If you’re familiar with sci-fi anthology series called Black Mirror, you might think of one of the episodes from the 5th season titled “Metalhead”. Apparently, it’s not a fiction anymore, it’s our today’s reality.
The robot dog named Spot is an invention that Boston Dynamics started first developing out of MIT. According to the state’s nonprofit branch called American Civil Libertie Union, these robots are now working with the Massachusetts State Police’s bomb squad.
The ACLU accessed a memo of agreement document between the state and Boston Dynamics through a public records request.
The request letter that the organization wrote in the records is the following: “The ACLU is interested in this subject and seeks to learn more about how your agency uses or has contemplated using robotics.”.
The ACLU collected all the valuable information about the new partnership, including that Boston Dynamics leased the Spot robot dog to the police force for 90 days between August and November. Because there is no detailed information revealed for a public eye, we don’t know how they are exactly using these machines. The only information that a state police spokesman David Procopio provided about Spot is: “for the purpose of evaluating the robot’s capabilities in law enforcement applications, particularly remote inspection of potentially dangerous environments.”.
Michael Perry, Boston Dynamics vice president of business development stated, that the company is aiming to make Spot useful for different areas like oil and gas companies, constructions or entertainment.
Perry said he anticipates, that the police is using Spot by sending it into areas that are too dangerous for human being.
The abovementioned robot dogs are constructed for a general-purpose. They have an open application programming interface, which means, a warehouse operator or in this case, a police department can customize them with their own software. From what we can read on the internet, State police claims they didn’t use that feature yet.
Even though, Perry claims the robot won’t be used in the way that would harm or intimidate people, the ACLU, as well as the internet community, are worried about the situation. Currently, the major issue is the lack of transparency in the overall robotics program.
There are various conspiracy theories made by netizens. They mostly predict worst-case scenarios.
The question is whether this invention is safe for the human race. But let’s face the truth. Everything could be dangerous if used in the wrong way. If people working on these machines will program the algorithm allowing them to shoot to people, they’ll follow the order.
Personally, I’m amazed and don’t really know which adjective to use other than “amazing” in this case. I applaud Boston Dynamics for creating the algorithms of their breathtaking machines.
MIT is worldwide known for its robotics research. In the past, they managed to create a robot breaking the world record in solving a Rubik’s Cube in only 0.38 seconds, the first four-legged robot to do a backflip, etc.
Sounds impressive, but with their newest development, they can’t just look cool, but it can be used in many ways and bring the robots on to the next level of productivity.
Picking up objects and flipping them around is easy for people. We do it every day, e.g., when we are trying to take notes at University, work, or at home. We pick up the pen and bring it into the right position and start writing. The same scenario is when we are eating a sandwich: We move it a little bit to bite from the other corner.
For our robot friends, however, it is tough to pick up things without either dropping them or destroying them and then to add the factor of turning the object they just mastered to hold? It sounds like a difficult task.
Therefore it took robots a long time to plan and calculate all the factors like geometry, friction, all the possibilities of how the object can be turned, etc. This whole process took tens of minutes previously, which sounds still impressive, bearing in mind that if we measured and calculate these numbers, we would sit there for hours and probably still fail.
MIT mastered to bring down the planning time of the robot to less than a second.
How is that possible? The robot is pushing the object against a stationary surface and slides its claw down the object until it has it in the right position.
For the future, this can mean that instead of a specialized tool like a screwdriver, machines would have more something like a hand, giving them the ability to pick up different kinds of tools and do various tasks.
This improvement would most likely save the companies space and also money since, for multiple steps, they would need one robot.
This is another case were thinking out of the box, by simply using the surroundings, has a huge effect.
Amazon Scout is a fully-electric robot that uses autonomous devices to safely deliver goods to the customers.
After many hours of development in Seattle, Amazon has finally decided to let their robots to the tasks they were designed for. Initially, only 6 robots have been released now and all of them are in Washington state, Snohomish County. They will deliver packages Monday through Friday in daylight hours. While traveling through the County’s pavements, the robots can avoid human, pets or other objects on the way, but at the initial release which took place at Wednesday – Amazon said that the robots will be accompanied by an Amazon employee.
This is how the process is supposed to look like.
As you can see the robot is fairly big. My main concern is security. What could be stopping a potential robber from just straight up coming up and stealing the whole robot or when the lid opens taking out the package and running off. The idea is great, but somehow seems to have many holes that could be exploited. Those questions aren’t answered yet, but Amazon is looking at it pretty optimistically.
