Like A Velvet Glove, Cast In Iron

You might expect a gnarling tungsten-carbide saw blade, or a dull weapon barrel that spurts forth highly energized plasma or a vicious nerve gas to be the method by which you might be utterly destroyed at the whim of an Evil Robot. We suspect that all of these scenarios, actually, will come to pass.

You shouldn't lose site though of the much more insidious end of the stick, as it were; the development of a deft, supra-intelligent even...delicate simulacra of the human hand itself.

Our ever vigilant Pelham Bay correspondent: Snackwrap is always suspicious of badly behaving machines, especially hands, and pointed out this unsettling example we see here below.

"Shadow, however, is extremely life-like in its demonstrations. It’s a tad bit slow at times, and it lacks tactile feedback, but watching it in action you can almost imagine its human. Of course, Shadow Dextrous Hand weighs a bit more (4kg), is made of aluminum, resin, and polycarbonate, and has twenty motors. Still, seeing the sort of advanced movements and controls in this hand make me believe that fully functional humanoid robots aren’t that crazy of a dream." [ ERN - Not a dream, no. We can assure you though it will be very...very crazy... ]

@ 01:24 - "Coochie, Coochie, CRUNCH!"

Full Story @ Singularity Hub

United Nations: Okay, WTF Is Going On Here?

Evil Robotics, myth or reality? Well, the tide of growing concern rises. On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 The United Nations held its first multinational convention on "lethal autonomous weapons systems".

How this has taken so long to come about, we cannot imagine. We would say it is well behind the curve. Upside? At least the venerable body has been willing to put down its tumblers of 20 year scotch and japanese steak knives to at least sit down and have a little confab about the end of the world as we know it.

Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere, schnell!

" Has the age of the Robocop and Terminator arrived? The U.N. thinks it might be around the corner [ ERN - Whaaaat!? two hour lunch break? Oooooooh, Aristo-Bureaucrats; really, just too cheeky ]...

On Tuesday, the world body holds its first-ever multinational convention on 'lethal autonomous weapons systems.'

While fully autonomous weapons don’t really exist yet, some attendees at the convention—like the coalition of non-governmental organizations calling itself the 'Campaign to Stop Killer Robots' —will argue that technology is moving fast in the direction of creating them. South Korea, for example, already deploys semi-autonomous machine-gun robots outside its demilitarized zone with North Korea. The Israeli Defense Forces also operates similar robotic guns on several of its borders. "

Full Story @ WSJ - Digits

Ye Olde Robotic Society - A.K.A. You Just Got Union-Jacked

Ah, fair Albion, the storied land of a grand old monarchy, the heady writings of William Shakespeare and soon to be ground zero in the explosive advent of Evil Robots; huzzah!

The robotics academics, researchers and societal planners are about to go "the Full Monty" in their plans to revolutionize the nation's infrastructure to deeply incorporate autonomous robots into every nook and cranny of their social order.

It hearken's back to the golden age of technology's idea of humans being freed from the drudgery of their common labors , a la the "homes of the future". Everyone can just lounge in their smoking jackets and thoroughly enjoy their piping hot cups of tea and saucers of butter biscuits while the robotic worker class joyfully toils away.

Our Pelham Bay correspondent: Snackwrap reports the below tale of amazing naivety on the part of the United Kingdom. God save the Evil Robotic Queen!

'ello guv'nah!

" If everything goes according to plan [ ERN - Ha! Do be serious...], robots will decommission British nuclear sites, service offshore oil and gas rigs; zip Brits across the skies and deliver their pizza. Garbage-bots will also collect trash and carebots will look after the elderly. Life will be simpler, easier, and more efficient when humans let robots do all the work, so that we can do everything else. "

Full Story @ WSJ - Digits

Like A Hot Knife Through Butter

We have achieved a milestone. In our chronicaling of all of the potential problems of sophisticated robotics, we believe we have rarely been as frightened by a development as this one.

