Monday, April 21, 2014

Where AI (Artificial Intelligence) Research May Lead To

Why There Will Be A Robot Uprising -- Patrick Tucker, Defense One

In the movie Transcendence, which opens in theaters on Friday, a sentient computer program embarks on a relentless quest for power, nearly destroying humanity in the process.

The film is science fiction but a computer scientist and entrepreneur Steven Omohundro says that “anti-social” artificial intelligence in the future is not only possible, but probable, unless we start designing AI systems very differently today.

Omohundro’s most recent recent paper, published in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, lays out the case.

We think of artificial intelligence programs as somewhat humanlike. In fact, computer systems perceive the world through a narrow lens, the job they were designed to perform.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is a little futuristic for me .... but there are people who are thinking about this right now.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One More Step Forward To The Development Of A Quantum Computer

Photo: In this experiment, an atom is sandwiched between mirrors, forming half of the quantum switch. Graphic: Andreas Reiserer, MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division

Two Big Steps Toward The Quantum Computer -- Popular Mechanics

With lasers and mirrors, researchers develop clever quantum versions of key computer components.

It's a machine that could calculate solutions to problems so impossibly time-consuming that even the most powerful supercomputers could never handle them. And it would do so in an instant. This is the quantum computer, made possible by the bizarre nature of quantum mechanics. And though the idea is still in its infancy, it's no fantasy.

Two research teams, at Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, have just announced that they have independently forged the building blocks for tomorrow's quantum computers. As they published today in the journal Nature (1, 2), the scientists discovered a way to hook up atoms and particles of light to create a new type of switch and logic-gate‚ quantum versions of the connecting structures that link bits of data in modern computers.

Read more ....

More News On Developments Towards A Quantum Computers

Atom-Photon ‘Switch’ Heralds Quantum Networking Advances -- Time
New “switch” could power quantum computing -- R&D
New ‘switch’ brings scientists one step closer to quantum computing -- Science Recorder
New 'Switch' Could Bring Scientists Closer To Highly-Anticipated Quantum Computing -- HNGN
New Atom And Photon 'Switch' May Bring Quantum Computers Closer to Reality -- Counsel & Heal
Atom-Photon switch: Quantum computing looks closer than ever -- NVO News

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The British Military Introduces Their 'Porton Man' Robot To Test Clothes

Britain Builds Robot To Test Military Equipment, Suits For Armed Forces -- FOX News

A $1.8 million robotic mannequin that can run, kneel and lift his arms to sight a weapon like a soldier will help test the latest in military equipment, Britain’s government says.

The Ministry of Defence says its newest recruit, “Porton Man,” is made out of lightweight materials used to build Formula One racing cars, some of the fastest vehicles on Earth.

The robot, designed by the British company i-bodi Technology, is named after the home of the Ministry’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dtsl).

Read more ....

Editor: The U.S. military's equivalent is "Pet Man". The video is below.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Robots Getting Ready For Dull, Dirty And Dangerous Jobs (Video)

From VOA: Robotic house helpers may still be a long way off but robots that can replace humans in hazardous environments are closer and closer to becoming a reality. Roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University are designing advanced robots for dull, dirty and dangerous jobs. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Future Of Surgical Robotics Is Microscopic

The NeuroArm, a non-ferrous microsurgical robot—shown here with an electrified cutting tool and suction instrument—was used to remove a patient's brain tumor in 2008, while she was being scanned with an MRI. University of Calgary

The Microscopic Future of Surgical Robotics -- Erik Sofge, Popular Science

Chances are, you aren’t, and never will be, an astronaut. So the recent revelation that NASA is funding the development of a somewhat gruesome-sounding surgical bot—a fist-size contraption that would enter a patient’s gas-engorged abdomen to staunch bleeding or remove a ruptured appendix—isn’t exactly news you can use. The more relevant announcement might be from Intuitive Surgical, which announced that its newest robo-surgeon has been approved by the FDA. With thinner and more maneuverable arms, the da Vinci Xi will turn more open surgeries into minimally-invasive, robot-assisted procedures. Instead of requiring large incisions to get at various portions of a patient’s anatomy, the Xi will let surgeons reach essentially anywhere in the abdomen through smaller less traumatic punctures. With this clearance, the likelihood that you’ll one day be under the robotic knife just jumped significantly.