We are happy to welcome Amazon Scout to our growing suite of innovative delivery solutions for customers and look forward to taking the learnings from this first neighborhood so Amazon Scout can, over time, provide even more sustainability and convenience to customer deliveries.
Looks like they are equipped with proper tools and a plan. It is very exciting to see new autonomous devices helping people like this robot or Amazon’s drones. Questions will arise:
Is it likely for robots like this to take jobs away from people, leading to more unemployment?
And when will the technology leave the US and make it to Poland?
Have you ever heard “No!” from your parents when asking for a pet? Are you having a busy life and cannot afford spending enough time with a pet? Do you feel lonely in your apartment with no fluffy tale? Qoobo can be a solution for you.
According to Engadget, at CEATEC, the Japanese company called “Yukai Engineering” unveiled its latest wacky product, the Qoobo “tail therapy” robot. This is essentially a cushion with a realistic cat tail that reacts to stroking and patting, such that it’s able to comfort its “owner” like a real pet would simply through tail wagging.
According to creators of Qoobo, it is a robotic pillow with a tail intended to provide a sense of comfort to users. When caressed, it waves gently. When rubbed, it swings playfully. And, it occasionally wags just to say hello. Qoobo was designed for communication that warms your heart the way animals do. “Through trial and error, we developed a mechanism that closely mimics the flexible and elegant movements of an animal. We selected different materials for various parts of the robot to enhance the movements and the tail’s appearance. We also made it durable to allow for use in various environments” – say Yukai Engineering.
The story of Qoobo is very ordinary: the idea of the pillow originates from one of Yukai Engineering’s employees. The designer had a cat, but since the apartment she moved into didn’t allow pets, she had to leave her cat with her parents. This inspired her to come up with a lifelike pet substitute that would make her feel better whenever she thought of her cat.
According to The Verge, Qoobo is expected to cost around $100 when it launches in June 2018. Like with its adorable Bocco robot that was delivered with Kickstarter, the company is hoping to launch Qoobo with the help of a crowdfunding platform too. It’ll have an eight-hour battery life with USB charging, and will come in two colors: Husky gray and French brown.
Now you can back Qoobo at the page of the project at Kickstarter platform, and starting from $83 you can order a pillow and expect the delivery by June 2018.
People, who have already “touched” Qoobo say, that they were surprised by how realistic the tail moved, especially with how its wagging intensity increased as they petted it harder. Interestingly, the stroking detection is mostly done with just one accelerometer inside the body, according to CEO Shunsuke Aoki. He added that despite the cat-like appearance, the realistic tail movement is actually based on research on both cat and dog behavior.
Being a former dog owner, I must say, that I hardly imagine how a pillow can replace a real pet. But it looks like robots never die, unlike our pets…
She talks, she smiles, she communicates with you. She is almost alive and might be a human, soon. Or isn’t she?
We live in the times, when technology is developing in the fastest way than we ever observed through the history. It is hard to realize, but more than half of our daily routines are already somehow improved by technology advancements. In fact, robots and artificial intelligence are already easing our lives. Moreover, it is time to face that the further changes are inevitable and sooner or later such technologies might become an integral part of our society.
The latest change has occurred to be an explosion in social media and almost every news source, when a new robot was introduced by Hanson Robotics. Her or its name is Sophia and she already has shocked everyone, who has ever heard about her. According to Hanson Robotics website, this newly emerged robot is created to assist people in daily life like help the children study, entertain people, provide companionship and serve people in general.
But what is so special about her?
It seems to be the most advanced robot that is created to have human-like appearance and have several features of the human character and abilities.
However, she is not a human. Sophia is a robot, powered by AI. While being extremely similar to people and having so close to us expressions and mimics, Sophia is still having hundreds of cords, wires and is operating due to specific program. In fact, this program makes her so special. According to Quartz Media, Sophia’s software is composed of three main pillars:
Research platform – to research and cumulate the context and semantics of the dialogues
Speech-reciting robot – due to this software, Sophia is able to match her facial expressions to the context of the words that she is saying
Robotic chatbot – sometimes Sophia’s speech is run by pre-written responses, chosen due to analysis of the speech of the people that she is talking to
In fact, Sophia is built in such a way to use a machine learning to educate herself and to become a more consistent companion in the dialogue.
The other factor that makes Sophia outstand from other AI based creatures is that Sophia operates due to decentralized AI, specifically SingularityNET. According to Forbes, “Until recently, the contemporary AI industry had been built around a centralized distribution paradigm where machine learning solutions are delivered as a part of cloud-based APIs and software packages deployed on remote servers of AI providers”. This means that the data and information provided to the machine learning had been stored and created straightly at the providers of this information. However, now, as well as Sophia, the information can be cumulated from various sources, which would allow AI to be trained in decentralized way, like a blockchain.
