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]
A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again
... 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]
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.
Robots at Work and Play
(a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
Television Without Pity
re-capper Jacob Clifton
has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
- a voice activated popcorn launching machine. Kinda cool, but my money's still on the robotic tweet powered popper
. (via @peeweeherman and keepoutofreach)
Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment
- "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
A spherical flying robot has been developed at the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense; it can zoom along indoors and outdoors at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, or just hover. Menacingly.
Science Fiction In The News
is a subsection of science-fiction site Technovelgy
, which tracks both the predictions of future tech made in science fiction past and present
and its manifestations in real life.
What tech, you ask? Well, if it’s appeared in your nightmares, it’s probably been on this page: [more inside]
Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend
- "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
In a pinch, upgrade the humans or redistribute the robots
- "[S]uppose [as a factory owner] I replace all my workers with machines... This squeeze has many implications, one of them being that here is an important sector of the economy in which more or less all the gains accrue to the owners of capital and more or less none to the working class..." [more inside]
Juan Enriquez: Tech evolution will eclipse the financial crisis.
"Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez
says the big reboot is yet to come. But don't look for it on your ballot -- or in the stock exchange. It'll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be ... different.
Robots at War: The New Battlefield.
"It sounds like science fiction, but it is fact: On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, robots are killing America’s enemies and saving American lives. But today’s PackBots, Predators, and Ravens are relatively primitive machines. The coming generation of 'war-bots' will be immensely more sophisticated, and their development raises troubling new questions about how and when we wage war." [Via]
"I began to realize that "robots"-- in all their various forms-- can really be seen as a symbol of a larger relationship between people and technology." In 1988, Frederick Schodt
wrote about the Japanese fascination and use of robots in his book Inside the Robot Kingdom
, curious by the disparities between American and Japanese manufacturing processes . In 1988, the American public wasn't ready for the book, or for robots.
Today, Japan still has embraced robotic automation
in a way that arguably no other country has. For more similar topics, Mangobot
is a column that reports on Asian futurism.
Bots've come a long way, baby.
So everybody knows about Honda's flashy ASIMO
, and the sadly canceled QRIO
, but now Wakamaru
, Mitsubishi's entry into the field, seems to have been first among semi-autonomous humanoid robots to find a job. I wish it luck, but it might need to grow up a little
. Maybe it can learn from Domo
, son of Cog, robot of yore
, who used to believe in the benefits
of robot pets, has changed her tune and now "finds human-machine love unsettling
)". Tyrell:"We began to recognize in them a strange obsession. After all, they are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better." Was he referring to us or them
Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years
Some more up-to-date predictions: science
, space travel
, mental health
, smart machines
, robots, mind uploading
What is your prediction
- The United Arab Emirates is to mount robot jockeys on racing camels later this year after a ban on using children in the region's popular sport.
The World Expo 2005
to visitors today
. Attractions include robots
, a mammoth
, and participating countries from Australia
. Some think that in the age of the Internet and intercontinental travel, world expos are becoming obsolete
; others think the Aichi Expo might spawn a new industry: industrial tourism
The last Expo in Japan was held in Osaka in 1970, and brought us arguably the world's ugliest artifact
Have Home Robots become a "thing of the now" rather than "thing of the future"? This company
seems to think so. It's even got a list of the Top 25 things to do
with their new robot, the ER1.
This is certainly a big step up from the "toys" that The Sharper Image and other shops sold in the 80's and early 90's, which would bring you a drink on your tray via remote control, etc.
Introducing ... Ratbot!
Leave it to the good folks at SUNY to come up with a remote-controlled rat. Best of all: "If the rat correctly followed the cue and turned left, its reward-centre was stimulated, filling the rat with a feeling of well-being."