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My Comment: A good review on robotic advances in microsurgery.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Will Robots Rule the World?

Photo Used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Antonis Lamnatos

Will Robots Rule the World? Find Out At Robo Madness Next Thursday -- Wade Roush, XConomy

An influential 1998 paper by Robin Hanson, an economics professor at George Mason University, asked what might happen to jobs and wages in a future with “mature machine intelligence”—computers and robots clever enough to take over most human jobs. The outlook is a little scary.

Hanson calculated that a world where machines could truly substitute for most human labor, would, at first, see unprecedented economic growth, including rising wages. But eventually, as machines became more numerous and more productive, they would push human wages down dramatically, leaving most people without the means to buy the stuff the machines were making. Hanson even threw around words like “Malthusian,” a term once reserved to describe catastrophic population growth and food shortages.

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My Comment: What's my take .... robots may rule the world one day .... but not today.

Friday, April 4, 2014

‘Bionic Olympics’ Coming In 2016

‘Bionic Olympics’ Coming in 2016 -- Defense Tech

Couple the Defense Research Projects Agency’s major and well-funded interest in prosthetics with the grit shown by amputee veterans to excel in sports and you’ve got a heck of start for building a U.S. team for the first-ever bionic Olympics.

The Cybathlon, an international competition for athletes using advanced prosthetics, is to be held in October 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The competitions are comprised by different disciplines that apply the most modern powered knee prostheses, wearable arm prostheses, powered exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, electrically stimulated muscles and novel brain-computer interfaces,” according to the games’ official website.

The games are being organized on behalf of the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics.

Read more ....

My Comment: I predict that this will be well watched.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can Robots Be Regulated?


Why It Is Not Possible To Regulate Robots -- The Guardian

We regulate machines, from drills to defibrillators. What distinguishes a power-drill from a robot-drill? A computer driving it

There's an old joke about the sciences: biology is just applied chemistry, chemistry is just applied physics, and physics is just applied maths. It's really a neat little quip about essentialism and reductionism. While it's true that biology can be accurately described as "applied chemistry," treating living things as alive – and not as a set of chemical reactions no different in principle from making a cup of cocoa or extracting a pigment to use in housepaint – has undeniable utility.

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My Comment: A long commentary .... but it is not an easy subject to analyze and discuss. A prediction .... this discussion will only increase with time as computers and robots develop into even more sophisticated models and networks than what they are today.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nasa Is Developing Robots That Could Perform Surgery In Space

The Robots That Could Perform Surgery In SPACE: Tiny Doctor Droids Could Perform Complex Medical Procedures On Astronauts -- Daily Mail

* Prototype has been created by Nebraska-based Virtual Incision and Nasa
* 0.9lb (0.4kg) device has tools that can grab, cauterise and suture tissue
* Its head is fitted with a camera which sends a feed back to control station
* Nasa said astronauts could be trained to use the robot to perform select surgeries on each other

Imagine a miniature robo-surgeon sliding into your body through an incision in your stomach.

Once inside, the robot can expertly manoeuvre its way around the abdominal cavity, which has been filled with gas to make more room for work.

It can then perform procedures such as an emergency appendectomy or perforate a gastric ulcer.

This is the scenario being explored by Nasa in the hope that risky surgical operations in space will someday become a routine matter.

Working in collaboration with Virtual Incision in Lincoln, Nebraska, the space agency has developed a prototype of a remotely-operated fist-sized robot doctor.

Read more ....

My Comment: They still have a long way to go .... but the advancements are impressive.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quantum Computing And New Approaches To Artificial Intelligence

Quantum Computing And New Approaches To Artificial Intelligence Could Get The Resources To Achieve Real Breakthroughs In Computing -- Next Big Future

Ramez gives examples and problems to achieving an intelligence explosion

* the complexity of important problems like computational chemistry have exponentially increasing complexity
- if designing intelligence is an N^2 problem, an AI that is 2x as intelligent as the entire team that built it (not just a single human) would be able to design a new AI that is only 70% as intelligent as itself

* There are already entities with vastly greater than human intelligence working on the problem of augmenting their own intelligence. A great many, in fact. We call them corporations. And while we may have a variety of thoughts about them, not one has achieved transcendence.