Nevertheless, the event that made Sophia so popular and unpopular at the same time is that she is the first robot, who received the citizenship. The country that was ready to adapt such changes is Saudi Arabia. As a result, this event has caused a lot of noise around Sophia. According to The Verge, many people complained about the rights that might be further given to the robots, especially in such countries where even the rights of a human are at the critical debate. Moreover, it has caused a huge discussion upon the ethical issues and the technological advancements of the near future.
In fact, this has become the first step to introduce completely new technologies to the society and to allow such technologies to live and act among people and with people.
Who has never dreamt about having a cinema room at home? Or about listening to music without bringing the speaker wherever you go? And what about falling asleep under a “sky full of stars” inside your bedroom? In addition, are you fed up with all the cables of your TV screen connected to all the devices? This 38-centimeter tall egg-shaped globe isn’t a dog but can follow you as a dog. Moreover, this strange robot is the solution to the desires and problems mentioned above.
Keecker is a multifunctional robot designed by a former French Google employee, Pierre Labeau – he was one of the developers of Google Analytics. Instead of being a pet robot, this breakthrough device can be used in several ways:
Thanks to its 360° camera placed at the top of the robot, Keecker could be used as a security device when you’re not at home. You can always have an eye on what is happening at home when you’re at work, when you’re travelling, …
Keecker also includes an adaptable videoprojector. Thanks to its connectivity with a wide range of electronic devices, you can watch your YouTube videos or your favorite movies at home as if you were at the cinema. Another amazing feature of this device is that the LED projector can be used on any surface and oriented by 90°: it is now possible to project your content on the ceiling. Amazing, right? Moreover, by combining the camera and the projector, you could make live videoconference with your co-workers or family for example.
In order to make the cinema experience at home complete, the robot comprises a 4.1 audio system. This means that there are 4 speakers of 10 watts in addition to a 50 watts subwoofer, which can produce up to 117 decibels – tell your neighbors when you’re using it, because it’s equivalent to a concert or a plane! This robot can also wake you up at the right time by playing your favourite music.
This robot is able to move around in the whole house thanks to wheels located below the subwoofer. In order to not hit obstacles, Keecker has a lot of sensors around its “body” and has a 5-megapixel front camera and a 3D depth sensing camera in addition to the 360° 13-megapixel fisheye camera, which helps its “brain” to memorise and map your house. You won’t have to move the TV screen with all the cables from the living room to your bedroom anymore to resume your video game or your movie.
Concerning the battery life, the lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 300Wh, enough to power Keecker for:
6 hours at full use (with projection, sound and movement)
3 days of non-stop music (with sound only, no projection)
7 days of surveillance in patrol mode (depending on the size of the house)
In addition, Keecker is autonomous and smart enough to go back to its charging station when it feels that it needs energy. The only thing you have to do is to show Keecker – during the setup – where its charging base is in the house and the robot will memorise the location.
Regarding to the connectivity of this device, Keecker works with Wi-Fi network and with Bluetooth. Keecker has its own operating systems – Keecker OS1 – which is based on Android 7 TV (Nougat) operating system – and works under a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. This OS allows Keecker to download videos in its hard drive or to stream live videos.
You can use your smartphone as a remote control thanks to an app available both on the Apple Store and on the Google Play Store (supported OS: iOS 10 and up, Android 5 and up). There are 3 ways to give orders to Keecker:
Carrying it – he only weights 8 kilograms
Control it with your index finger through the mobile phone application
Giving it an spoken instruction – Keecker is equipped with a voice recognition system
If you prefer using your computer instead of your smartphone, there is a remote-control web application for all PC, Mac, Windows Phone or other browsers (Linux, …).
Keecker has a 3GB RAM and is available in two versions of flash memory: 32GB or 160 GB storage capacity. Thanks to its operating system, you can interact with Keecker just by saying “Hey Keecker” – like “Ok Google” for Android devices or “Say Siri” for Apple devices. Keecker also includes other features, like:
A humidity sensor
An ambient light detector
To get one of these outstanding robots, you’ll have to spend minimum 1790€ (for the 32-gigabyte version). The 160-gigabyte version is worth 1990€. The number of robots is limited, so don’t hesitate to order yours as soon as possible (if you’re obviously interested in it and if you can afford it). I might probably get one of these robot later because Keecker is like a gathering of every connect object we might have at home.
