Robots


A Crowd of Computer Scientists Lined Up for Bill Gates--But it Was Gavin Newsom That Got Them Buzzing

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Stanford University launched its Institute for Human-Centered AI on Monday. Known as Stanford HAI, the institute's charter is to develop new technologies while guiding AI's impact on the world, wrestle with ethical questions, and come up with helpful public policies. The Institute intends to raise US $1 billion to put towards this effort. The university kicked off Stanford HAI (pronounced High) with an all-day symposium that laid out some of the issues the institute aims to address while showcasing Stanford's current crop of AI researchers. The most anticipated speaker on the agenda was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.


Robotic Dreams, Robotic Realities: Why Is It So Hard to Build Profitable Robot Companies?

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

A version of this article appears in the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (Volume 26, Issue 1, March 2019). In mid-November, we received the sad news that Alphabet is closing SCHAFT, a spinoff of the University of Tokyo robotics lab. The decision comes one year after Boston Dynamics was sold to SoftBank, the company that also acquired Aldebaran Robotics (known for the Pepper and Nao robots). During the 2018 IEEE/Robotics Society of Japan International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, we heard that Rethink Robotics, which created the collaborative robot industry and had a large impact on our view of robots in industrial applications, had closed its doors. Some months before, Jibo and Mayfield Robotics, makers of Kuri, were forced to shut down sales and operations.


We have to find a way to stop drones disrupting airports

New Scientist

In the past four months, airports have been brought to a standstill by the sight of drones hovering above runways. Last week, rules came into force in the UK that make it illegal to fly drones within 5 kilometres of an airport. But is there anything more we can do to stop them becoming a weaponised nuisance?


Robot swarm inspired by cells can keep moving even if its parts fail

New Scientist

A swarm of robots inspired by living cells can squeeze through gaps and keep moving even if many of its parts fail. Living cells gather together and collectively migrate under certain conditions, such as when inflammatory cells travel through the bloodstream to a wound site to help the healing process. To mimic this, Hod Lipson at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues created 25 disc-shaped robots that can join together. Each is equipped with cogs that cause the robot's outer shell to expand and contract and magnets around its perimeter that let it stick to neighbouring bots. Individually, the bots can't move, but once stuck together, the swarm can slither across a surface by making individual bots expand and contract at different times.


Robots could be conducting job interviews next year

Mashable

A 16-inch tall robot-recruiter named Tengai could be the future of job interviews. Tengai is programmed to conduct every interview the exact same way. She doesn't engage in pre-interview chit-chat, and asks every question in the same tone and order. Tengai then sends a transcript to human employers containing only the interviewee's answers, eliminating any bias or inherited prejudices.


Fei-Fei Li Wants AI to Care More About Humans

WIRED

Fei-Fei Li heard the crackle of a cat's brain cells a couple of decades ago and has never forgotten it. Researchers had inserted electrodes into the animal's brain and connected them to a loudspeaker, filling a lab at Princeton with the eerie sound of firing neurons. "They played the symphony of a mammalian visual system," she told an audience Monday at Stanford, where she is now a professor. The music of the brain helped convince Li to dedicate herself to studying intelligence--a path that led the physics undergraduate to specializing in artificial intelligence, and helping catalyze the recent flourishing of AI technology and use cases like self-driving cars. These days, though, Li is concerned that the technology she helped bring to prominence may not always make the world better.


A Cab's-Eye View of How Peloton's Trucks 'Talk' to Each Other

WIRED

Techno-optimist prognosticators will tell you that driverless trucks are just around the corner. They will also gently tell you--always gently--that yes, truck driving, a job that nearly 3.7 million Americans perform today, is perhaps on the brink of extinction. A startup called Peloton Technology sees the future a bit differently. Based in Mountain View, California, the eight-year-old company has a plan to broadly commercialize a partially automated truck technology called platooning. It would still depend on drivers sitting in front of a steering wheel, but it would be more fuel efficient and, hopefully, safer than truck-based transportation today.


Tesla alleges self-driving car startup Zoox stole company secrets

Engadget

Tesla filed a lawsuit this week against four former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets and providing them to a rival company. According to the complaint filed with the US district court for Northern California, the ex-Tesla workers gave confidential information to autonomous vehicle start-up Zoox. The documents allegedly allowed the company to accelerate the development of its technology by cribbing off of Tesla's proprietary work. According to Tesla, the four former employees violated the terms of their contracts by forwarding documents and other information from work email addresses to personal accounts. The files included inventory documents, company schematics and other proprietary pieces of information.


Nvidia releases Drive Constellation simulation platform for autonomous vehicle testing

#artificialintelligence

Autonomous vehicle development is a time and resource-intensive business, requiring dozens of test vehicles, thousands of hours of data collection and millions of miles of driving to hone the artificial brains of the cars of tomorrow. What if you could do most of that in the cloud? That's the question Nvidia hopes to answer with the release of its Nvidia Drive Constellation testing platform for self-driving cars. The announcement came during the keynote address at Nvidia's 2019 GPU Technology Conference in San Jose Monday. Drive Constellation is, basically, a simulation and validation platform that allows automakers and developers to test their autonomous vehicles and technologies in a virtual environment that lives in a specially-designed cloud server.


France is tapping into AI's potential for humanity

#artificialintelligence

Antoine Bruel, head of growth at Braincities and Céline Pluijm, key account manager at Wiidii share their thoughts on why France is fast-becoming a leader in establishing'AI for humanity', fresh from Hello Tomorrow… Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. Across industry verticals, it's being used to enable businesses and organisations to work smarter and faster than ever before. From automating repetitive transactions and manual tasks to powering customer support platforms, AI is transforming the way we work, live and interact with the world. According to PwC research, AI is estimated to provide $15.7 trillion in economic growth by 2030, creating opportunities for innovation on a global scale. AI, however, is as much a source of fascination as it is a cause for concern.