the robots are coming
Does the prospect of Skynet keep you awake at night? Well, now there’s something you can do to fight your fears, besides chucking your Sarah Connor Chronicles DVDs. The BBC reports that yesterday, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots officially launched in London.
The group is exactly what it sounds like. Founded by reps from nine different NGOs, including the Human Rights Watch, International Committee for Robot Arms Control and Nobel Women’s Initiative, the campaign wants a “pre-emptive and comprehensive ban” on fully autonomous weapons.
Good news for those of you kept awake at night by terrible apocalyptic visions and/or whose name is Sarah Connor: The BBC reports that the University of Cambridge is taking up the study of the existential risks posed by new technologies. Think killer AIs with indestructible robot bodies.
One of organizers is Skype cofounder Jaan Tallinn, Read More
the robots are coming
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:
Rise of the Machines
No big deal or anything. Don’t be alarmed. But Google’s secretive computer network simulating the human brain has learned to recognize cats. On its own. With no hints from its mortal creators. AH-HA! So this is how Skynet will begin.
The project, of course, comes out of Google’s clandestine X Labs, the same futuristic outfit responsible for augmented reality on your face and cars that drive themselves. Geeze, they just can’t make humans obsolete fast enough, can they?
In the Venn diagram between techies and Terminator 2 fans, we’re guessing the overlap is oh, let’s say 100.00 percent. But a new iPhone app built by Silicon Alley’s Rich Cameron and Haris Amin might be the first time the two have officially merged.
Cyborg Vision, which made its App Store debut for the iPhone and iPad 2 this morning, uses the Face.com API and Facebook to let see the world around you like a cyborg assassin sent from the future. Its best trick is actually recognizing your Facebook friends and returning a red-screen in real time with their Facebook data that would make Skynet proud. Mr. Cameron and Mr. Amin, who both work at the health and fitness app DailyBurn, first developed the concept at the video hack day, where the app took first prize. They then spent weekends getting it Apple-ready.