In my opinion, it has always been a dream to have a cinema room in my future home. This robot will completely change the experience of teleworking from home, of listening to music and of watching to TV/movies. Thanks to it, instead of sitting on an awkward chair at your desk, you could have videoconferences comfortably sit in your sofa, without bringing all the stuff (webcam, computer, …) into the room where you want to move. I think this device could be useful for a lot of things, like projecting a nursery rhyme or listening to a fairy tale for kids going to sleep, looking at your virtual coach while doing yoga or searching for a tutorial on YouTube while cooking without having to wash your hands (thanks to the voice recognition feature). The only bad thing is that this device isn’t available to everybody due to its limited quantity and its price. But, maybe, after several months, the company will grow and produce more robots with probably more features. But, nevertheless, this is a great beginning.
If you want more info, check these websites and articles:
The world full of robots seems to be really tempting. To be honest when I was a child I loved animated sitcom The Jetsons about the family which lived in futuristic utopia where everything was robotized – even their maid! Next example – Fururama – series about shameless, cigarette-smoker and alcohol drinker robot – Bender – that becomes a best friend of a pizza delivery boy in 31st century. But it’s all about cartoons so far. Let’s get to the more subtle examples. Remember the movie Artificial Intelligence: AI in which Haley Joel Osment was playing a robo-child that was replacing seriously ill real one? THAT WAS SCARY. At least for me the thought that we can freeze our sick children and then replace it by the robot-one was unbeliveble – even if its the most realistic one. But then I started to think that I might be an exception.
Anatomy of a sex-bot
Nowadays we are surrounded by high-tech equipment. Our smartphones are so smart that they can predict where are we going, what we would like to do on Sunday’s evening and when we should stand after a proper amount of time spent on sitting by the desk. Also producers are not sleeping. They want technology to be as closer to the user as it’s possible. Robots are humanized, software becomes more and more intelligent so why wouldn’t they combine it together to create something next level? There are robotic soccer matches and in a few years there would be a robo olympic games. We are heading into the times of developing very advanced technology and getting so familiar with it that actually sex with robots won’t sound so wierd at all.
Guess which industry contributes most significantly to the developing of technology? Yup, you’re right – the porn industry. It started with popularizing Blue-ray standard and automatic subtittle generation (e.g.: like on youtube). Now boobs are in 3D, VR-sex is avalible where you can change partners, places or even your gender and last but not least – robots. Porn industry gave us more than we think and robo-sex is the future.
Vision of future prostitures in “AI: Artificial Intelligence”
Coming back to AI movie – remember the character played by Jude Law? – that sexy-robo-man-prostitute which was just like human? Of course it was a Hollywood fiction but we are now closer to this vision than you think. The most human-look alike robots were created for being a.. sex toys. They’re called fembots and their creator is called modern-Gepetto (by the name of Pinocchio creator). It is said that by the 2020 sexbots will be common and by the 2050 they will be using AI and be able to make humans loving them (doesn’t it remind you the movie Her? – I don’t like the whole vision and Scarlet Johansson in general, but if intelligent computer systems had her voice…).
You think that’s crazy? People already confuse reality with its virtual substitute so it’s getting more and more real. But think about the moral aspects of this. Well first of all would it be still cheating? I guess new definition must be set. Human relations or relationships? Would anyone be still interested into looking for their „other half”? What for when you can marry your intelligent sex-bot that satisfies all your desires?
Is that how future romance/relationship will look like?
The thing is that sex-bot to be fully functional must have AI to work – to analyze what its user wants, how to please him, when to start/stop or raise the tempo. This sphere of humans is really delicate and must be „serviced” very gently – this is why they need AI. But (also basing on the movie fiction) it may have a pretty bad consequences. I don’t want to bring Terminatorsaga or Matrix one example of human extermination attempt cause they are slightly too drastic but think about movie Chappie. Some guy created a robot with mentality of a child which started to learn/grow among humans and in a very short period of time it became a criminal (of course by a series of unfortunate accidents but still..). It might be too hard to control. But should we control them? I mean we, as human beings, know that there are social rules and laws that we need to obey but as concious creatures we can ignore that and do what we want. Of course it results in possibility to be improsined but we have a choice. Should robots with AI have the same option? Also in Chappie there was another problem – should we treat once launched intelligent machines as a human beings or as a technical equipment like a vacuum cleaner for example? I think THIS is a real problem of a research about AI. We need to think about the problem of responsability of creating such beings because soonly cutting off the power may be treated as murder and in my opinion this is something that humans are not ready yet to handle.