It's All Fun And Games, Until Somebody Gets Hurt

Well, the shenanigans continue apace and, I guess that it's appropriate that they should continue at the epicenter of shenanigans, San Diego Comic-Con. Adam Savage, of Myth-Busters fame, cozies right up and adjacent to a, truly, unholy creation currently termed only, "The Robot". He's beside himself with glee. We can only assume that he is even now being fitted for his own black robes and taking the solemn vows of the Evil Robot Acolyte.

This unit was created by WIRED Magazine in a mere 24 days. We would hope that we would not have to encourage you too strongly to extrapolate what sort of end product a sufficient amount of time and funding would produce along these same lines. Something, certainly, that would not give you the giggles...

We presume that there is a fleshy human within this particular model, but we will soon be rid of those entirely, eh?

Full Story @ WIRED Mag

Blitzkrieg, Indeed...

Your manufacturing job, your sense of safety, your sigmoid colon, and now, also, The Arts. These are just a few of the pieces of your contentedness that the infernal machines, now being formed, are going to begin to surgically remove from your zone of control.

To add insult to injury, it seems they will also be a shoe in for your local Battle of the Bands competition. Thought you had that covered, didn't you? Well, it would seem not. Check out the horrifying video below, brought to us by our intrepid reporter, Lurch, who himself is a musician of no small skill and directly faces obsolescence due to the burgeoning threat of Evil Robot Rock.

Joey rests uneasily in his grave, R.I.P. Joey, we're going to unplug these bastards for you.

Full story @ Slate

They're Going The Distance, They're Going For Speed...

As of this all comes to a head, it's going to become increasingly clear that some technological innovations are less meant for the uplifting of the "commonwealth", but rather, to put a silicone-sand bag onto the backs of all humankind and that bag will be very heavy indeed. They're going the distance...

Hear the craven, servo-driven, approach of doom...

"Robots are already stronger than humans, able to lift thousands of pounds at a time. In many ways, they're smarter than people, too; machines can perform millions of calculations per second, and even beat us at chess. But we could at least take solace in the fact that we could outrun our brawny, genius mechanical robot overlords. Until now, that is. A four-legged robot, funded by The Pentagon, has just run 28.3 miles per hour. That's faster than the fastest man's fastest time ever. Oh well, ruling the planet was fun while it lasted."

Full Story @ Wired - Danger Room [ERN - Indeed...]

One Evil Robotic Bird In The Hand, Is Worth Two Evil Robotic Birds In The Bush. On Second Thought...

Agility, precision, dexterity; these are all words which carry historically positive connotations. When applied to the forthcoming Dawn of Evil Robots however, they will definitely turn your lexicon on its head. Having become, generally, the apex predator of our planet, Homo Sapiens has kind of lost the flavor of what it might mean for these notions to not be soley ascribed to itself.

The fact is though, that we are, vigorously, in the process of creating machines that will not only inheret these qualities, but to a magnitude that has been heretofore unseen outside of nature. We will create a veritable minefield of devices, unto the thresholds of our very homes and, sadly, within them, of remarkably responsive and increasingly autonomous technologies, from which "escape" will take on an entirely more complex definition as well.

Have a look at this fine example from the energetic youths at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (keeping mysteriously mum on their website there, you'll notice...)

Don't Look Now, Seriously, Don't...

It's a little cumbersome and, perhaps, not the sort of thing that would immediately set you on edge. Once this sucker gets out of "alpha deveopment" though, we've no doubt that it, and systems like it, will evetually be bringing the creeping willies to you and yours very effectively.

It is always worth keeping in mind that every instantiation of bio-tracking, and "human-sensing" technology will build, cumulatively, on each prior innovation. When the day comes, and it will, when some company or other tries to sell you on the idea that some future itiration of a technology like this should be trusted to watch over your home or, heaven forbid, your kids, please resist abdicating your responsibilities to humanity.

"Not every robot is here to make our food, clean our floors or perform interstellar maintenance for us. Some automatons are there to simply be admired... or in the case of GIA (Gestural Interactive Automaton), to admire us. GIA's a robotic sculpture created by Daniel Jay Bertner that is essentially a projector, projection sphere and a webcam attached to a trio of servo-controlled articulating arms. A human face is projected on the sphere, which follows around folks who view it and changes its facial expression according to viewer reactions. Why? In order to "emulate and socially engage" them..." [ERN - Indeed...]

Full Story @ Engadget

What you can expect 1.2

As development in computer software continues apace and eventually culminates in The Singularity (or something painfully like it), the unaware are going to find themselves quite amazed by the occurance of increasingly uncanny interactions with and responses from the absoute glut of digital machines that now surround us.

It's one thing to say to onesself, "Aww, that's so neat", and entirely another when the interjection becomes something more like, "Holy creeping crap, how did this thing do that?!". If you've yet to have the hair on the back of your neck raised by an interaction like this; you won't have long to wait...

Here is a case in point...

Okay, it's my move. Oh wait...

