Collaborating Authors


Self-Driving Cars In Space


Geely, a Chinese automotive manufacturer that also owns Volvo, announced will launch hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of satellites, in order to support V2X and V2V communication. The launches are a little ways down the road -- the current press release touts breaking ground on the facility that will manufacture the satellites. "Geely Technology Group knows how to start the Lunar New Year right -- with important news regarding its future low-orbit exploits. On February 18th 2021, its Taizhou Facility was given its license to begin the commercial manufacturing of its satellites, which will be ultimately used for realizing Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to X-(V2X) communications to realize full autonomous self-driving. The license, awarded by China's National Development and Reform Commission, essentially means that the factory, located in Geely Group's original hometown of Taizhou in Zhejiang Province, can begin production. When production begins, at present planned for October of this year, the facility will have an estimated production output of over 500 satellites per year."

On the scene, like a sex-obsessed machine: when a robot writes a play

The Guardian

Kazuo Ishiguro, whose new novel Klara and the Sun is about artificial intelligence, has said he is worried about a time when an AI programme is able to write fiction "that can make me cry, that can show human emotions … that can have the capacity for empathy". The first drama to be written by artificial intelligence shows we are a long way from that future. Ninety per cent of its "autobiographical" material has been generated from its depths while the remaining – human – touches are administered by a team of computer scientists, theatre-makers and academics. A partnership between the Czech Centre in London and Prague's Švanda theatre, it is performed in Czech with English subtitles. Ironically, the first livestream is dogged by stops, starts and prolonged periods of buffering.

Volkswagen's long-awaited revival of microbus goes autonomous: ID Buzz electric van on its way

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The long-awaited revival of the Volkwagen microbus will finally happen in 2022, and it'll apparently include some form of autonomous driving capability. VW confirmed Monday that it plans to debut its new electric van next year, which would be half a decade after a concept version made a splash at the 2017 Detroit auto show. The German automaker announced it will integrate autonomous driving technology into the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, making it a 21st Century callback to an era filled with nostalgia. While the production version of the van is set to be revealed in 2022, VW U.S. CEO Scott Keogh recently told Automotive News that the ID.

Wanted: 1 million robots (as soon as humanly possible)


Fulfillment is the side of ecommerce we don't often see, but it's one of the industries that was booming before the pandemic and is now positively exploding. Case in point, the U.S. may need to add a whopping 1 billion square feet of warehouse space by 2025 to keep up with online demand. That's good news for developers of automation solutions for the logistics sector like Locus Robotics, which makes autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses. The company just announced $150 million in Series E funding bringing its overall valuation to $1billion. Locus will use the funding to accelerate product innovation and global expansion as warehouses continue to face ongoing labor shortages, exploding e-comm volumes, and ever-greater demand for speed and reliability in their technology deployments.

The Future Of Work: Intelligent Automation At Scale


Originally published on SKAEL's Blog, republished (Feb 2021) "Work is work, and what matters to the worker is neither the product nor the technical process, but the pay, the hours, the attitude of the boss, the physical environment. The application of [technology] to industry will mean very little. What they will care about is what their fathers and mothers care about today -- improvement in the conditions of labor." The quote above was written in 1950, imagining a working world 50 years in the future in the year 2000. Huxley imagined that a huge increase in technological capabilities would change the nature of work substantially and it would be very different from what the farmers and factory workers did in his time. It's nearly impossible for today's working generation to imagine going to the office and seeing rows upon rows of desks with typewriters and adding machines clicking away, with secretaries delivering hand-typed memos and letters to physical inboxes as the primary form of written communication.

Why a YouTube Chat About Chess Got Flagged for Hate Speech


Last June, Antonio Radić, the host of a YouTube chess channel with more than a million subscribers, was live-streaming an interview with the grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura when the broadcast suddenly cut out. Instead of a lively discussion about chess openings, famous games, and iconic players, viewers were told Radić's video had been removed for "harmful and dangerous" content. Radić saw a message stating that the video, which included nothing more scandalous than a discussion of the King's Indian Defense, had violated YouTube's community guidelines. It remained offline for 24 hours. Exactly what happened still isn't clear.

We should be less worried about robots killing jobs than being forced to work like robots


More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers. The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots. What's happening: In a report released late last week about the post-COVID-19 labor force, McKinsey predicted 45 million U.S. workers would be displaced by automation by the end of the decade, up from 37 million projected before the pandemic. Yes, but: McKinsey notes that despite the displacements, the total number of jobs is projected to increase. The catch: McKinsey finds that while the total number of jobs will increase, "nearly all net job growth over the next decade is projected to be in high-wage occupations" -- which is not good news for workers with low job skills.

Rapid robotics for operator safety: what a bottle picker can do


Dutch brewing company Heineken is one of the largest beer producers in the world with more than 70 production facilities globally. From small breweries to mega-plants, its logistics and production processes are increasingly complex and its machinery ever more advanced. The global beer giant therefore began looking for robotics solutions to make its breweries safer and more attractive for employees while enabling a more flexible organisation. The environment is constantly changing and the robot has to be able to respond immediately. Automatically adapting to the situation Dennis van der Plas, senior global lead packaging lines at Heineken, says, "We are becoming a high-tech company and attracting more and more technically trained staff. Repetitive tasks – like picking up fallen bottles from the conveyor belt will not provide them job satisfaction."

Training Self Driving Cars using Reinforcement Learning


In this image, there is a robot at position (1, 1), in a maze. That position is the state. The robot has a set of actions that it can perform, move up or move right. The last thing to note is that, the robot will receive a reward whenever it takes an action. The rewards are defined by the programmer, and we'll define the rewards as such.

Winners and Losers in the Digital Transformation of Work


MILAN – Perhaps no single aspect of the digital revolution has received more attention than the effect of automaton on jobs, work, employment, and incomes. There is at least one very good reason for that – but it is probably not the one most people would cite. Former US President Donald Trump is not Hitler, and America is not the Weimar Republic. But, as four excellent recent books about the interwar years show, false narratives and craven political choices can have dreadful consequences that may not emerge immediately. Using machines to augment productivity is nothing new.