Legendary electronic pop duo Daft Punk split ways two years ago after decades of collaboration and are esteemed as pioneers in the creative ways they infused their music with cutting edge sonic technology. However, in a recent interview, ex-member Thomas Bangalter said that artificial intelligence contributed in part to the band’s separation. Per a report from Futurism, Bangalter said, We tried to use these machines to express something extremely moving that a machine cannot feel, but a human can. We were always on the side of humanity and not on the side of technology. -NOOR AL-SIBAI, Daft Punk Says They Broke Up Partially Over Fear of AI (futurism.com) The pop duo notoriously dressed up in robotic garb during their musical Read More ›
Riffing on the popular fascination with AI (artificial intelligence) systems ChatGPT and Bing Chat, two authors in the Los Angeles Times recently declared: We are approaching an era of legitimate dispute about whether the most advanced AI systems have real desires and emotions and deserve substantial care and solicitude. The authors, Prof. Eric Schwitzgebel at UC Riverside, and Henry Shevlin, a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge, observed AI thinkers saying “large neural networks” might be “conscious,” the sophisticated chatbot LaMDA “might have real emotions,” and ordinary human users reportedly “falling in love” with chatbot Replika. Reportedly, “some leading theorists contend that we already have the core technological ingredients for conscious machines.” The authors argue that if or when Read More ›
This is the last in a series. Read Part I, Part II – “Moving PIxels“, and Part III -“Talking Boxes“. The greatest aspiration of artificial intelligence Frankensteins is stitching together all the sundry parts into a moving, talking, seeing, and interacting android. Today, this composite of technologies is most famously embodied in Sophia. This android from Hanson Robotics is an international “celebrity”, appearing on late night shows and on the exhibit floors of tech conferences. With how many things are we on the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein On its marketing page, Sophia’s marketing department puts the following words in its mouth, as though it has a sense of self Read More ›
Robert J. Marks and his book The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI were mentioned in a Fortune Magazine article by Jacob Carpenter, which discussed the issue of robotic and AI-controlled weapons in police and military forces. Marks was interviewed for the article and his phrase “in the end, it comes down to the ethics” was also featured in the article’s title. The article weighs different perspectives on weaponized AI and whether this is the direction the country is headed in the future. Marks notes the parallels with the gun rights issue in the debate over weaponized robots. The issue will inevitably extend to the question of AI deploying firearms, not just Read More ›
The Pentagon has updated its policy on the use of artificially intelligent autonomous weapons. Autonomous means the weapon can operate on its own without human oversight. As unpacked in my book, The Case for Killer Robots, technology wins wars and gives pause to potentially dangerous adversaries. This includes autonomous AI systems currently under development in the US, China and elsewhere. When there is an option, a human should be given oversight of the AI to avoid unexpected contingencies. But this is not always wise when (1) autonomy gives an overwhelming strategic advantage, (2) communication with remote AI is unwise or not possible, and (3) when events unfold faster than a human can respond. Imagine, for example, being attacked by a large swarm of armed drones. Read More ›
Boston Dynamics is a robotics innovation company that has been best known for “converting capital into viral YouTube videos.” Their first sensation was over a decade ago, when they released the legendary breakthrough “Big Dog” robot video. What was unique about the robot dog was its ability to traverse a diverse array of terrain. Additionally, as can be seen in the video, it even handled sudden impacts well. Boston Dynamics continued to develop these multi-terrain walkers, coming up with a more humanoid design with “Pet Man.” While Boston Dynamics’ robots have long been an area of research and development, they have recently been put to work. The current incarnation, known as “Spot,” is currently being outfitted for doing what it Read More ›
“Roy” at DUST (July 23, 2021, 7:44 min) Roy is a sci-fi drama short film about a robot mechanic holed away in a rundown barn, living in a world of rustic antiques melded with futuristic sensibilities. He is a man forgotten by society and spends his days tinkering at projects. That is until someone opens the door into his shop. Roy is a story about compassion in the face of those affected by violence and despair. It explores the themes of how we relate to strangers and friends around us who have become bitter and jaded by the world. Roy poses this question: how do we face those transformed by violence and angry at the world? Review: This film won Read More ›
