that corporate profits are higher than ever and yet jobs aren’t being created is because we have built machines to take those jobs. Paul Krugman thinks it’s possible.
If this is the wave of the future, it makes nonsense of just about all the conventional wisdom on reducing inequality. Better education won’t do much to reduce inequality if the big rewards simply go to those with the most assets....I think our eyes have been averted from the capital/labor dimension of inequality, for several reasons...But I think we’d better start paying attention to those implications.
So does Kevin Drum:
Here's what I mean. It's quite possible that, say, 50 years from now the production of nearly all goods and services will be automated. And this might usher in a golden age...But what happens while we're busy getting there? Answer: the owners of capital will automate more and more, putting more and more people out of work...The rest of us will have no jobs, and even with all this lovely automation, our government-supplied welfare checks will be meager enough that our lives will be miserable.
And 60 minutes. And so does the Financial Time’s Izabella Kaminska, who’s been writing a series of posts on the influential FT Alphaville blog for more than nine months on the influence of robots on the economy and whether or not an economy can handle no scarcity. FT Alphaville requires registration, but fortunately Kaminska has collected links from across the world of economics and journalism as people attempt to hammer out this problem. [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Jan 14, 2013 - 169 comments

Can a band be any more Metal than this?

The Robot band Compressorhead plays Motörhead's Ace of Spades.
posted by fings on Jan 4, 2013 - 33 comments

Debtmageddon vs the robot utopia.

Debtmageddon vs the robot utopia.
posted by zoo on Dec 28, 2012 - 20 comments

"Today we are cancelling the Apocalypse!"

The long awaited robots vs. monsters epic from Guillermo del Toro sees the release of its first trailer: Pacific Rim. [more inside]
posted by Kitteh on Dec 12, 2012 - 194 comments

Terminator: the Documentary

A report was recently released suggesting a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons - robots that can pick and choose whom to fire on. If this sounds vaguely alarming to you, don't worry - the Department of Defense issued a directive indicating that fully automous robots may only decide to tase you.
posted by wolfdreams01 on Nov 27, 2012 - 94 comments

The end of the world is nigh. We need to publish papers on it.

At Cambridge University, the Project for Existential Risk is considering threats to humankind caused by developing technologies. It will be developing a prospectus for the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, to be launched by the Astronomer Royal, a co-founder of Skype and the Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy. More detail from the university, while the news excites some journalists. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 25, 2012 - 25 comments

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