“Earlier this month, a storied, and highly reputable research think tank released an unprecedented work of speculative fiction. Officially, the Pew Research Center’s “AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs” is a report, the result of a survey of some 2000 technology experts on the topic of how automation will impact the economy by 2025. But the responses are pure techno-divination, many of them revealing how profoundly difficult it is to talk about robots, without making irrational, unsupported assumptions.”
“Gartner believes that most emerging technologies go through a natural process in which they are triggered by some innovation, then they rise to a peak of inflated expectations. As the technologies mature, markets generally become disillusioned by them, before they start to become mainstream and just part of everyday technology.”
The Gimball drone is surrounded by a spherical cage that separates its propellers from objects and people, allowing it to utilize insect-like flight methods such as bumping into things to adjust its trajectory. This makes it both safe and super easy to pilot. Doc North drops into Lasanne, Switzerland to talk to its creators in the lab where it was developed.
"Robots created by a team working at the University of California, Santa Barbara are able to look through solid walls using just Wi-Fi signals. With potential applications in search and rescue, surveillance, detection and archeology, these robots have the capability to identify the position and outline of unseen objects within a scanned structure, and then categorize their composition as metal, timber, or flesh."
“There’s a robot making its way across Canada right now. It’s not very advanced — just a Nexus tablet attached to an Arduino, really. Yet it’s already made its way from Halifax to Toronto in about a week, and stands a good chance of making it to British Columbia before long. That’s because its most powerful feature is its cuteness.”
“NASA announced the selected Mars 2020 rover instruments Thursday at the agency's headquarters in Washington. Managers made the selections out of 58 proposals received in January from researchers and engineers worldwide. Proposals received were twice the usual number submitted for instrument competitions in the recent past.”
One of the newest 4-H projects to hit the streets in recent times has met with great success and excitement. And why not? It offers individual development, opportunities to work as a member of a team, involvement with technology, experiences with problem solving, competition, travel AND it is attractive to adolescents. What is this magical project called? 4-H Robotics!
“The [human] World Cup may have finished a few weeks ago, but there was another one played in Brazil just last week. The annual RoboCup competition was held in João Pessoa, including the robot soccer World Cup.”
I doubt the narrator of this video would recognize roboticists as allies, and also expect that many roboticists won't immediately see a connection. That connection is encapsulated in the word "attention". In a world in which farmers are hard-pressed to find enough help at a wage they can afford, there isn't enough attention to go around, With the result that crops not requiring so much attention are substituted for those requiring more, and, where no subsidies exist, concern for environmental issues go wanting. Robotics can supply the needed attention, in the most basic sense for now, but eventually in all senses of the word.
“The new ASIMO has been launched in Brussels with a variety of improvements. Many of those improvements are refinements of existing capabilities, but are no less impressive for it. … Improved intelligence allows the robot to recognize the faces and voices of multiple simultaneous speakers, and to change its behavior based on the perceived intention of the other party.”
“The mechanization of farm labor drove massive productivity gains, and today, agricultural workers make up just over 2% of the workforce. … Now, another revolution is underway – the outright automation of farming. Farm robots are increasingly capable of autonomously performing complex tasks including plowing, plant and soil surveillance, and even the harvesting of fruit and vegetables.”
“In a recent interview, the co-founder of Google discussed how he thinks people shouldn't work so much, and we start having robots do most of the work! Should robots be taking our jobs? Laci discusses how robots might make our lives a lot easier!”
John Payne's insight:
This is a good, condensed inventory of many of the various considerations which emanate from the prospect of automation displacing humans in more and more roles. If you've been following this debate, you won't find a lot new here, but you may be reminded of aspects you'd forgotten about.
“The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible.”
“The HexHog is a six-wheeled electric ATV (or all terrain vehicle) designed for wheelchair users. It can tackle very rough terrain at a top speed of 8.5 mph (13.6 km/h) and has a range of around 8 to 12 miles (13 to 19 km), depending on terrain.”
“A team of scientists at Cornell University and IBM Research have gotten together to design a chip that's fundamentally different: an asynchronous collection of thousands of small processing cores, each capable of the erratic spikes of activity and complicated connections that are typical of neural behavior.”
Experts envision automation and intelligent digital agents permeating vast areas of our work and personal lives by 2025, but they are divided on whether these advances will displace more jobs than they create.
John Payne's insight:
This article presents the robotics-related results from Pew's 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing.
“Researchers from the University of North Texas (UNT) have demonstrated an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of supplying Wi-Fi to disaster-struck areas with a range of up to 5 km (3.1 miles). The team says these figures represent a marked improvement on existing solutions and could lead to new forms of wireless communication.”
“The Pacific territory of Palau earlier this year declared no commercial fishing would take place in its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. … The country currently uses a Cessna Skymaster, and has also explored the use of unmanned drones, to patrol the fishing zone which is roughly the size of France. … Todd Kleperis of Liquid Robotics International says the wave and solar powered skimmer is a much cheaper option.”
“The autonomous K-MAX robocopters were originally scheduled to spend just six weeks in Afghanistan undergoing evaluation as they delivered pallets of cargo to remote bases. But the robots did such a fantastic job that their contract with the Marine Corps was extended indefinitely. It only ended (after nearly three years) because the Marines require less logistical support now. ”
“If constraints on power, communication, or computation mean that the robots can’t pool their data at one location, how can they collectively build a model? … At the Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence conference in July, researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems will answer that question. They present an algorithm in which distributed agents — such as robots exploring a building — collect data and analyze it independently. Pairs of agents, such as robots passing each other in the hall, then exchange analyses.”
Introducing HeatWave, our next generation handheld technology for heat mapping and 3D imaging. This lightweight mobile device can generate real time precise 3D models of objects or scenes, overlaid with accurate temperature information. Currently a research prototype, HeatWave is expected to have applications in industries such as energy, building, manufacturing, construction, emergency services, and health.
CROPS – an acronym compounded from "Clever Robots for Crops" – is an EU 7th Framework program which has supported the development of robotic technologies for care and harvesting of high value crops. The new leaflet provides a sampling of results from projects which received CROPS support over the last four years.
“When pressure is applied to the surface of one of the sensors, their pliable half-sphere shape is slightly deformed, an action which instantly changes this distribution of infrared light from the LED inside. Photodiodes at the base of the sensor pick this up so that a clever piece of software may calculate the deformation and, therefore, the force currently being exerted on the sensors by an object.”
“This review article analyzes state-of-the-art and future perspectives for harvesting robots in high-value crops. The objectives were to characterize the crop environment relevant for robotic harvesting, to perform a literature review on the state-of-the-art of harvesting robots using quantitative measures, and to reflect on the crop environment and literature review to formulate challenges and directions for future research and development.”