The, clearly masterful, Evil Robot Acolytes (and, as always, we use that term advisedly) at the Carrara Robotics "division" of Coletek Robotics are fostering a fresh abomination to take shape.

A device which they have ruefully allowed to openly wield a diamond cable cutter, to horrifying effect. This punishing automaton, makes easy work of marble, forming and shaping it with an alarmingly deft touch. We can only assume that it would make even shorter work of any softer material, say, a mailman or the dog that may be chasing the mailman, proceeding on down the block to just eviscerate the whole damned neighborhood.

Just look at it writhe beneath it's cheap blue tarp of evil!

Witness the fitness...

" There are lots of fun ways to watch machines show-off: see them play massive Jenga games; ooh and aah as they draw peens and portraits; or, in the case of Carrara Robotics, check out a wire-saw saturated with diamond dust slice through a chunk of marble like it is absolutely nothing. "

More on this story @

A Hint Of Musk

Another technology heavyweight has added his two cents to the increasingly notable debate about the advent of Artificial intelligences. Elon Musk on June 17, 2104, was interviewed by CNBC Finance's Disruptor 50 which gauges the 50 most disruptive private companies, Mr. Musk's ongoing concerns are currently number one, with a (hopefully silver) bullet.

What he has to say here is quite reserved and non-commital, but reading between the lines we can take away volumes of meaning from this. Consider that he has invested, substantially we assume, in Vicarious, the burgoening artifical intelligence company. Not for "a return on ivestment", he says, but rather, "to keep an eye on" the fast this developing area of science.

Prick up your ears, as these brief and subdued comments are actually signaling tectonic shifts in the popular perception of the techonological-germ-brain, which will be deeply concerning to your situation on this planet going forward. Indeed, as Elon suggests, probably other planets as well, as there will be no fleeing this downpresser.

Also see our previous similar forbodings from another titan of technology, Bill Joy, here and here.

" Still, Musk's sentiments match an increasingly serious approach to the notion that self-aware computers could one day impact the fate of humanity. Although milestones such as computers passing the Turing Test are hailed as accomplishments in the field, fears of "the singularity" — the moment when artificial intelligence starts to improve itself without our help — are increasingly represented in mainstream pop culture and even in academia. "

More on this story @ Mashable

Hyah Mule! Hyah!

How do you train robotic systems for the, wholly forseen, Robo-geddon that they will evenutally visit on all of us? You've got all of the funding, you've got a substantial brain-trust, but where is the experience?

Well the best way to teach an A.I. how to "swim" is to simply throw into the deep end of the pool. Even if it goes massive fail, probably gonna' kill something, right? Then, you go back to the warehouse, pull another one off the shelf, adjust it for a very slightly less massive fail, and you kick it out of the door. easy-peasy, lemon squeezy.

Here is a protoype of the AirMule built by a soon to be headliner in Evil Robotics, Israel's Tactical Robotics which, before you know it, is going to be doing the proverbial backstroke in heaven knows how many now burgeoning conflicts.

It is proposed, apparently, as a "combat-neutral" cargo/rescue vehicle. Also, axes are just for chopping down trees, yeah?

Heeeere's AirMule!

" If you saw The Dark Knight Rises, then you no doubt remember the very cool-looking Batwing aircraft in which Mr. Wayne flew over the streets of Gotham. Perhaps you thought that while it was pretty impressive, there was no way that anything like it could work in real life. Well hey, guess what? The Batwing-like AirMule VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) prototype aircraft recently demonstrated its ability to fly autonomously, bringing it one step closer to carrying out a full mission demo. "

Full Story @ Gizmag

A Sliver Of Sanity Erupts?

In the arena of Evil Robotics, the notion of ethics is, well, loose at best. It may be that in the mad gold rush for innovation, profit and power, that many engineers are fairly confident that the ends will adequately justify the means used to achieve them.

The below story though, hints at a sort of dissention in the ranks of the Wild, Wild West of the creation of high functioning machines. A robotics company that Google has recently acquired [ ERN - be sure to see the below here ] has made, as a caveat to its acquisition, a "requirement" that Google create a board of ethics in order mediate what plans and executions Google may make with their company's technologies.

