Thanks DARPA, every now and then I think that I might be able to go to sleep at night without dreaming about BigDog busting through the walls of my house and jumping on me until I am a fine enough paste to be its biofuel. Now I also get to enjoy the knowledge that whatever insane rounds it might be packing it no longer needs to aim at me, as the bullet itself will manage to find the target. I am assuming that it still needs to fire in the same general direction as me, but considering that it doesn’t have the disadvantage of not being a machine built for only killing me it probably already has that issue sorted.
Real talk time; do I need to stop worrying about the robot revolution and start worrying about a bullet revolt? If I go hunting am I going to have to worry if I insulted my ammunitions family before I attempt to slay Bambi’s mother? Maybe I have been thinking about this wrong the entire time, and the enemy I should have been worrying about isn’t the thing that is replacing man, but man making the weapons smart enough to kill without us. A bullet that can aim itself is just a step aware from firing, and that happens all the time, according to random police reports.
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.
Patrons of the Tokyo hair salon, Super Hair Seo will be among the first to try out Panasonic’s new “Head Care Robot.” Developed for use by the elderly and the disabled, Panasonic claims this machine provides a more relaxing hair washing experience than even a human can provide. The robot uses 24 “fingers” to massage the scalp and work up a lather during the cleaning cycle.
The robot first scans the user’s head, then washes and rinses the scalp while massaging it. The robot then finishes with a conditioner and will even blow-dry your hair, while the machine continues to massage your scalp. Panasonic hopes to produce a commercial version of the machine once it has gone through its trials.
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.
A Boston company recently completed a prototype robot called “Cheetah” that can reach speeds of 18MPH. This new robot breaks the previous record set by MIT in 1989, at only 13.1MPH. This prototype was built by Boston Dynamics, with funding from DARPA’s “Maximum Mobility and Manipulation” program.
The Cheetah is the latest in a series of robot prototypes from Boston Dynamics, Including “Big Dog” and “Petman”. These machines are built for potential military purposes and research, ranging from search and rescue to equipment hauling. Boston Dynamics is hoping to have a version of Cheetah that can operate outdoors later this year.