Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Tagrobotics

Dog looking for drugs in luggage storage

Robot Police Dogs Spark Civil Rights Questions

Boston Dynamics says that its lease agreements require that the robots not be used to “physically harm or intimidate people.”

The civil liberties group’s concerns stem from the fact that there are few or no current legal restrictions on how the robots are to be used.

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hot pizza closeup on a table in the background of a group or company of people friends

Pizza Robots Get the Pink Slip

True, the doughbots didn’t make good pizza. But is the message about them or something else?

I have nothing against robots. (I am against bad pizza.) I do, however, get very tired of the science fiction-fantasy of humanity-squashing robots. And that’s all it is: A fantasy.

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Boeing 777

Boeing’s Sidelined Fuselage Robots: What Went Wrong?

It’s not what we learn, it’s what we forget

By all means, let’s build machines that enhance our abilities. But let’s not forget that the really amazing thing is not the tool, but the tool builder.

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Burnout

Boeing Workers, Please Don’t Kick the Robot on Its Way Out

The jetliner manufacturer’s decision to give the robots’ job back to machinists underlines the hard realities of automation. For example, it doesn’t always work

Robot error turned out to be a bigger problem than human error.

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Orange robots carrying pallets with goods in modern warehouse. Modern delivery center concept. 3D rendering image.
Orange robots carrying pallets with goods in modern warehouse. Modern delivery center concept. 3D rendering image.

They Say the New Delivery Service Is a Robot…

But of course there is a human (many, possibly) in the loop

Why do some PR agencies think it is so important that we forget the fellow human beings who help us, using robotic devices?

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Robotic hand Frank V at Unsplash 740555

New Mind-Controlled Robot Arm Needs No Brain Implant

The thought-controlled device could help people with movement disorders control devices without the costs and risks of surgery

Beyond that, such research raises a philosophical question: If the mind is an illusion, how can it act directly on external things, by the force of decision-making alone?

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Newspaper clippings used in umbrella design

Who’s Afraid of AI that Can Write the News?

AI now automates formula news in business and sports. How far can it go?

Software programs will not have more or better ideas than the people who designed them. As the audience for news, we must decide whether that level of information is all we need to know.

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sad robot
Toy Robot looking at itself in mirror

That Robot Is Not Self-Aware

The way the media cover AI, you'd almost think they had invented being hopelessly naïve
If this is how The Telegraph reports on a robotic arm, can you imagine what it will sound like when we get humanoid robots who seem to carry on conversations? We had best inoculate ourselves now against AI hype from science reporters while most of us still have enough self-awareness to realize what’s going on. Read More ›
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Military Technology and AI

Past, Present, and Future

Technology, including AI, needs protection. Intellectual property of corporations needs protected from espionage. Military technology needs protection from foreign agents. Show Notes 01:10 | Introduction; Daniel M. Ogden, J.D. 02:20 | Technology in the military history 08:00 | WWII technology; Norton Gun Site 12:20 | Banning AI autonomous weapons 16:48 | Slaughterbots 18:13 | Military AI endgame 18:55 | Other Read More ›

Screencap-EPFL-School-of-Engineering

It Takes a Smart Robot to Mimic a Reptile

When researchers built a robot to sprawl like a prehistoric reptile, they were in for a surprise
Orobates’ skeleton was “exquisitely preserved,” which created an excellent opportunity for researchers in paleontology to try to figure out how the lizard-like animal moved. And reverse engineering its movements can tell us a lot about how it lived. Read More ›
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4: Making AI Look More Human Makes It More Human-like!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Technicians can do a lot these days with automated lip-syncs and smiles but what’s behind them?
This summer, some were simply agog over “Sophia, the First Robot Citizen” (“unsettling as it is awe-inspiring”) Read More ›
Little boy playing with robot toy at home.

Consumers Were Not Buying Robots as Friends This Year

The market for drudgery busters remains strong. For dogs and pals, not so much
Some consumer robotics will surely find a place under the Christmas tree. The robotic vacuum cleaner market is healthy and expected to grow, in a world where the demand for vacuum cleaners is growing anyway, doubtless due to more urban lifestyles. Read More ›
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Potted plants from above

That Plant Is Not a Cyborg

Or a robot. The MIT researcher's underlying idea is a good one but let’s not “plant” mistaken ideas
If plants could move around freely, they would move into the most beneficial lighting arrangement. They compensate for their rootedness by growing in the optimum direction and constantly repositioning their leaves. An MIT researcher has helped out a plant by fitting it with electronic sensors attached to robotic wheels. Read More ›
TV presenter preparing to live streaming video

If a Robot Read the News, Would You Notice a Difference?

The Chinese government thinks not. Is this the way of the future?
The robotic news readers of China serve a quite different purpose from the independent news outlets and commentators of the West; the robots help disseminate controlled information rather than finding and developing information. Read More ›
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I, Robot, am gathering dust in the sales room …

Why do robotics experts think that customers will warm to robots because they look like people?
The underlying assumption is surely incorrect. Robots like the Roomba succeed in part because they don’t look or act like people, let alone threaten people. They just do jobs people would prefer not to do or maybe can’t. Read More ›
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People-friendly robots company shuts down

The “cobots,” robots that can work with people, got the pink slip—for now
Robotics is a business like any other. The individual good idea requires a business plan that can survive savage years in the wilderness before the buyout. That said, we certainly haven’t heard the last of the cobot, which may be one of the ideas that make robotics practical for everyday business. Read More ›
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Is the octopus a “second genesis of intelligence”?

Can its strange powers provide insights for robotics or the human mind?
What’s really interesting about these stories is that, while we are learning that there is much intelligence in the animal (and plant) world, including some that can be applied to robotics, very little sheds light on explicitly human intelligence. Read More ›