.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Big Dog

I would vote Big Dog as 'most likely to succeed', if there were a competition for fielded, ground robots. I would also love to work on that sensor head.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Transformers, groovin'

I would like to see more dancing robots.

Service robots

Japanese robot to chat lonely elderly out of senility

She doesn't look that old ;)

This makes a great deal of sense, except that you might want to include interaction with other lonely elderly people. That would probably be easier than making the bot smart enough to talk anyway.

A project related to this, from CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute by Abigail Travis, can be found here. Scroll down to "Interface, interaction, and concept design for BingBot, a game-playing robot for the elderly."

Wired on Military Robots

Interesting article. Particularly interesting is reference to the now weaponized TALON robots by Foster Miller. I would love to see more and more dangerous duties normally assigned to humans going to robots. Also, from the corporate site: "'Time' Magazine Recognizes Weaponized TALON Robot as one of the 'Most Amazing Inventions of 2004'". I think that makes sense, as long as the bot is useful. Tele-operation is very hard to make intuitive, so I find it hard to believe this current form of bot could replace ground troops, but it will help. Then again, video-games are ripe with dexterous tele-operation, but that might fit the saying "simulation is doomed to succeed".

On a side note, it is quite annoying the way an article about any robot that is for the military makes a reference to 'Terminator', and any robot for productivity gains yields an article mentioning unemployment. Recently the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, wrote about dealing with a robot to take care of his phone service. I would call it an 'AI' not a 'robot' because it isn't physically instantiated, but he makes the point related to unemployment:
Efficiency. Although, as I mentioned above, a dull job was lost to the robot, I got to spend more time at my money-making job (writing a column for the Wall Street Journal, as it happens, though not on outsourcing, which would have been just too much of a coincidence) instead of waiting on hold. My wife, who uses the fax for her business, was able to send bills out to clients. And, overall, the sand-in-the-gears effect of dealing with customer service was reduced. Writ large, this kind of efficiency may well produce more new jobs in the aggregate than the automation replaces, though I don't know how you'd determine that. But it probably bears thinking about, because of the next point. We're going to see a lot more of this.