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On the Cover: Are We Ready for Robot Sex?

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For New York Magazine's May 14 to 27, 2018, issue cover story, the Cut's senior writer Allison P. Davis met Henry (pictured), the first male sex robot to become reality, whose creators believe he is the future. Their goal is to create robots that are entertaining and conversational enough to be companions rather than just elaborate sex toys. Based on the fact that humans have an astonishing ability to feel empathy and love for inanimate objects and nonhuman entities (think: cats, plants, cars, and the like), Matthias Scheutz, who runs the Human Robot Interaction Lab at Tufts University, tells Davis that it would be "basically impossible" to prevent people from forming emotional bonds with robots. Though Davis says she went into the story expecting to learn how technology and robotics need to develop in order for people to actually want to have sex with robots, she came out of the experience with a completely different understanding of what will happen. "Let's just say after meeting Henry, I will never think about falling asleep with my computer on my bed in the same way," says Davis.


MWC 18: Catch up with Pepper the humanoid robot

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We caught up with Pepper to see what Softbank's humanoid robot has been getting up to in the past few years, and its plans for the rest of 2018.


Samsung Will Open AI Research Center in Cambridge, England

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., the Korean-based electronics giant, will open a new artificial-intelligence center in Cambridge, England, as the company seeks to benefit from cutting-edge academic research into the technology. Andrew Blake, a pioneering researcher in the development of systems that enable computers to interpret visual data, and a former director of Microsoft Corp.'s Cambridge Research Lab, will head the new Samsung AI center, the company said Tuesday. The center may hire as many as 150 AI experts, bringing the total number of people Samsung has working on research and development in the U.K. to 400 "in the near future," the company said. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said Samsung's new lab would create high-paying, high-skilled jobs. "It is a vote of confidence in the U.K. as a world leader in artificial-intelligence," she said.


'Prepare your students for interviews with robots'

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As we all know, getting that first job after college can often be a bigger challenge for a student than gaining the qualification. The interview process can be daunting, particularly for young people with limited experience of speaking in front of others. Judgements can be formed quickly in this intense environment and it's easy to come away feeling you haven't showcased yourself, your skills and your personality in the best light. Striking up a "rapport" with an interviewer is very important, but something that the less confident college leaver may struggle with – even if they may have all the skills needed for the particular role. So could the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) interview technology help to create a more level playing field in the initial stages of a recruitment process?


People are losing faith in self-driving cars following recent fatal crashes

Mashable

For a while, people were really excited about the potential of self-driving cars, which promised to make our future commutes easier, more productive, and safer. Then came some high-profile autonomous vehicle accidents -- including two fatal crashes -- and let's just say the excitement has waned a bit. SEE ALSO: Tesla's Autopilot fails haven't shaken my faith in self-driving cars. A new survey released Tuesday by the American Automobile Association found that 73 percent of American drivers are scared to ride in an autonomous vehicle. That figure is up 10 percent from the end of last year.


Even Millennials Are Losing Confidence In Autonomous Cars, Surveys Reveal

Forbes Technology

An Uber Technologies Inc. Volvo self-driving sports utility vehicles (SUV) sits on the road after a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, U.S., on Friday, March 24, 2017. Uber Technologies Inc.'s self-driving cars were back on public roads Monday,... A spate of recent crashes involving Tesla and Uber are taking a toll on public confidence in self-driving cars. Two studies released this week, one by AAA and the other by Cargurus.com, The AAA survey was conducted in April, shortly after a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Ariz., and after a fatal accident involving a Tesla Model X operating in Autopilot mode in Mountain View, Calif.


73% say they wouldn't trust a self-driving car

Daily Mail

Consumer trust in self-driving cars has tumbled according to a new survey that found 73 per cent of people would be too afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. The US survey found faith in the technology had plummeted by ten per cent from the end of 2017 as a result of two high-profile deaths in March. Research suggests that in the long-term self-driving cars are set to drastically reduce deaths by eliminating human error but it seems consumers are yet to be convinced. The issue of AI in self-driving cars flared up following the death of a women hit but a self-driving Uber and a man killed while using his Tesla Model X's autopilot feature in March this year. A survey by the American Automobile Association looked at 1,014 people and was conducted between 5 to 8 April, just weeks after the two highly-publicised deaths.


As AI Begins to Reshape Defense, Here's How Europe Can Keep Up

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Change comes hard in much of Europe, particularly in the defense community. But no less than in the United States, European nations are wrestling with the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence -- in the military as well as civilian society. During several trips to Europe in the last six months, we have noted a significant uptick in the number of NATO political and military leaders discussing AI's impact on the alliance's military capability. There seems to be a two-speed discussion going on. European defense industry officials we talked to had no qualms about harnessing AI to reduce manufacturing costs and improve customer satisfaction.


Index Ranks Robot, AI and Automation Readiness

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South Korea, Germany and Singapore are the world's top-ranked nations in preparing their economies for the smooth integration of intelligent automation, according to an index and report released by ABB and The Economist Intelligence Unit. The report, 'The Automation Readiness Index (ARI): Who is ready for the coming wave of innovation?' provides a snapshot across a set of 25 countries of current government-led efforts to anticipate the resulting changes and shape the outcomes of technological progress. In assessing the existence of policy and strategy in the areas of innovation, education and the labour market, the study finds that little policy is in place today that specifically addresses the challenges of Artificial Intelligence and robotics-based automation. In addition, the report says that governmental policies and programs must ensure that the rapid adoption of automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) don't leave people unprepared for the new, more human-oriented jobs that will be needed as robots and algorithms take on more of the routine task that can be and will be automated. The report also claims that the engagement between policymakers, industry, educational specialists and other stakeholders is necessary for countries' preparedness for the coming wave of intelligent automation.


Robots can now grow humanoid organoids from stem cells faster and better than people can

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Automated robots now have the tools to grow imitation, simplified human organs out of stem cells. Thankfully, we weren't transported to a sci-fi dystopia where the machines have risen up and started to farm humans, but rather a world where pharmaceutical and other biomedical research just became much easier and faster. Give these robots some pluripotent stem cells (stem cells that can become any type of cell), and 21 days later they'll have finished a complicated experiment testing out the effects of a drug or genetic manipulation on some human-like, lab-grown kidneys. According to research published yesterday, May 17, in Cell: Stem Cell, the process is much faster and more reliable than when humans grow the same mini-organs. "Ordinarily, just setting up an experiment of this magnitude would take a researcher all day, while the robot can do it in 20 minutes," said researcher Benjamin Freedman in a press release.