323 posts tagged with robots.
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Automation is coming, but how will labor adapt?

The Machines Are Coming by Zeynep Tufekci
Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. In applications around the world, software is being used to predict whether people are lying, how they feel and whom they’ll vote for. To crack these cognitive and emotional puzzles, computers needed not only sophisticated, efficient algorithms, but also vast amounts of human-generated data, which can now be easily harvested from our digitized world. The results are dazzling. Most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. But computers do not just replace humans in the workplace. They shift the balance of power even more in favor of employers. Our normal response to technological innovation that threatens jobs is to encourage workers to acquire more skills, or to trust that the nuances of the human mind or human attention will always be superior in crucial ways. But when machines of this capacity enter the equation, employers have even more leverage, and our standard response is not sufficient for the looming crisis.
[more inside]
posted by p3on on Apr 19, 2015 - 47 comments

Shake, Bot

Politicians Shaking Hands with Robots, Ranked
How many Merkels have you spotted so far?
The correct answer is "a suspicious number of Merkels."
Why Is Angela Merkel Always Palling Around With Robots?
posted by dame on Mar 16, 2015 - 20 comments

Robocops in Kinshasa

Five Congolese-made robots are now regulating traffic in Kinshasa. Other pictures. Traffic robots in action and interview of Thérèse Izay Kirongozi, robot creator, engineer and leader of Wotech (Women's Technology Association). [more inside]
posted by elgilito on Mar 16, 2015 - 14 comments

Everyone should take it easy on the robot stuff for a while.

There's been a small, but influential, hysteria surrounding the idea is that a huge wave of automation, technology and skills have lead to a massive structural change in the economy since 2010. The implicit argument here is that robots and machines have both made traditional demand-side policies irrelevant or naïve, and been a major driver of wage stagnation and inequality. Though not the most pernicious story that gained prominence as the recovery remained sluggish in 2010 to 2011, it gained an important foothold among elite discussion. That is over.
David Autor and Larry Summers tear apart the idea that a Machine Age is responsible for our economic plight.
posted by ennui.bz on Feb 21, 2015 - 41 comments

Tomatan

Tomatan: a wearable robot that feeds you tomatoes as you run.
posted by GuyZero on Feb 20, 2015 - 53 comments

The Marines Are Building Robotic War Balls
A research team from Stamford, Conn. has developed an amphibious drone that they are currently testing with the Marines. The GuardBot is a robot ball that swims over water at about 4 miles per hour and then rolls along the beach, at as much as a 30-degree incline and 20 miles per hour.

posted by Fizz on Feb 18, 2015 - 102 comments

"a picture of a person walking through the sky", and other errors

INTERESTING.JPG is an AI trying its hardest to describe the contents of random news photos. Sometimes it does quite well. Sometimes it thinks ice is sheep. See also: Novice Art Blogger. See also, if you're daring: the super duper completely not-safe-for-work porn-analysis robot @NSFW_JPG. Via mefi's own cmyr on Projects.
posted by cortex on Feb 3, 2015 - 41 comments

Humans Need Not Apply

Full of assumptions, still thought-provoking article about self-driving cars by writer Zach Kanter, How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Feb 1, 2015 - 193 comments

Muniuliuma 2.0

Chinese retiree builds robotic horse. Inspired by an invention of Three Kingdoms-era chancellor Zhuge Liang, Chinese inventor Su Daocheng spent two months building a petrol-powered rideable robotic horse.
posted by homunculus on Feb 1, 2015 - 18 comments

"...we are alive and they are not."

'Are we becoming too reliant on computers?' by Nicholas Carr [The Guardian]
posted by Fizz on Jan 17, 2015 - 59 comments

I seldom use it myself, sir. It promotes rust.

Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
posted by brundlefly on Jan 14, 2015 - 22 comments

Only in Hebocon would the champion feel ashamed.

"Hebocon is a robot contest for the technically ungifted. Entrants will need compromise and surrender, instead of ideas and technical skill. Robots are penalized for having high-tech features."
posted by ardgedee on Dec 2, 2014 - 26 comments

Muscle Robot

The Ecce Robot is an attempt to create a robot that not only mimics human movement and form, but also musculature and body construction. There are more videos at the project's site. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Nov 18, 2014 - 23 comments

Die Antwoord + Short Circuit =

Rave-rappers Die Antwoord are starring in Chappie, a movie about robots and consciousness, by Elysium/District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) also star. Due out in early 2015. Trailer [slyt].
posted by gusandrews on Nov 6, 2014 - 28 comments

R.U.R.

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 26, 2014 - 28 comments

Accidental robot impacts: elaborations on the first law of robotics

Though we're not (yet) to the point of actually implementing any strict laws of robotics, the limits for how much workplace robots can accidentally harm their human co-workers are now being discussed by standards-setting agencies. It's easy enough to say robots and humans cannot work in the same space, but once robots start collaborating with people (aka: COBOTS), large companies look to standards for safety measures and risk assessment. That's where the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (German: Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, IFA) come in, with BG/BGIA risk assessment recommendations according to machinery directive (36 page PDF), based on real-world tests with robots on human subjects.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 7, 2014 - 14 comments

I, for one, welcome our new ‘handwriting’ spambot overlords

how to tell when a robot has written you a letter.
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Sep 24, 2014 - 46 comments

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 - 34 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

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