In a step that will surely be looked at as one of the worst ideas in history, a group of scientists have decided to teach robots how to start using tools. Granted, the machines still have to be programmed with the information on how to use the tools and what they do, but they are starting to teach these monsters problem solving skills. The best part of the story is this, not only are the robots being taught how to use tools—in this instance a cup—they are also being taught how to assemble and dissemble the product into/from its parts. I am sure this will help in the future when they decide that they want to dissemble a human to its base parts.
My theory on this, at the moment, is kind of like how you approach giving a monkey a tool. Sure, we all know that a monkey with a gun/knife is probably going to turn into something that needs to be explained to the police—the question is the rest of the tools. Hammers might seem wise until you think about what they could do with that, mainly since it is a better club then they normally use, and then everything starts to unravel. A tool is only as dangerous as how bad of an own you were to the monkey, and considering the internet I am sure that most of us are better off not giving anything—monkey or robot—any additional means to kill us.
It has been almost fifteen years ago NetZero attempted—and failed— to change the world by providing people with free, ad sponsored internet surfing. In a recent announcement they seem to be trying it again, now offering a wireless (cell service based) dongle that will allow people to connect to the internet for free after purchase. The catch is that the device is 50 dollars, and you only get 200 Megs of data a month—go over that and it is going to be around 50 dollars for up to 4 gigs more of data. The billing seems to be pay as you go, so you are only forced to pay a fee when you run out of data.
It is interesting that if this had been a thing in 2005 it might have stood a chance of turning a profit and making this company have a solid standing again. Considering that most service providers are quickly losing their fight with consumer groups to put bandwidth caps on usage, that most businesses offer free Wi-Fi, and that streaming video now eats up almost the highest tier of usage (and for 50 dollars) this is probably not going to be something that works for most people. The idea of someone who travels enough and needs internet at all times, but isn’t in a populated enough area to have free browsing also probably isn’t going to have cell coverage there either.
It seems like people can’t leave well enough alone. Several days ago we reported that people were enabling robots to outrun man, now people are making them fire proof. In an attempt to, “save human lives,” and, “protect people from danger,” the military is designing—if not putting into production—a robot firefighter. Don’t worry, unlike normal firefighters these robots will not only have axes with the probable strength to put it cleanly through a human skull, but they also come equipped with fire suppression grenades. Because arming our future masters with advanced weaponry is the first step to Skynet. Or Planet of the Apes. I forget which.
It doesn’t seem to be enough that they are making these robots and giving them all of the means to destroy us. If they make it fireproof it can sit and watch as we all slowly burn to death. Oh, don’t worry, they are programming it basic with gesture understanding. That means that while you are suffering through your death it will know that you are trying to tell it how much pain you are in. Apparently they are all going to have, “masters” that they follow to help put out fires. I am sure that none of that could ever backfire. Thankfully they only have 30 minutes of power, so if we can outlast them and hide the power sockets we might be able to make it through.