I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT OVERLORDS: Don’t fear the robo-apocalypse, yet.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW
JELLYFISH ROBOT OVERLORDS: Jellyfish ‘RoboCop’ will help save the world’s oceans by patrolling US waters like an aquatic spy.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT HONEY-MAKERS: Coming in 2015: Electronic Bee Brains Uploaded into Robot Insects Interestingly, my sons immediately remembered a Disney comic where Gyro Gearloose creates robot bees. I feel more confident in my pre-k educational strategy which for years consisted of buying them comics so I had a couple of hours a day to work in peace.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT SHRINKS: Smartphone Apps Become Surrogate Therapists.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT EMPLOYEES: New Wave of Deft Robots Is Changing Global Industry.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
If you choose to post please do it anonymously
In talking with many businessmen around the world I hear a common theme:
One of the major drivers of automation is workers’ comp claims, sick leave, sexual harassment suits, and all the myriad headaches that come with hiring anyone. Unions have brought so many demands for workers it is far simpler to avoid hiring anyone whenever possible. Many companies go to extreme lengths to avoid hiring more workers.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT GUIDANCE COUNSELORS. “A small number of schools around the country—the University of Arizona and Austin Peay State University in Tennessee being most prominent among them—are now experimenting with new ways to use data mining to help track the performance of their students and guide them towards the majors and courses that suit them best. Although the two systems use slightly different methods and technology, the core principle is the same: by tracking students’ grades, course history, and use of online learning materials, a computer can determine when a student is in danger of falling behind and suggest steps to get him or her back on track. The hope is that this will decrease the number of students who drop out or spend additional years in college because of a switch in majors.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new robot teachers. Well, unless they start teaching law. That would be totally wrong, and probably a violation of international human rights or something.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT WORKFORCE: Foxconn To Automate: Be Careful What You Wish For. “These robots are being used at Foxconn for the same reason that self-service checkout counters are being used in supermarkets, for the same reason that self-service yoghurt shops proliferate. The change in relative prices between labour and machines means the machines are being used in place of the people. Those who have been agitating for higher wages can pat themselves on the back for those who keep their jobs will indeed be getting higher wages. But there will be fewer of them as a result. Manufacturing jobs, minimum wage jobs, service jobs, whatever, the result is always the same: raise the price of labour and more automation will happen.”
Some related thoughts of mine are here.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT KILLER OVERLORDS: The Future Belongs To Drones. “Some military strategists already think that the job the F-35 is meant to do can be better handled by cruise missiles and remotely piloted drones. In many roles, unmanned planes are more efficient: they carry neither a bulky pilot nor the kit that keeps him alive, which means they can both turn faster and be stealthier. And if they are shot down, no one dies. Even the F-35’s champions concede that it will probably be the last manned strike fighter aircraft the West will build.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOTIC OVERLORDS’ MESSAGING: And it turns out the message is … GRITS (Georgia Robotics and Intelligent Systems). ”A masters student at Georgia Tech University has created a system that allows a group of robots to move into formations without communicating with the other robots it is forming shapes with. The robots have no predefined memory or prior knowledge of their location.” (The video at the link is quick fun.) (Before I get deluged with emails, read the story to see that it does require inputs from an overhead camera that might be thought of as the equivalent of GPS. This is not as radical as the quoted sentence suggests.)
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new robot professors.
Er, wait, maybe not so much . . . .
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT OVERLORDS: Los Angeles Times Now Favors Rule By Robots.
But here’s the real news: “To its credit, the Los Angeles Times editorial board has chosen to acknowledge clearly and publicly that out-of-control spending, not insufficient tax revenue, is suffocating the Golden State.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW MONKEY-ROBOT OVERLORDS. “In a remarkable demonstration of brain-machine interface technology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have taught a monkey to use just its thoughts to control an advanced robotic arm and perform elaborate maneuvers with it.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new robot astronomers.
JOHN SCALZI is running for President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. From the comments: “I, for one, welcome our coming scalzian overlord.”
HAIL, ANTS: I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. “A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new robot overlords.
“I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new Fembot overlords.”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR TINY WATER BEAR OVERLORDS: Tiny Water Bears Triumph Over Outer Space.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new robot hecklers.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME our new Civil Service overlords.
“FUR CHILDREN:” I ran across this term — meaning pets you have instead of, you know, real children – a while back and was bothered. I mentioned it to a friend from DC, who remarked that it wasn’t uncommon to see women, and even men, on the street with a cat or small dog in a baby carrier.
Great science fiction plot: Hostile aliens infect humanity with a virus that causes us to lavish parental attention on animals instead of human offspring, as a means of extinguishing the human race without a messy invasion. But it’s just a science fiction plot. Isn’t it?
UPDATE: Stephen Carter emails:
I spotted your item today about “fur children”. In P. D. James’s novel The Children of Men, set in a world in which no children can be born, there are two scenes involving women caring for pets as if they were babies — not only walking them in strollers, but actually having them baptized — and the narrator tells us that this is common behavior. I suppose the symbolism (to say nothing of the psychology) was too complex to risk trying to put this in the film.
What’s funny is that behavior intended to symbolize an apocalyptic state has now become semi-normal.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Pat Dooley says forget the aliens — the infection comes from cats.
I, for one, welcome our new feline overlords.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT DRIVERS: My TechCentralStation column is up.
LITTLE GREEN SQUEEGEE MEN? I linked to an earlier report of this phenomenon a while back, but it keeps happening:
An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said on Tuesday.
It said something — or someone — had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night.
The cleaning had boosted the panels’ power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt.
I, for one, welcome our new squeegee overlords, and when they arrive on Earth I will entrust them with the care of my Passat wagon’s windshield.
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW SPIDER OVERLORDS: And I’d like to remind them that popular bloggers may serve as trusted voices in helping to recruit workers to toil in their underground fly caves. . . .
Is it just me, or are people making a bigger deal out of Halloween than they used to?
It sure seems that way, anyhow. Anybody got some Raid?
UPDATE: Many readers say that Halloween seems to be a bigger deal. And not everyone’ s happy about it. Shortly after posting this I noticed an announcement hanging on my doorknob, for an “alternative to Halloween” festival sponsored by some Baptists. There does seem to be this anti-Halloween backlash, too, which I regard as rather silly. But if people want to have alternative parties, it’s okay with me. Even if there are no giant spiders. Though you’ve got to love the giant spiders.
I, FOR ONE, welcome our new robot overlords. Heh.