Items tagged with robots

Just a few days after Steve Wozniak stirred fears with comments about the inevitability of humans becoming pets for superior robots, the Twittersphere has found further “evidence” that humanity’s end is nigh. A robot at an automotive plant in Germany killed a worker this week and the reporter who first covered the news is named Sarah O’Connor. Lop the “O” off her name, and you have the lead character of the original Terminator movie (and its sequel). Now would probably be a good time for sci-fi fans everywhere to take a collective deep breathe and chill the heck out. The Volkswagon employee apparently... Read more...
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn't the only one envisioning a world where artificially intelligent systems rise up and rule over mankind. So Dr. Stuart Armstrong, an academic at the Future of Humanity at Oxford University. According to Armstrong, we're precariously close to creating computers that will ultimately wipe out mankind, though if it comes as any consolation, they'll have good intentions. "Humans steer the future not because we're the strongest or the fastest, but because we're the smartest," Dr. Armstrong told The Telegraph. "When machines become smarter than humans, we'll be handing... Read more...
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou spoke out at a shareholder’s meeting to set the record straight on comments made at the beginning of the year about robots. It turns out that the era of robot-powered factories isn’t quite as near as the head of Foxconn seemed to imply in February and he’s holding the media responsible for misquoting him. “It should be that in five years, the roots will take over 30 percent of the manpower,” Gou told shareholders this week. Reports earlier in the year indicted that Gou expected 70 percent of assembly line work around 2018, which would likely have had a huge impact on jobs... Read more...
A group of French and American scientists publishing in the science journal Nature are reporting success in their attempt to develop software that allows damaged robots to quickly overcome many sustained injuries and continue with their tasks.  A major problem in robotics has long been the inability of the machines to deal with unexpected circumstances, and in the case of damage suffered in the performing of their duties, they will usually just ignore the problem and thus make the it all the worse. Now, though, with inspiration drawn from nature itself, the scientists... Read more...
Imagine going to the water's edge, wading into the sea, and dragging out...a blue whale. And not an easy to wrangle (comparatively speaking) baby blue whale either, but a fully grown, mature mammalian beast of the sea. This is the equivalency being offered to describe the astounding power of the oh-so-small MicroTug robot. Designed by engineers David Christensen and Elliott Hawkes at the Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab at Stanford University, MicroTugs are tiny robots — some just a measly 9 grams — that are capable of pulling objects that tip the scales at 2000 times their weight. Taking... Read more...
Score a win for the robot species, which will soon be joining Foxconn's flesh and blood workers to help assemble Apple's forthcoming iPhone 6 device. So says Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, who announced the plan at a recent shareholder meeting, adding that Apple will become the first company to use the service. Citing a Chinese-language news report, MacRumors says that each robot -- or "Foxbot," as Foxconn is calling them -- will be responsible for assembling about 30,000 iPhone 6 devices. Foxbots, which are currently in their final testing phase, run $20,000 to $25,000 a pop, with Foxconn planning to... Read more...
Google is now the proud owner of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation. You may have seen some of Boston Dynamics' creations already, especially if you've spent any amount of time browsing YouTube videos -- a 2 minute demonstration of the company's WildCat robot has over 15 million views since being uploaded in the beginning of October. The technology here is very cool. Boston Dynamics has a stable of robots that always seem to defy expectations. They have an incredible sense of balance and, in some cases, absurd speed,... Read more...
Amazon isn't taking any chances with our future robotic overlords. To show that it's willing to play ball under a mechanical regime, Jeff Bezos recently went on "60 Minutes" and unveiled plans to use delivery drones to drop off packages to flesh and blood customers (or "servants," as robots will call them after the uprising). Of course, the logistics of drones is still a ways off, but in the interim, Amazon is turning to robot helpers in its warehouses. The e-commerce site is putting to use its acquisition of Kiva Systems, a company that builds these robot things that can zip shelves full of merchandise... Read more...
The wonderful and terrifying robot future portended by Amazon’s delivery drones isn’t exclusive to the e-tailer giant; Google is getting in on the robot action, too. The company is looking to develop humanoid robots that could perform tasks such as manufacturing electronics, loading up products to ship, and even delivering goods to your front door. Andy Rubin and robots (Credit: Jim Wilson/NYT) Andy Rubin, of Android fame, is heading up the project, and according to a New York Times piece on the subject, the effort is being well-funded by Google, so it’s not just some cute idea... Read more...
Believe it or not, it's earning seasons again, and a company that always seems to make things interesting in this regard is Amazon. While it's stock price is soaring, the past few quarters have shown tremendous revenue with next to no profit. This quarter, however, Amazon didn't manage to make a dime. While Q3 2013 sales were up 24% to $17.09 billion, and operating cash flow increased 48% to $4.98 billion, pure profit was down. All told, Amazon posted a net loss of $41 million in Q3, but in some ways, it's actually being viewed as a positive. Why? Because last Q3 the company posted a loss of $274... Read more...
You've probably heard the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," but did you ever equate it to being prepared for the inevitable robot uprising that will threaten the human race? Probably not, but that isn't stopping a group of Cambridge researchers from at least entertaining the idea. "Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in AI, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme... Read more...
Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) may have finally figured out a solution to all those pesky accusations of poor working conditions that keep popping up in headlines -- robots! The human condition being what it is, workers comprised of blood and guts tend to gripe and moan when employers saddle them with low wages, long hours, tedious tasks, and other things that, collectively, drive some to view suicide as a superior alternative. Fine, have it your way. In the face of (reasonable) complaints, Foxconn president Terry Gou last year said he hoped to replace 1 million living and breathing workers with cold,... Read more...
According to China's Xinhua's news agency, Taiwanese technology bigwig Foxconn (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision) plans to employ 1 million robots in the next three years to help curtail the rising costs of having to play real life humans, and also to improve efficiency. Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, told Xinhua that these metal employees will take up routine tasks like spraying, welding, and assembling, all of which are currently being performed by humans. Foxconn already makes use of 10,000 robots, and will increase that number to 300,000 next year before ultimately reaching... Read more...
The "personal robots" market will explode in the next few years, and we don't mean all over your kitchen. ABI Research expects robots aimed at consumers to create a $19 billion market by 2017. Who wouldn't want one of the two new "personal presence" bots introduced this month by start-ups? Or Panasonic's new hair-washing robot? Vacuum robots have had the most success with consumers so far, but its these types of personal presence robots that ABI thinks will soon take off. "While a truly 'killer app' has yet to emerge in personal robots, security/telepresence and health care-related applications... Read more...
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