Let's focus on as a very particular example: The Intel Corporation. Intel uses the collective brainpower of tens of thousands of humans and probably millions of CPU cores to.. design better CPUs! (And also to create better software for designing CPUs.) Those better CPUs will run the better software to make the better next generation of CPUs. Yet that feedback loop has not led to a hard takeoff scenario.

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My Comment: The money for this research is now coming in .... but will the results follow? I guess we will find out in the next fwe years.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Computers Teaching Other Computers

Researchers had agents -- virtual robots -- act like true student and teacher pairs: student agents struggled to learn Pac-Man and a version of the StarCraft video game. The researchers were able to show that the student agent learned the games and, in fact, surpassed the teacher. Credit: Image courtesy of Washington State University

Knowledge Transfer Between Computers: Computers Teach Each Other Pac-Man -- Science Daily

Researchers in Washington State University's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have developed a method to allow a computer to give advice and teach skills to another computer in a way that mimics how a real teacher and student might interact.

The paper by Matthew E. Taylor, WSU's Allred Distinguished Professor in Artificial Intelligence, was published online in the journal Connection Science.

Read more ....

My Comment: Pac-Man today .... who knows what tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A New XPrize For Artificial Intelligence Takes Center Stage

TED XPrize

Can A Robot Give A TED Talk? TED Hopes So -- Popular Science

A new XPrize for artificial intelligence takes center stage

Today, Peter Diamandis and Chris Anderson, the heads of the XPrize Foundation and the TED series of conferences respectively, announced a new XPrize, in the field of artificial intelligence. The winner will be the first to develop an AI system capable of independently delivering "a compelling TED talk with no human involvement."

Previously announced XPrizes have involved challenges such as cleaning up oil spills or landing a lunar rover.

Read more ....

My Comment: This could be a fascinating talk.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Google Rejects The Pentagon's Money For Robot Development

Google Rejects Military Funding In Robotics -- Defense Tech

Google doesn’t want the U.S. military’s money.

Even though the Internet search giant owns two companies that have contracts with the Pentagon, Google is choosing to forego military funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in at least one robotic competition.

Google bought the robotics firm Schaft that had developed a bipedal robot that won DARPA’s Robotics Challenge. The competition asked companies to develop a robot that could perform disaster response tasks to include navigating debris, climbing ladders and turning off a valve.

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My Comment: Too bad .... without this cooperation U.S. troops will probably not be able to benefit from this cooperation.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The U.S. Navy Robots Are Set To Be Deployed

Robots Join The Navy To Fight Fires At Sea -- FOX News

The Navy’s new humanoid robots can detect fires on a ship, withstand extreme heat up to 500 degrees, and fight the fire shoulder to shoulder with human firefighters.

Designed to fight shipboard fires at sea, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, known as SAFFiR, is a human-sized robot. Under direction and funding from the Office of Naval Research, Naval Research Laboratory researchers have been working with university researchers to develop the tech.

SAFFiR is meant to move autonomously throughout a ship, learn its layout and patrol for structural problems. The robot will be able to interact with the sailors onboard, and take on many of their dangerous firefighting tasks.

Read more ....

Update: Navy’s robot will interact with sailors, fight fires aboard ship -- Defense Systems

My Comment: This is a trend that I expect to continue.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Mechanical FISH that Perfectly Mimics The Movement Of Marine Creatures

The Robot Set To Make A Splash! Mechanical FISH Perfectly Mimics The Movement Of Marine Creatures -- Daily Mail

* Robotic fish made of rubber changes direction in a fraction of a second
* Movements are controlled by carbon dioxide from a built-in canister
* Once released, gas passes through a channel, causing the tail to bend
* The fish performs up to 30 manoeuvres before the carbon dioxide runs out
* Its inventor hopes to use it to learn more about the behaviour of fish

Forget clunking, giant humanoid robots, an inventor in the U.S has created a soft machine that is not only waterproof, it perfectly mimics the rapid, elegant movement of a fish.

Andrew Marchese, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), created the soft exterior robot to learn more about how fish behave.

MIT said the robotic fish is ‘the first self-contained autonomous soft robot capable of rapid body motion’ and will be featured in their new Soft Robotics journal.

