An older man who has been watching the entire time approaches me and tells me that he’s sorry that I lost control of my boat and that he’s sure it’ll wash up on the beach somewhere. I assure him that the boat is on autopilot, going exactly where it’s supposed to be going. “And where is that?” he asks. “Hawaii.” [more inside]
On May 7th, 2016, Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, was driving via the Autopilot feature of his 2015 Model S in Williston, FL, when it collided with a tractor-trailer making a left turn. This marks the first known fatal accident involving an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle, and is being investigated by NHTSA. Tesla declined to answer if it will disable Autopilot, noting that, "...[t]his is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles.” In light of recent accidents (Wired, Geekwire), who's to blame when a self-driving car crashes? And how should autonomous vehicles respond to an impending collision (Science, open access)? [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
Autonomous vehicles have been extolled as the first step in a new driverless future, and now New Zealand and Domino's Pizza are experimenting with robotic, autonomous pizza delivery. Capable of carrying 10 pizzas and with a 20
mile km range, the Domino's Robotic Unit (DRU), described as "cheeky and endearing," was developed with technology from Marathon Robots, who also produce robotic live-fire targets. No word on whether a combination target-shooting/pizza-delivery unit will be forthcoming.
I Find Your Lack Of Faith In Autonomous Cars Disturbing [SLMedium] (Previously on the blue.)
Will Killer Robots Destroy Humanity? What The Future Of Robots Reveals About The Human Condition. Peter Thiel says 'Robots Are Our Saviours, Not the Enemy,' via. Brad DeLong reponds with The Rise of the Robots. Don't forget your 'Terrifying Robot Update,' especially when robots grow our food. Or maybe we'll get the Robots of Resistance, with human values. New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy. AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. [more inside]
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.
Pretty stunning cockpit perspective footage of unmanned aerial vehicles interacting in close quarters, flying with a range of flyers (Echelon FPV). [more inside]
Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law? This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear.
The Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) "...is a generic mission architecture consisting of miniaturized, autonomous, self-similar, reconfigurable, addressable components forming structures. The components/structures have wide spatial distribution and multi-level organization. This ‘swarm’ behavior is inspired by the success of social insect colonies...." ANTS may one day teem through the solar system.... (last two links large QT files) [more inside]
Perhaps you'll recall DARPA's Grand Challenge where autonomous vehicles competed in a off-road race for $1,000,000 but most barely made it off the starting blocks? Yeah, well, they are doing it again this year for $2 million this time. Just one thing: Don't bet on Princeton. [last two links .MOV]
Full text of White Paper on Tibet's March Toward Modernization (Part 2) (Part 3) I don't agree with Tibet being administered as an Autonomous Region, but doesn't this amount to displacing Native Americans and putting them on reservations as part of the US' westward expansion? [press release]