CES Robotic Pandemic Glorification

Just a short note on CES 2021 robotics. As you might expect, people are writing post-mortems for a year with log innovation, but lots of adoption of virtual services. During 2020, many tech-pundits felt that the pandemic would finally bring humanoid robots into widespread use. Instead, we got Zoom. However there is a framework forContinue reading “CES Robotic Pandemic Glorification”

Robots Encourage Human Risk-Taking

There’s been a lot of excitement about robots and artificial intelligence in recent years. One is pretty irrational – humanoid robots becoming the equal of humans. One, more rational, is various service robots, as well as “artificial intelligences” taking over tasks like driving cars and airplanes. The 1950s and 1960s spawned two views of futureContinue reading “Robots Encourage Human Risk-Taking”

Covid-Forced Dreams of Robo-Tech

2020 is the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by a coronavirus. First off, I’d like to point out the single best writer on the topic, Erin Bromage, if you actually want to understand what the virus is and how it spreads: April 19, 2020 – the likely history of how the virus spread. https://www.erinbromage.com/post/where-we-are-nowContinue reading “Covid-Forced Dreams of Robo-Tech”

Robot Skin and Computational Overload

There’s a long history of announcements from the robotic community, claiming that “robot skin” has been created. Mostly, these have been unserious, since the huge computational load for managing skin sensation is not part of the story. A few historical examples: https://newatlas.com/smart-robot-skin/55853/ https://www.zdnet.com/article/hairy-artificial-skin-gives-robots-a-sense-of-touch/ Here’s and earlier one from 2010: https://cacm.acm.org/news/87060-robots-with-skin-enter-our-touchy-feely-world/fulltext Cool, but no ability toContinue reading “Robot Skin and Computational Overload”

An Actual Robot that Jumps

The “public” robotics (as opposed to the private world of practical industrial robots) is split into two factions. One promotes electric puppets who supposedly have humanlike “minds” and do art or otherwise replace humans. The second faction tries to build robotic bodies that can actually function in the real world. The public tends to confuseContinue reading “An Actual Robot that Jumps”

Making Dating into a Message from the Future

In a new low for humanity, our most technically advanced news media – distributed, Internet-based stories allowing instant access and comments – decided to act like a 3-year old and “believe” in the Hanson Robotics “Sophia”, the reputed “first robot citizen” of Saudi Arabia. The video interview is visible on this page: https://finance.yahoo.com/video/sophia-robot-dating-apps-kids-180844755.html The eventContinue reading “Making Dating into a Message from the Future”

Atlas Deepfake

Well, well, people are so desperate to have robots that they’re willing to propagate phony videos of the Boston Dynamics humanoid in action This worked great for Corridor Digital, a Los Angeles VFX house, who wanted to parody some of the real videos, including the one of Atlas where it is being “taunted”. A greatContinue reading “Atlas Deepfake”

Another Puppet Show, Featuring a Gynoid Robot Being a “Creative Artist”

Well, the latest in the bright future of robots is here, and it is a “creative artist” Ai-Da“, a gynoid robot whose “works” have actually been sold to idiot buyers for a total > $1 million dollars. Quoting Devidiscourse (India’s media loves humanoid robots), “…Described as “the world’s first ultra-realistic AI humanoid robot artist”, Ai-DaContinue reading “Another Puppet Show, Featuring a Gynoid Robot Being a “Creative Artist””

What Real Robots Look Like

Despite all the biped fantasy circulating on the Internet these days, real “robots” – industrial robots which have evolved for 200 years from the first Jacard Looms, are gaining ground. In the 20th century, this kind of automation led to increased productivity per worker. In the 21st, it may be leading to worker devaluation: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-automation-exclusive/exclusive-amazon-rolls-out-machines-that-pack-orders-and-replace-jobs-idUSKCN1SJ0X1 Continue reading “What Real Robots Look Like”