The Advent of "Multi-Purpose Tools"

Unfortunately, we are now never at a loss for examples of exactly how bad the idea of letting automated machines take "human-harmful" [ ERN - As we predict, they mostly will be ] actions actually is. We often hear retorts of, "alarmist!" and "Luddite!" to which we merely reply, "A wood chipper is great at chipping wood, but perhaps not soley at chipping wood"; if you follow our meaning...

To which we often, predictably, only get slightly baffled scowls in response; which we actually, although with some humilty, tend to appreciate. So, by way of extending this example, we would like to introduce the below multi-functional widget of flesh separation. We can just imagine a scaled down version being integrated with one of these and, voila, self-serve human sushi robot.






"Manual filleting of fish can be a time-consuming task. Due to higher salaries in Nordic countries, processing of fish caught there is often carried out in places like Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where labor costs are lower, before the fish is returned to Scandinavia for sale. The APRICOT (Automated Pinbone Removal In Cod and WhiTefish) project set out in January, 2012 to find an automated solution that would keep fish processing local and it has now developed a machine that achieves just that."


Full Story @ Gizmodo

PunchKicker

The Evil Robotic Arms Race ("ERAR") [ERN - Ding! Coooined it!] is coming along swimmingly, for the Evil Robots.... Here is an example of a pretty unsettling development. The creation of a new, radically inexpensive, amazingly powerful, form of synthetic muscle. All the better to smash you with my dears.

What if you were to replace one of these:

With one of these:


'nuff said...




" 'The energy per cycle that we obtain from these artificial muscles, and their weightlifting abilities, are extraordinary,' says Baughman. They can lift about 100 times heavier weight and generate about 100-times higher power than natural muscle of the same weight and length.' When Baughman says power, he's referring to the the rate at which these artificial muscles perform (i.e. the work they carry out per unit time). It's a measurement that most people are accustomed to hearing expressed in units of horsepower. Buaghman's fishing line muscles can generate about seven horsepower of mechanical power per kilogram of polymer fiber. That's the kind of power-to-weight ratio you see with jet engines –about five-times that of your typical internal combustion engine. "

Full story @ io9 God bless 'em...

What You Can Expect 1.5

There are, actually, very many theories, expectations, forecasts, prognostications and so forth, about what the actual inception of a "legitimate" artificial intelligence into the networks and "real world" of humankind might be like. It has to be said, also, that we might be wise to look to Hollywood, absolutely last, for what a cogent interpretation about all of these, potentially horrifying, developments might be like.

Since, though, Hollywood's cultural influence is so, seemingly, insurmountable, we think that it's probably not such a great idea to ignore it entirely. Plus, they make it all look so "sexy", don't they?

Therefore, we will offer the below snippet of the "end of the world as we know it" for your consideration. While we think that it would be unwise to see it as the very cloth from which Evil Robot domination will be cut, we're not all that uncertain that it is not a reasonable fictional facsimile.

The "honest" truth, that is to say, no more than our collective "hunch", really; is that the arrival on the human scene of a "true AI", and its consequent material shock troops of Evil Robots is, almost certainly, by its relative definition, beyond our common conception. If you feel like you've got the inside track though, don't be shy. We're not proud, the era of human pride may be about to experience a shocking readjustment. That's how we see it at any rate...

It has been, officially, foretold...





It Begins (Well, it's already well begun, but, you know...)

You have, no doubt, got wind of this one already. Please allow us though, if you would, to accentuate somewhat, the terror...

The horrible synergy of International Mega-Corps and their tangential progeny, Evil Robots, hastens. It is a, fairly, foregone conclusion that truly deft and effective robotic technologies are going to be, at first, maximized by those with the intellectual property and liquid capital to bring them quickly to the fore.

If you can think of a, currently, deeper reservoir of intellectual property and liquid capital than Google Corporation, we would be very interested in hearing about that. So, at this moment, we can take the below development as a disturbingly close warning shot (which is not, in fact, a warning at all, merely a "calibration") across the bow of The Goode Shippe Humanity from our good friends at Google, whose nominal motto is, or was once at least, "Don't be evil". Well...

