Sep 272017
 

Robot holding human skullFrom Vienna Bienalle 2017, taking place this week in Austria, comes a new take on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.  The head of the project, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, says the update was necessitated by:

…the need for benign intelligent robots and the necessity of cultivating a culture of quality committed to serving the common good!

That sounds a lot like Asimov’s reasoning, but the new laws are certainly worthy of consideration and debate.

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Jun 092017
 

Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, the MIT spin-off and self-proclaimed maker of “nightmare-inducing robots“, has been sold by its parent company Alphabet (aka Google) to the Japanese tech behemoth SoftBank. No specifics regarding the price or the terms of the sale have been announced which is not surprising given we still don’t know how much Google paid for the company when it purchased it four years ago.

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Nov 282016
 

Minority Report

Set 38 years in the future, the plot of 2002’s blockbuster film Minority Report revolves around Washington DC’s PreCrime unit, a police force who able to stop future murders from happening with the aid of three mutant human who are able to predict homicides before they happen.  Minority Report managed to side step the “psychic predicts a murder” cliché storyline with its innovative use of technology: not only could precogs predict future murders, but their visions could be streamed via a neural bridge in the form of a video that the police officers could watch. Fantastical? Nope, and researchers from MIT already have a jump on the technology.

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Jul 052016
 

Sharper Image camera drone

I visit the local Michaels store at least once a week. Even if I didn’t have a 10 year old daughter with an insatiable appetite for arts and crafts, I imagine that I would still make that 5 minute crosstown trip weekly. The reason is simple: coupons. In their weekly circular, without fail, they always include a handful of coupons, and even though I am not that artsy crafty myself, I can usually find something useful for my lab. From resin and epoxy to tools and storage, I never come home empty-handed. Most of the time the coupon is for 40% off any regularly priced item, and sometimes it’s even 50%, but the rare, and often most useful coupon is the 20% off any item – regular OR sale price. It was because of such a coupon that I came unexpectedly home with a Sharper Image camera drone.

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Jun 272016
 
Google Research Logo

Research at Google

Ever since their introduction over eighty years ago, Isaac Asimov‘s Three Laws of Robotics have been the de jure rules governing the acceptable behavior of robots. Even the uninitiated and uninterested are likely to say they know of them, even if they can’t recite a single rule verbatim. When conceived, the Three Laws were nothing but a thought experiment wrapped in a science fiction story, but now, the dizzying pace of developments in the fields of robotics and ai has spurred engineers and ethicists to reinvestigate and rewrite the guidelines by which artificially intelligent entities should operate.  Who better to take the lead in this initiative than Google, the company who just yesterday announced that machine learning will be at the core of everything it does.

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Mar 102016
 

neural network

Modeled after observed biology and behavior within the brain, neural networks are arguably the most popular of the biologically inspired AI methods. Neural networks excel at pattern recognition and classification tasks including facial, speech, and handwriting recognition. They also often play a central role in video game character AI.
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Jan 022016
 
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach Book Cover Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach
Stuart Jonathan Russell, Peter Norvig,
Computers
Prentice Hall
2010
1132

Artificial intelligence: A Modern Approach, 3e,is ideal for one or two-semester, undergraduate or graduate-level courses in Artificial Intelligence. It is also a valuable resource for computer professionals, linguists, and cognitive scientists interested in artificial intelligence. The revision of this best-selling text offers the most comprehensive, up-to-date introduction to the theory and practice of artificial intelligence.

Jul 122015
 

Vex Starter Kit Components in the BoxThis post is a throwback to March, 2006 when I purchased the original Vex Robotics Design System v0.5. I had originally posted these pictures and their respective comments on Flickr.

I had forgotten all about them when I happened to stumble upon them today. Although I think I was more surprised to find that Flickr was still a thing. Either way, I think they belong here. I’m still using this kit so maybe soon I’ll post some of the things I have done with it.

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Apr 212015
 

RadioShack Clearance ItemsAfter RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the store in town and the few others nearby were among the lucky 1,740 of 4,000 nationwide chosen to live on, albeit as Sprint-RadioShack hybrid stores.

Say what you will about RadioShack’s business missteps over the last few decades, but I was happy for these stores. RadioShack’s employees often find themselves the butt of jokes and scorn regarding corporate decisions out of their control, but to a person, every employee that I’ve dealt with has been helpful, knowledgable, and sincere. I was glad that they would be keeping their jobs. Continue reading »

Mar 292006
 
TomCat Robot Cat

credit: Alegrobot, Inc.

Still looking to fill the void left since Sony surreptitiously put down their robot dog Aibo, I am always excited to read about any new robotic animals under development. The Raw Feed is reporting today that Illinois-based robotic research group Iguana Robotics Inc. has created TomCat, a headless robot cat whose lack of visual aesthetics is more than made up for by its performance. TomCat is available for purchase through Alegrobot, Inc., the retail corollary of Iguana, for $2750 USD.

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