"Computers have been beating humans at games for ages, that much is obvious. But a computer scientist from the Universite Paris Diderot in Paris, France has decided to change tack, moving away from complicated data sets, instead creating a vision-based system that can look at a game, learn it, and then play it by learning through "relational structures" instead of long formulae and a database of background knowledge. And it does it very, very well."

Full Story @ PopSci-Australia (bringin' the fear from down unda')

Making What Is Creepy, Yet Again, More Creepy

It's not our intention to suggest that "bosses" are, in general, "creepy". That's for you to decide. Only you really know where you're at. Our ERN Pelham Bay correspondent, Snackwrap though, does reveal a little of her own perspective in her latest report bringing to the fore the advent of the "Telerobotic Boss".

Looking over the shoulders of one's minions from afar is an ancient desire of bosses of all sorts and descriptions. Only now, in the bright hot light of the 21st Century, are the fevered dreams of micromanagers finally coming to their ultimate fruition. Whether or not employees will take it upon themselves to adorn the Telerobotic Boss with half-eaten donuts, "kick me" signs or what have you, just out of the visual range of the infernal machine, is anyone's guess. Though we'll take this oportunity to encourage that, at least until the Telerobotic Boss becomes equipped with antipersonnel devices, which will happen, so get your licks in now!

We'd like to impune Microsoft Corporation for it's lack of fundamental humanity in bringing this vicious technology to fruition, but hey, they're just doing their jobs, right? Well, you know what time it is... Do delight yourself with the Evil Robotic Acolyte rhetoric that they sprinkle throughout this piece; "Don't be afraid, yet" indeed...

Full Story, oddly enough, @ CNN Money

Stompy, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

Well, it seems we are not going to have a lot of luck preventing ourselves from going down the gore-slicked luge course of Evil Robot domination. It seems like we're hardly going to even try...

A giant 4000 pound robot ride sounds like fun, doesn't it? Just try not to trample your fellow human beings during your exciting child-like adventure as, we heartliy assure you, "Stompy" surely will, once it's got a mind of its own. We'd like to warn you that this development is absolutely imminent. Yeah, but you don't want to hear about all of that ol' doom and gloom talk, do ya? Go ahead, enjoy!

Get Away From There Dan! For God's Sake, Get Away!Get Away From There Dan! For God's Sake, Get Away!

"Hopefully you have a big garage. This baby is 18 feet wide, 10 feet tall, weighs 4,000 pounds and will be powered by a 135-horsepower propane engine.

Considering the scale of this thing, it

Just Another Brick In The Wall

As if from the fume-addled mouth of the Delphic Oracle herself, it seems that our dark interpretations of the future find more and more of a sturdy purchase in reality.

Our friends at the Navy's Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation & Strike Weapons have decided, it seems, to just go ahead and quit beating around the bush and get right down to (bloody) brass tacks.

The brazeness, not to mention the rarified lack of diplomatic wisdom, of this development should arouse in you, not only a healthly sense of "operational awareness" about what is coming down the pike, but also a sense of the gravity of what we're trying to get across to you here. We're trying to pull your proverbial fat out of the fire friend; harken!

Behold The Many Petaled Flower Of Evil Robot Air Support...Behold The Many Petaled Flower Of Evil Robot Air Support...

Who's Your Autonomous, Heat Seeking, Infra-Red Capable, Poly-Munitioned Daddy?Who's Your Autonomous, Heat Seeking, Infra-Red Capable, Poly-Munitioned Daddy?

"Wired's Spencer Ackerman visited the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland this morning to get an exclusive look at the U.S. Navy's new UFO-looking drone. But in the process, he snapped this photo of the Navy's Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation & Strike Weapons, and considering that unmanned drones rain death upon insurgents and civilians alike in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and a bunch of other places we probably don't know about, the logo is disgustingly apropos."

Full Story @ Gothamist Should any of you survive to read it!

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's The End Of The World As You Know It!

We've certainly got enough to worry about here on the ground, but it seems that Evil Robots will also be exploring the "orbital vector" to discover new ways that they can rain (reign?) down their loving attentions on us as we stand, stunned, glaring upward in utter disbelief.

The United States Air Force has completed the most recent mission for its Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), The X-37B. This fully autonomous space plane has spent 15 months on its most recent trip, circling the earth with its all too eerie precision. What fun things has this space-going Evil Robot Bird been up to in the far reaches of earth's orbit? Well, that is, of course, not for us to know, which forces us to guess...ill!

The Tessellated Nose Of Evil Robot Doom!The Tessellated Nose Of Evil Robot Doom!

"OTV-1 blasted off in April 2010 and stayed aloft for 225 days, well below the supposed 270-day orbital limit for the space plane. But OTV-2 smashed that limit, zipping around our planet for 469 days before finally coming down today.

Just what OTV-2 was doing up there for so long remains a mystery. Details of the vehicle's mission are classified, as are its payloads. The secrecy has spurred speculation


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