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My Comment: Impressive video.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Giant Robot Crab Walks

Giant Robot Crab Walks, Is Probably Coming Right For You -- Popular Science

Next stop: ocean floor.

The Crabster CR200 is a 1,400-pound behemoth of a 'bot soon being sent to the ocean floor—for both scientific and commercial use. Up until now, we've mostly seen it in action through still photos and animations, but here it is, menacingly lumbering into video.

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My Comment: That's one big giant robot crab.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Is This The Most Terrifying Robot Ever?

This Gyrating Animatronic Doll Will Haunt Your Dreams -- io9

The thing dancing in this video is not a person. It's a humanoid installation piece, featuring facial recognition technology that allows it to focus on and follow you with its gaze. And yes, it is freaky as all hell.

On display March 6 – April 19 at David Zwirner Art Gallery in NYC, the unnamed doll is the work of artist Jordan Wolfson, who created the figure in collaboration with creature effects studio Spectral Motion.

There's not a lot about this thing that isn't creepy. There's the metal pole running through its sternum. Its voice (which is actually Wolfson's). The sooty grime smeared across its buttocks, thighs, knees and chest. The version of "Blurred Lines" playing in the background that sounds like it's being performed through a vat of molasses. The gaze that locks onto you and doesn't let go. That mask.

Then, of course, there are the fingers.

Read more ....

Update: Is this the most terrifying robot ever? Animatronic dancer stares at you as 'she' gyrates to Blurred Lines -- Daily Mail

My Comment: Yup .... freaky as hell.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meet The Robots That Are Defending America's Nuclear Material Stockpiles

These incredible carts work as security staff for the Nevada Nuclear Stockpile Site. One control centre can operate 16 vehicles at once

Caddy Not Included: The Unmanned Robotic Golf Cart That Can Detect Intruders And Is Tasked With Defending American Nuclear Materials Stockpile -- Daily Mail

* Incredible machines patrol the site in the same way as security staff
* Detect intruders from 600 feet by looking for signs such as an ajar door
* Up to 16 vehicles can be operated by one control centre
* Thanks to the caddies the site expects to make $7million in savings

Humans, normally charged with watching over America's nuclear stockpiles, could soon be out of a job after an unmanned robotic golf cart has been created which can do the same thing - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The stockpile, stored at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), is being watched over by a fleet of these incredible machines.

Known as a Mobile Detection, Assessment and Response System (MADR) the diesel-powered carts are fitted with three types of sensors.

Read more ....

My Comment: It will only be a matter of time before these platforms are armed and readu to go.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Russia To Embrace Robot Senties To Protect Its Strategic Missile Facilities

Russian Military to Deploy Security Bots at Missile Bases. © RIA Novosti. Sergei Pyatakov

Russian Military To Deploy Security Bots At Missile Bases -- RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to deploy mobile security robots in 2014 to protect its strategic missile facilities, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

“In March, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces [RVSN] began testing mobile robotic systems being developed to protect key RVSN installations,” spokesman Maj. Dmitry Andreyev said.

Andreyev said the security bots will be deployed at five ballistic missile launch sites around Russia as part of an upgrade to the existing automated security systems.

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My Comment: I am curious to know if the U.S. has such a set-up also.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Robots Will Be Smarter Than Us All By 2029

Photo: Google has spent billions of its £57bn fortune quietly buying up the world’s top robotics companies including Boston Dynamics, the company behind this robot

Robots Will Be Smarter Than Us All By 2029, Warns AI Expert Ray Kurzweil -- The Independent

World’s leading futurologist predicts computers will soon be able to flirt, learn from experience and even make jokes

By 2029, computers will be able to understand our language, learn from experience and outsmart even the most intelligent humans, according to Google’s director of engineering Ray Kurzweil.

One of the world’s leading futurologists and artificial intelligence (AI) developers, 66-year-old Kurzweil has previous form in making accurate predictions about the way technology is heading.

In 1990 he said a computer would be capable of beating a chess champion by 1998 – a feat managed by IBM’s Deep Blue, against Garry Kasparov, in 1997.

Read more ....

Update: Computer robots will outsmart humans within 15 years, Google director claims (and a giant laboratory for artificial intelligence is already planned) -- Daily Mail

My Comment: This is an optimistic prediction .... but I will admit that Kurzweil has a better track record than I do.