Category: Robotics

Dear David Hanson, A good slapping would be well earned now

With love,
Your fellow roboticists.


For reader reference, the video below is now in the process of getting cut to pieces & hugely misinterpreted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_DPi0PmF0

Seriously. Don’t we have enough people already freaking out due to the recent years’ military adoption of drone technology?

Your work is good. Amazing. The best animated dolls ever. You have more experience in robotics than I do. But this is not the way to present your work, no matter what! The shortest line that can be misunderstood when cut in the proper way will be the one circulated around. The joke was awkward even for a roboticist.

For a few minutes of fame you just made yourself and the rest of us look like irresponsible crazy scientists. It doesn’t even do you good as you scared so many people and fuelled endless conspiracy/robot-takeover/singularity theories that tips the acceptance of robots all the way to the negative scale.

We should be concentrating on making people’s lives easier, safer, more meaningful, more pleasant, whatever that is for good, not freaking them out with human-looking dolls talking BS!

Then there are already some famous & smart people who are half-educated on recent AI/Robotics talk fearful nonsense, such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and others. Do you want to join that club?

Cheers from a fellow roboticist,

Bence

Dear non-robotics people,

Please don’t believe sci-fi level stuff you see on TV.

For a good anecdotal overview of robotics I recommend reading Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks.

They say an engineered system is only as good as the worst performance it can give. If you would like to see how the best top-level humanoid research groups failed outside of their labs:

For a full picture on the Darpa Robotics Challenge many references can be found all over the internet or if you are from the US you can watch this documentary by PBS.

Ask me questions if you have any.

Kind regards,

Bence

 

Richard Dawkins

A certainly controversial figure coming from evolutionary biology. He is known for his anti-religious public appearances and publications.

Richard Dawkins

What he is less known for inventing the word meme. It comes from his book “The selfish gene” and stands for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene. From an evolutionary point of view a meme has the same attributes: reproduction, selfishness and natural selection.

In this book he methodically goes through a handful of ideas and puts them in parallel with evolution. I found it a nice mental exercise.

Let me quote his take on explaining ball games for the roboticists around here.

“When a man throws a ball high in the air and catches it again. he behaves as if he had solved a set of differential equations in predicting the trajectory of the ball… at some subconscious level, something functionally equivalent to the mathematical calculations is going on.”

And for the sake of completeness, I’m also presenting some of his anti-religious quotes. Be advised, they may make sense!

“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”

“Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.”

“Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.”

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute seminar talks on youtube

I’m always glad to find interesting and inspiring material to watch that is freely available.

In this case, it is about the seminar talks of the Robotics Institute from Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks guys!

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At the moment the playlist counts 77 video of internal talks all shared on youtube available for everyone.

I’m embedding the latest on here that I’ve watched today. Take a sneak-peek:

For the rest, please refer to the playlist of CMU RI:

Robotics: Hephaestus does it again – Inaugural lecture given by Jean-Paul Laumond

In particular, it resonates with the sciences that take living beings, including humans, as their research objects. We can however immediately underline an essential difference: the roboticist has to make robots; the neurophysiologist, the bio-mechanical engineer or the psycho-physicist seeks to understand humans and animals. Words have their significance. The missions differ: while the former have to do, and are condemned to innovating, the latter have to understand, and are condemned to producing knowledge.

This is only a segment of his talk, for the entire lecture go:

http://books.openedition.org/cdf/540?lang=en