Robots


A robot that can touch, eat and sleep? The science of cyborgs like Alita: Battle Angel

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Alita: Battle Angel is an interesting and wild ride, jam-packed full of concepts around cybernetics, dystopian futures and cyberpunk themes. The film – in cinemas now – revolves around Alita (Rosa Salazar), a female cyborg (with original human brain) that is recovered by cybernetic doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) and brought into the world of the future (the film is set in 2563). Hundreds of years after a catastrophic war, called "The Fall", the population of Earth now resides in a wealthy sky city called Zalem and a sprawling junkyard called Iron City where the detritus from Zalem is dumped. We follow Alita's story as she makes friends and enemies, and discovers more about her past. Her character is great – she has many of the mannerisms of a teenage girl combined with a determination and overarching sense of what is right – "I do not stand by in the presence of evil."


Report: China 'Slaughterbots' Can Kill Without Human Command

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In a dangerous AI "arms race," China is exporting killer drone weapons and pilotless aircraft with AK-47 rifles to combat zones in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, U.K.'s The Sun reported. Nicknamed "slaughterbots" in the report, the stealth weapons can deploy a targeted strike from the air "without a human pressing the fire button," per The Sun, citing a report by the U.S.'s Center for a New American Security (CNAS). "Though many current generation drones are primarily remotely operated, Chinese officials generally expect drones and military robotics to feature ever more extensive AI and autonomous capabilities in the future," the think tank's Gregory C. Allen claims, per the report. "Chinese weapons manufacturers already are selling armed drones with significant amounts of combat autonomy." The report pointed to a "Blowfish A2 drone" advertised as having "full autonomy all the way up to targeted strikes," according to Allen.


What Constitutes Artificial Intelligence? Is It The Turing Test?

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"Yes ma'am, Roll-Oh get," the robot says, as it goes to the kitchen to prepare dinner, opening a can of food and blowing fire to a candle. Roll-Oh walks clumsily, suspiciously like a man in an uncomfortable costume. Nonetheless, it ably frees the domestic housewife of all her daily chores, at the simple press of a button. This was the promise of robotics, demonstrated in the 1940 short film "Leave it to Roll-Oh", presented at the New York World's Fair. Mechanical robotics already automate so much of our lives, the film argues, that it will be only a matter of time before we can expect personal, four-limbed metal people as ready-made servants: watering our plants, greeting our mailman, helping cook dinner.


Artificial Intelligence – Losing Our Humanity to Technology

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Driverless cars cost jobs and threaten pedestrians. Just get out of the way! With chaos in the White House, worsening environmental disasters, more wars than we can count, and a wobbling economy here at home, the last thing we need is another big challenge. But -- look out! -- here comes a doozy! It's AI -- artificial intelligence -- the fast-evolving science of autonomous machines that can think, learn, and even reproduce themselves.


AI Weekly: Nuclear fusion, neurology, robotics, and other frontiers advanced by AI

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Stop me if you've heard this before: Artificial intelligence (AI) will eliminate jobs, encode biases against ethnicities and genders, and automate war machines. And it might just lead to a third world war. If developed recklessly, without transparency and safeguards, AI stands to amplify humanity's traits. In the right hands, AI promises to advance scientific frontiers beyond what was previously possible. In fact, it already is.


Recognizing the right tool for the job

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A*STAR researchers working with colleagues in Japan have developed a method by which robots can automatically recognize an object as a potential tool and use it, despite never having seen it before. For humans, the ability to recognize and use tools is almost instinctive. There are also many examples in which tool use seems hardwired into the brain of animals: some birds and primates use sticks or stones to obtain food, for example. One proposed reason for this neurologically embedded ability to use tools is that the animal's brain perceives the external object as an extension of its own body. Inspired by this idea, Keng Peng Tee and his colleagues from the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research, along with Gowrishankar Ganesh from the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory located in Tsukuba, Japan developed an algorithm that enables robots to recognize, and immediately use tools that they have never seen before.


How Artificial Intelligence Changes Us

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Professor Moran Cerf contributed research and insights for this article. I've had a few conversations with Sophia the Robot, an invention of Hanson Robotics making the rounds of tech conferences worldwide. Preparing for a session at Webit 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, I had a surprisingly engaging exchange with Sophie. It's unsettlingly easy to see how one day, after the clunkiness resolves, it will feel natural to engage with our technological colleagues. I feel I've gotten to "know" Sophia in a way and look forward to our next conversation.


Should We Fear the Singularity of Artificial Intelligence

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Although the concerns expressed by influential figures and the general public regarding the possibility and the potential effects of the singularity are not completely invalid, there is still a long way to go before artificial intelligence (AI) can become competent enough to overtake humans. From debating humans on different topics logically to defeating them in games involving strategy and intuition, artificial intelligence is getting ever so close to matching human capabilities of thinking, learning, and possibly, feeling. In fact, there are instances that show how AI has surpassed humans in performing certain tasks, such as lip-reading, diagnosing ailments, and even building other AI, making us fear the singularity. Although the general verdict on the impact of AI on humanity is positive, there is a substantial number of people who are worried about AI taking over humanity. And they are not just worried about humans becoming obsolete, but about us becoming enslaved and even extinct due to AI (paranoid much?).


How Artificial Intelligence Changes Us

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Written in collaboration with Professor Moran Cerf. I've had a few conversations with Sophia the Robot, an invention of Hanson Robotics making the rounds of tech conferences worldwide. Preparing for a session at Webit 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, I had a surprisingly engaging exchange with Sophie. It's unsettlingly easy to see how one day, after the clunkiness resolves, it will feel natural to engage with our technological colleagues. I feel I've gotten to "know" Sophia in a way and look forward to our next conversation.


Super Bowl LIII: Football players should be replaced by robots. No, really.

ZDNet

There's a telling trend to the inbound PR pitches my journalist friends have been getting in advance of Super Bowl LIII. A company called SyncThink is promoting its FDA-cleared eye tracking tool to diagnose concussion in real time. Seattle-based startup Vicis is boasting the safest helmet's in football. We're also learning that the insurance market to cover football at all levels, from professional to Pop Warner, has been winnowed down to a scant few carriers. The sport more than 100 million Americans will tune into or stream Sunday is in serious jeopardy if the holdout providers decide they can't assume the (let's face it) incredible risk and near-certainty of catastrophic injury on the field.