Their most recent and, we assure you, unholy, dalliance with DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is their aquisition of Boston Dynamics ("...the eighth robotics company Google has picked up in the last six months"), a frightfully competent group of robotics engineers, previously funded for the production of these cutting edge robotic systems by DARPA. (Search "DARPA" and "Boston Dynamics" here on our site for scads more context). The writing, as they say is, clearly, on the wall.

We do not want to condescend, never that. We would encourage you though, to begin to "stack the blocks" about the relevant developments that are taking place here, rather closely now, around you. Vigilance!


Full image credit to sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

"Search giant Google is expanding its empire of robots by acquiring Boston Dynamics - the company that makes BigDog, WildCat and Atlas.

The firm, based in Massachusetts, has made a name for itself by designing creepy robots for the Pentagon that can cope with difficult terrain and stay upright despite being kicked.

It's the eighth robotics company Google has picked up in the last six months [ERN - If that doesn't give you the screamin' heebie-jeebies, you are scarcely conscious...], but the company has yet to announce exactly what it's planning to do with all those bots. They're under the command of Andy Rubin, who founded Android but now runs Google's robotics division."


Full Story @ Wired.co.uk [ERN -no fuller exploration of this, tectonic, development Wired U.S.? Why you no report!?]

What You Can Expect 1.4

As we all know, some life paths can arrive at...emotional nether spaces, where human hearts are known to have gathered. Tidal pools of the heart, one might say, where a soul can become sequestered from the larger oceans of intimacy and connection in which swim the mass of humankind. That is until artificial intelligences enter these delicate spaces and hoover up these tender spirits to create heaven knows what sort of new consensus reality of the perception of love.

Take, for instance, an exploration of this idea in Spike Jonze's upcoming film, "her".



Passing The Baton

If you recall, we addressed previously the unwelcome "surprise" that was the PETMAN robot. Well, it looks like our favorite mistake is now all growed up! Also, it looks like it has been tucking well into some bowls of Wheaties.

It gives us some idea of the speed with which these devices are gaining new strengths, equipment and sharper software. If you think the turn around on PETMAN to his descendant was quick, wait till these devices work out the knack of designing and constructing themselves.

One of the ostensible purposes for this device is gaining access to disaster areas where it would be too dangerous for a human first responder to enter. As part of that function, ATLAS, for that is it's name, will have to demonstrate the power and dexterity to move and negotiate "rubble". That is to say, the same level of dexterity it might take to pop open a human skull like a can of 99 Cent Store beans.

This prototype technotronic demon will be demonstrating this, and other eerily human hunter-like skills, at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in December of 2013 in Miami Florida. So, if you feel like a few Mojito's while witnessing the creeping descent of the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens, into ash bin of biological history, head on down!





Full Story @ Robotics Trends

What You Can Expect 1.3

There are, let's just put it all on the table, many perspectives within this site that might seem a touch...melodramatic; somewhat overstated perhaps? We though, in our shivering paranoia, are readily willing to admit that. Therefore, we like to punctuate ( in contrast to our wild disregard for the rules of punctuation in general ) our craven prognostications, from time to time, with the sage words of more sober minds.

To that end, we would like to present you with this cogent missive, from a man whom few could refer to as reactionary, or otherwise "off center", with the exception, perhaps, and we hesitate to say this, of his unwarranted deference to Al Gore. But, he is in "polite company", et cetera, et cetera and so, 'nuff said. We tend to think that he's closer to our side of the fence, but the real determination is, of course, yours. And, while we do take exception to some of the perspectives that he expresses here, few, but...some, we cannot, directly, take exception with the man himself; few could we expect. We will leave it though, to your, inevitably, more rational level of discernment...

Don't forget to visit as well, our earlier entreaty to our readers on the thoughts and feelings of this remarkable man, here. It is an oldie, but a goodie...




What's Gotten Into You?

There is so little in today's widely networked world that we can truly call our own. Our conversations, digital, and increasingly actual, are being recorded and duly databased, stored for future painstaking analysis by our Evil Robot Overlords. Our faces, bodies, and even our own unique ambling gaits are imaged, analysed via advanced biometrics and, again, duly cached.

