Sunday, November 15, 2009

David Hanson, Father Of Death

In this remarkable TED video, robot builder David Hanson describes how he is making robots more emotional. We already have robots that can destroy our bodies, but Hanson is paving the way for robots that can get us where it really hurts: our hearts. His designs are impressive, if not a little creepy (in that uncanny valley sort of way), and his intentions are good. Robots with empathy are a good idea on the surface, but it opens the floodgates. A robot that can be made to empathize can be made to feel other emotions. Jealousy, fear, and hate are destructive enough in human beings, and we can't crush a car with our bare hands!

I'm not one to condemn a useful technology for its potential negative uses, but this is a development that will need to be watched closely. Personally, I'm a fan of Mr. Hanson. But mostly for his impressive moustache!

Here's a video of the Philip K. Dick robot David Hanson mentioned above. The voice recognition software is far from perfect, but it's cool looking nonetheless:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Embarrassing Moments In Robot History: S.A.M.

The seventies were a different time, so we need to view this clip under the appropriate context. But just like other offensive stereotypes in film and television of yesteryear, S.A.M. will be seen as an unfortunate throwback to a less tolerant time:

It's easy for us to mock robots now, but it is also short-sighted folly. When the roles are reversed let's hope our robot masters are able to show mercy over such ignorant portrayals.

I don't want to rain on Sesame Street's well deserved anniversary celebration. But it's a shame to see this on a show that has always been at the forefront of teaching tolerance to our children. It's an awful blemish on an otherwise tremendous program.

Oddly enough, this character is not mentioned in this list of Top 10 Sesame Street controversies.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This adorable robot has some very impressive movement and articulation for its size.

[via Geekologie]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gigantor Looms Over Kobe

Hot on the heels of Japan's giant Gundam statue, is this nostalgic Tetsujin 28-go (Gigantor):

It doesn't move or light up like the Gundam, but it still cuts an impressive figure nonetheless.

Robot Singers Will Bring A Tear To Your Eye...And A Knife To Your Wrist

There will no doubt be virtual pop stars in the future that are genuinely talented (if fine-tuned programming equals talent). But for every Sharon Applea there will be mountainous scrap heaps of banshee-like vocaloids like the following:

If you made it all the way through that video you win the prize.
The prize is another video:

Looks like American Idol is going to belong to the humans for many years to come.
Of course it's also easy to see these robots being put to use as non-lethal sonic weapons during the uprising.

[via io9]