XXX in Tech
If you’re already following the advice of your longevity coach and working to live as long as humanly possible (until the Singularity comes and your being is finally merged with that of a robot), then you’re probably ready to take your training to the next level. Self-quantifying via sleep tracking apps and the Nike Fuel Band will only get you so far, and unless you’re Peter Thiel, hyperbaric chambers are rather expensive. Luckily, the next step towards total transhumanism is much more pleasurable: buying a sex robot and having longevity orgasms.
the robots are coming
Watching this this robot walk a tightrope strung across a Japanese office to a soundtrack of disproportionately thrilling techno is probably the most exciting thing you’ll do today. (Hey, it’s a Tuesday. Take what you can get.) From the country that brought you not just Neon Genesis Evangelion, but the entire subgenre of anime devoted to giant robots:
The Future Will See You Now
They might be able to make burritos and rescue the drowning, but robots are still lacking in some basic functionality. Namely: The ability to do very much with tools. Those of you who’ve seen Planet of the Apes and/or ever attempted to jimmy the cap off a beer bottle will surely recognize that this is an important part of our special sauce as a species, and one that our mechanical brethren can’t quite yet replicate. Hence, as per the MAKE blog, a team of researchers at Georgia Tech are working on that.
Specifically, they would like to build a robot MacGyver.
As this Georgia Tech announcement points out, we’re increasingly deploying robots in dangerous situations and hard-to-get-to places (hello, Mars rover!), but they lack human abilities to interact with their environment. If they lose their keys, they can’t root through their purse and find something to pick the lock:
What’s a thousand-pound steel monster controlled entirely by a computer, no human required? It’s a driverless car! And it’s one step closer to legally operating on public roads. The Singularity is nigh, friends.
According to Ars Technica, the California State Senate officially passed SB 1289, which–following the creation of standards and performance requirements by the DMV–would allow robot cars to hit the open road.
What if your boyfriend was really sweet and helpful and you could shrink him into a tiny cyborg that lives inside your phone? Regardless of what Honey I Shrunk the Kids taught you, we don’t have the technology to do that–yet. But luckily there are Happiness Engines, little bots made by a startup in San Francisco that help make using your smartphone a little bit easier.
As you might have noticed, here at Betabeat we’ve put ourselves on Skynet watch. As part of our duties, we like to keep one eye firmly fixed on the rise of robots. So far, we’ve seen them making burritos, lifeguarding, even kicking your ass in rock, paper, scissors.
But what of the future? How will the robots talk amongst themselves? This video (created a 3D artist working under the name Fluxel Media) proposes a possibility more awful than we’d previously considered: Dubstep.
“Rather disgruntled” programmers, rejoice! Apple says it fixed that bug that was causing apps to crash on launch. [AllThingsD]
Jerry Seinfield now has a web series? [Daily Dot]
Facebook tab engagement has declined 53 percent since the introduction of Timeline. Perhaps that’s why Buddy Media was so eager to sell? [Mashable, h/t Nicholas Carlson]
Microsoft researcher: Oops, that whole thing about an Android botnet was just an “educated guess.” [The Verge]
The Singularity is nigh: For the first time ever, scientists have controlled a robot using only their thoughts. [Gizmodo]
Twitter engineer says that today search and discovery are “set to change forever.” Does that mean they’ll actually be good? [The Next Web]
If your cell phone is a robot that is coming to destroy you, meet this robot, which is coming to shame you at a classic hand game. The janken robot, developed at the Ishikawa Owu Laboratory in Japan, can not only play you in rock-paper-scissors, but it will beat you. 100 percent of the time. It’s programmed that way!
FreedomBox cofounder and Columbia law professor Eben Moglen is widely recognized for his controversial ideas about the Internet and privacy, so it was unsurprising when we learned that he’s not really that into Facebook and Twitter. But did you know that he thinks your cell phone is out to kill you? Or maim, at the very least.
Mr. Moglen certainly believes that smartphones are more foe than friend. This is because, according to Forbes, smartphones still don’t have the first rule of robotics encoded into their technological makeup. That rule, written by scifi writer Isaac Asimov, is, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”
Last week, Betabeat met 33-year-old Dmitry Grishin, the so-called “Russian Mark Zuckerberg,” to talk about robots. Or more specifically, to talk about the $25 million investment Mr. Grishin just made to launch Grishin Robotics, a global investment firm–based in New York City!–with the goal of bringing personal robots into every household in the world.
Mr. Grishin is the CEO of Mail.ru, one of the largest Internet companies in Russia, offering services like email, instant messaging, and social networking. After going public on the London Stock Exchange in 2010, Mail.ru currently has a market cap of $7 billion. Mail.ru also happens to have sold a hefty chunk of its Facebook stock in the company’s recent IPO, which might explain why Mr. Grishin decided the time was right to pursue his dream. “I have personal passion for robotics,” Mr. Grishin, a graduate of Moscow State Technical University’s Robotics and Complex Automation program. “I really believe this is a cool, cool area.”
As it happens, talking to Mr. Grishin was not our first conversation about the impending robot revolution in recent weeks.