Well, there is always the insular safety and comforting warmth of one's own thoughts. We can always sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy the rich store of images, notions and memories that are so uniquely our own; a precious respite.

Neuroscience is now discovering though, or should we say, is now allowing to be revealed ( there is a crucial difference ), that technologies exist which may very well allow the "inception", ( interesting choice of words, no? ) of false memories into the mind.


It is always important, while keeping an ever watchful eye on the Evil Robot without, to not ignore the frightening potentialities of the "inception" of the dark seeds of the Evil Robot within...

The, no doubt bustling, Neuroscience Department at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology are preparing a delightful mnemonic joy ride into the sanctum sanctorum of the human mind. Don't worry though, once they've turned your hippocampus over like a troupe of desperate bandits would a shanty hovel, you probably won't remember a thing...





You Can Get With This, Or You Can Get With That

What, actually, constitutes an Evil Robot Overlord era of domination? A question that, in our mutual human "fight or flight" instinct and, almost, constant state of adrenal fatigue ( duly warranted, we would argue - [ERN] - Note the Wikipedia article's blithe disregard of the validity of this, now, veritably ubiquitous condition ), begs to be addressed.

Well, we've given this question some thought, and, as we frequently express here, there is more than one way to skin a cat; a cat that is in this case, suspiciously human-like in almost every relevant respect.

As we, also frequently, point out here, on this frighteningly relevant blog, not all Evil Robotic schemes are purely contemporary. Some are eerily historical, others are "futuristic" beyond the imagination of the general populace. The point we are trying to make, and to get to stick in the collective craw, as it were, is that it is adequate vigilance, and little else, that will help you come to an understanding comprehensive enough to, truly, prepare you for what is at hand.

To wit, we are offering you this entertaining sampling of troubling technologies, courtesy of Popular Science Magazine. Take a close look at the array of anti-human weaponry that they catalogue here. Take further note of the possibility that these weapons, each and every one, might come into the future (current?) arsenal of artificially intelligent machines. Far fetched you say; not possible? Well, you won't find many naysayers on this end of the block; we can tell you that, without any hesitation whatsoever. You can get with this, or you can get with that...



"Cyborg animals, psychotropics and flying lasers are just some of the terrifying weapons government labs have cooked up over the years" [ERN - Indeed...with your taxpayer dollars, one might have hastened to add. Ahhh, The succulent flavor of evasion in PopSci's Evil Robot Journalism...]





Full Story @ PopSci (For shame, PopSci, for shame!)

An Evil Robot Case In Point

What with the imminent threat of being disembowelled, exploded, lased, and so forth by the rapidly increasing number of robots crawling, swimming and flying, like dark and stealthy raptors, around the planet, one tends to overlook some of the subtler points of how artificially intelligent devices might affect various outcomes.

There are many more clever vectors by which mankind can be undone. Take, for instance, the below story which describes a strong method of potential destruction. This particular example is of automated code breaking, but the increasing speed and facility with which machines will come to operate leaves open a very slippery slope toward dozens of potential pits into which we might fall. Being able to perform tireless, highly dexterous and computationally intense behaviours with very little, or eventually no, one presumes, errors can well, spell (at the incredible aforementioned speeds) a lot of trouble for our collective futures. This is a very tricky aspect of the threat at this point, but with a little imagination, we're sure that you can come to ever greater conclusions about how this might all go horribly off the proverbial rails like a crazy train.


"Justin Engler and Paul Vines will demo a robot called the Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher (R2B2) at Defcon; it can work its way through every numeric screen-lock Android password in 19 hours. They built it for less than $200, including the 3D printed parts. It doesn't work on screen-patterns (they're working on that) nor on Ios devices (which exponentially increase the lockout times between unsuccessful password attempts). They're also whomping up new versions that can simulate screen-taps with electrodes, which will run much faster. They're also working on versions that can work against hotel-room safes, ATMs, and other PIN-pad devices. It's a good argument for a longer PIN (six-digit PINs take 80 days to crack), and for using robust and random PINs (26% of users use one of 20 PINs)."



Full Story @, The Mighty, Boing Boing

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