Boston Dynamics is a cutting-edge robotics company that’s spent decades behind closed doors making robots that move in ways we’ve only seen in science fiction films. They occasionally release videos on YouTube of their life-like machines spinning, somersaulting or sprinting, which are greeted with fascination and fear. We’ve been trying, without any luck, to get into Boston Dynamics’ workshop for years, and a few weeks ago they finally agreed to let us in. After working out strict COVID protocols, we went to Massachusetts to see how they make robots do the unimaginable. From the outside, Boston Dynamics headquarters looks pretty normal. Inside, however. it’s anything but. If Willy Wonka made robots, his workshop might look something like this. There are Read More ›
“System Error” at DUST by Matt Vesely/ Closer Productions (March 11, 2021, 13:12): From the director’s notes: More About “System Error”: Every day, George works his job at a dingy convenience store, desperately hoping for a friend – but George is also an immobile robotic service unit, and immobile robotic service units do not have friends. When human customer Sid tries to tell George a joke, the simple robot is baffled. So, he sets about editing his code to learn how to laugh… Review: It’s 54 years after an alien invasion and the world is dominated by advanced robotic technology. Everything seems run by robots, including a local convenience store in Australia where everything is under the control of a Read More ›
Recently, an article in Neuroscience News made some confusing claims, especially the claim that robots can have experiences in the same sense as living entities can. Let’s look at some of them: In an article from HSE University in Russia about about developing robotic intelligence based on the human brain, we read: Today, neuroscience and robotics are developing hand in hand. Mikhail Lebedev, Academic Supervisor at HSE University’s Centre for Bioelectric Interfaces, spoke about how studying the brain inspires the development of robots. HSE University, “How Modern Robots Are Developed” at Neuroscience News February 3, 2021 One identified goal is to merge “biological organisms with machines, to create cybernetic organisms (cyborgs).” Given that the human brain does not really behave Read More ›
In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks hosted Denise Simon, an intelligence analyst, talking about the way hostile foreign powers can use AI to generate false information. Denise Simon discusses both deepfake attacks—and some much more sinister ones. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-119-Denise-Simon.mp3 A partial transcript follows. This portion begins at about 17:50. Show notes and links follow. Denise Simon: That [the Maskirovka Technique of deception and deepfakes] is another component of how we try to decipher what’s real coming out of the Kremlin and what isn’t real. And even if it isn’t real, what consequences it has on influence and activities. Robert J. Marks: One of the things that Russia is invested in is artificial intelligence. Vladimir Putin has Read More ›
Cobots are robots designed to be friendly to people. But some doubt that friendship will work: It can be tempting to think of risk as an either/or situation — either your application is safe or it isn’t. In reality, risk is a sliding scale and you can never get rid of all risks completely. You can only know the true risk of a particular task by performing an adequate risk assessment. You need to do this whether the robot is collaborative or not. Truth: cobot safety can be changed to suit task performance The reality is that cobots have always been high-performance robots suitable for a range of industrial applications. Instead of being lesser robots, as some people mistakenly believe, Read More ›
In some ways, it’s an odd question. Many of us would think of a robot as the opposite of bias. But the reality is that, because everything the robot is and does is a consequence of human actions, a robot could in fact be very biased. How will we know? Some AI developers are attempting to deal with this question: Last summer, hundreds of A.I. and robotics researchers signed statements committing themselves to changing the way their fields work. One statement, from the organization Black in Computing, sounded an alarm that “the technologies we help create to benefit society are also disrupting Black communities through the proliferation of racial profiling.” Another manifesto, “No Justice, No Robots,” commits its signers to Read More ›
Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks has been interviewing fellow computer nerds (our Brain Trust) Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway about 12 overhyped AI concepts of the year. Lots of stuff happened and it’s the time of year for fun and entertainment! So here’s #9: Erica the Robot, from Japan, is to star in a film (filming begins in 2021): #9 starts at about 16:58 A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. A link to the complete transcript follows the Additional Resources. Robert J. Marks: Okay. We are counting down the Dirty Dozen hyped AI stories of 2020, and we’re at #9. In June 2020 in The Hollywood Reporter, we learned of the robot in the Read More ›
According to analysts, robotic devices are becoming more popular for a reason few would have guessed earlier; they reduce the need for physical human contact. Recycling, however, has taken a hit and weaning consumers from disposables post-COVID may prove a challenge. Huge firms are riding the storm, however, and Gen Z is spending the lockdown improving its career chances. Meanwhile, consumers surveyed around the globe say they plan to travel less.
The quest is a curious blend of forlorn hope fueled by half-acknowledged hype and resolute denial of the most serious problems. Also by sometimes systematic confusion as to what, precisely, we are talking about.