Continuing its annual tradition of walking the lines between genuine social goodyness and highfalutin' techno utopianism, the TED2013 conference kicked off this week in Los Angeles. Gathering together some of the brighter minds and more well-heeled benefactors, attendees come to tease apart the phase space of possibility and to take a closer look at how we consciously examine and intentionally evolve our world. Among the many threads and themes, one in particular tugs deeply at both aspirational humanism and existential terror.
On the early pages of this year's conference blog is a sensational, video-heavy list of the 10 best robots from TED. Featuring autonomous birdbots, dancing ballbots, silicon helpers, procedural comedians, affective mimics, and, of course, a smattering of tomorrow's robowarriors, the cavalcade of robotic evolution marches on with genuinely awe-inducing cadence. The field of robotics is being lifted by the same tides moving all industries: ubiquitous microcontrollers, breakthroughs in materials science, the global web of shared knowledge, and the mature capital markets looking for new profits.