This is a very interesting development, as it means that a, presumably, world class group of software and hardware engineers have inherent concerns about how their intellectual property may have broader effects on the world at large. That is to say that, from our perspective at least, they have outstanding concerns about exactly how "not evil" Google is going to be willing to be going forward. Hmmm...

" It’s fair to assume that the smart folks at DeepMind have thought deeply about AI and its implications. AI is very powerful technology that is largely invisible to the average person. Right now, AI controls airplanes, stock markets, information searches, surveillance programs, and more. These are important applications that can’t help but to have a tremendous impact on society and ethics, increasingly so as every futurist predicts AI to become more pervasive in our lives. "

Full Story @

For Though We Walk In The Flesh, We Do Not War After The Manner Of The Flesh

What are the requirements, those "intermediate demands", that would have to be fulfilled for us to be conquered by oncoming robotic technologies. What are, precisely, the sorts of things we could point our fingers toward and say, "Mehhhh, that's not good..."?

Well, there are many. In particular though, it's not fruitless to focus on the attempts of Evil Robotic Engineers, and increasingly actually, laypersons, to pour their ideas for mechanisms, their form and function in to what they, perhaps now fleetingly, know best; the human likeness.

That is to say, that for all of the decried perception of "innovation", in many cases, it is rather "emulation" that we can actually see in play; the recreation of biology, psychology and society in the more "clean", robust and "perfected" vision, in the mind of the engineer at least, that nature has not seen fit to provide. One thing is for sure though, a robust robot that seeks to emulate human capability could do a lot worse than to have its own workable "skin"; which should make yours crawl.

" If flexible electronic devices are ever going to become practical for real-world use, the circuitry incorporated into them will have to be tough and resilient. We're already seeing progress in that direction, including electrical wires that can still carry a current while being stretched. However, what if the application calls for the use of fiber optics? Well, scientists from Belgium may have that covered, too. They've created optical circuits utilizing what they believe are the world's first stretchable optical interconnections.

The idea is that devices such as wearable sensors or touch-enabled robot skin could utilize standard glass fiber optic cables for the most part, but could use the interconnections to bridge gaps between those cables, allowing the device to bend or lengthen at those locations. "

Full Story @ Gizmag

Bursting At The Seams

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes...

- "Second Witch" - Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1 - Shakespeare

To a person standing on the edge of a cliff, sometimes, two steps backward might be considered 'progress' "


It is increasingly surprising, to more and more people, how rapidly the challenges of the forthcoming "fall" of organic-type beings begin to crystalize. We hear so often now, the many tales of concern that accompany the notion of the potentially problematic affects that artificially intelligent machines might visit upon us.

Since it is our mission here to collate these ideas, best as we can, and help society see the eight-hundred pound titanium gorilla squatting rudely on the collective coffee table, we thought that the following story would go some distance in accomplishing that goal.

Not only are there increasingly effective technologies, at increasingly affordable prices, virtually erupting onto the scene. There are also, thriving subcultures organizing around these technologies. Soon, making the Evil Robot Overlords' domination a reality, will be little more trouble than making a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich; observe.

" MAKE visited the folks at Game of Drones in sunny American Canyon two Sundays ago to see the latest in DIY battle drones. We saw a man running from hellfire of paintballs rained down from above. We found a group discussing lasers and wooden battle props. We saw copters crashing in the sky. 'Hey, I want to strap on a Go Pro and crash into you.' This isn’t your everyday fly-in. Here are a few of our favorite scenes. "

And, as if that weren't demostrative enough, regard these Evil Robot Praetors in even more horrifying detail:

[ ERN - We don't really need to "connect the dots" for you here, do we? ]

Full Story @ Makezine [ ERN - Ahhh, Sweet, sweet Makezine. Though we do love you, for so many reasons, we feel that you are now, walking the razor's edge... ]

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


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