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Current Topic: Technology

RE: Guardian Unlimited | Life | Scientists start work on thinking robot
Topic: Technology 8:05 am EDT, Aug 25, 2003

Rattle wrote:
] ] Scientists have been given the biggest ever grant to
] ] build a "conscious robot". The work will not only bring
] ] the scores of intelligent, self-aware machines that
] ] populate science fiction a step closer, it could also
] ] provide valuable clues on how human consciousness
] ] develops.
] ]
] ] "Consciousness is perhaps the last remaining mystery in
] ] understanding what it is to be human," said Owen Holland,
] ] who will lead the work at Essex University. "By
] ] attempting to build physical systems which can produce a
] ] form of artificial consciousness, we hope to learn more
] ] about the nature of consciousness."

Owen Holland is editor of Machine Consciousness. Follow the link on the Guardian news article to see some of the work being done in the field.

RE: Guardian Unlimited | Life | Scientists start work on thinking robot

RE: Sandia team develops cognitive machines
Topic: Technology 7:51 am EDT, Aug 25, 2003

terratogen wrote:
] "Machines accurately infer user intent, remember experiences
] and allow users to call upon simulated experts
] ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A new type of "smart" machine that could
] fundamentally change how people interact with computers is on
] the not-too-distant horizon at the Department of Energy's
] Sandia National Laboratories.
] Over the past five years a team led by Sandia cognitive
] psychologist Chris Forsythe has been developing cognitive
] machines that accurately infer user intent, remember
] experiences with users and allow users to call upon simulated
] experts to help them analyze situations and make decisions."

Accurately inferring user intent is the key to providing a useful assistant. Microsoft's Clippy is real bad at that, which is why people turn off that feature in Office.

RE: Sandia team develops cognitive machines

RE: Japan's big robot project
Topic: Technology 7:10 am EDT, Aug 25, 2003

Decius wrote:
] ] Japanese researchers in robot technology are advocating a
] ] grand project, under which the government would spend 50
] ] billion yen a year over three decades to develop a
] ] humanoid robot with the mental, physical and emotional
] ] capacity of a 5-year-old human.

That would be US$722 million per year for 30 years, several orders of magnitude larger in scope than the Japanese "Fifth Generation Computer Project", a $100 million, eight-year effort to capture the world lead in the field of supercomputers by 1991. The FGCP had a considerable focus on Prolog and AI. It seems unlikely that Japan would undertake a program of this size given their current economic situation.

RE: Japan's big robot project

Silicon Valley
Topic: Technology 6:53 am EDT, Aug 14, 2003

] Tiny remote sensors could reshape research
] The concept is called ``smart dust,'' although the
] instruments are still far bigger than dust motes. More
] formally, it's known as a wireless sensor network.
] ...
] Researchers at UCLA's Center for Embedded Networked Sensing
] want to add another layer to the system: small robots that
] would crawl along cables among the wireless sensors in a
] network. They could move in as needed to take more data,
] snap photos or do chemical analysis.

A network of tiny wireless sensors that move. This adds an entirely new connotation to "bugging a room".

Silicon Valley

RE: Robotic Nation, by Marshall Brain
Topic: Technology 9:07 am EDT, Aug 13, 2003

Decius wrote:
] ] The next step was autonomous, humanoid robots. The
] ] mechanics of walking were not simple, but Honda had
] ] proven that those problems could be solved with the
] ] creation of its ASIMO robot at the turn of the century.
] ] Sony and other manufacturers followed Honda's lead. Over
] ] the course of two decades, engineers refined this
] ] hardware and the software controlling it to the point
] ] where they could create humanoid bodyforms with the grace
] ] and precision of a ballerina or the mass and sheer
] ] strength of the Incredible Hulk.
] Iclough's memeings about robots made me go back and look at
] this essay.
] This was making the rounds a few weeks ago. I ignored it
] because he started off talking about McDonald's Kiosks. We had
] those in Murfreesboro in the early 90's. Hasn't gone anywhere.
] Not exciting...
] However, a fully automated McDonalds is an easy thing to
] imagine. We (finally) can buy robotic lawn mowers. The primary
] problem with these things is battery power. As fuel cells
] become a reality robotic lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners will
] become common place in American homes. People will have their
] weekends free.
] What is a combine but a big lawn mower? Robotic combines are
] already running at Texas A&M. The food gets automatically
] harvested.
] Transportation? They have a Humvee at Georgia Tech that drives
] itself. This can be aided with the right kind of
] infrastructure in the roads. When the time comes, we'll build
] it. The food will move from the farm to the plant
] automatically. Its already processed automatically. Then it
] will move automatically to the store, where a kisok will take
] your order. Cooking it? Easy I think. I'm actually somewhat
] amazed that people still cook fries. The mechanical motion is
] so simple. They really only need a person there to make sure
] that nothing goes wrong... And we're off...
] I agree with the author that we will see a lot of robotics in
] our lives in the next few decades. It will be an important
] growth industry. I also agree that honda's humanoid robot is a
] tremendous achievement.
] However, this article gets several things wrong.
] A leap of logic is made between humanoid robots and robots
] doing human jobs. Many human jobs are a lot more complex then
] we think. Cleaning a room is incredibly complex, when you
] consider how varied the environments can be, and the need to
] ID so many different kinds of objects, and sort them properly.
] This is a tremendous knowledge problem. I will admit that more
] computing power could help you tacle it, but its just an
] example. The point is that human's easily handle situations
] ... [ Read More (0.6k in body) ]

RE: Robotic Nation, by Marshall Brain

RE: Doom as an Interface for Process Management
Topic: Technology 5:13 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2003

Decius wrote:
] ] This paper explores a novel interface to a system
] ] administration task. Instead of creating an interface de
] ] novo for the task, the author modified a popular computer
] ] game, Doom, to perform useful work.

The ACM did a special issue on the use of game engines in
scientific research. In that issue, there is a paper about
the use of Quake III Arena to provide context-aware services.

Communications of the ACM, Volume 45, Issue 1 (January 2002)
SPECIAL ISSUE: Game engines in scientific research

RE: Doom as an Interface for Process Management
Topic: Technology 6:53 am EDT, Aug 12, 2003

] Several years ago the American Society for Artificial
] Intelligence issued a challenge: Build a robot that can
] operate like a conference goer. The robot, dropped off at
] the meeting site had to make its way to the registration
] desk, register for the conference, locate a meeting room
] and deliver a lecture. An autonomous robot named Grace,
] short for Graduate Robot Attending Conference in
] Edmonton, met that challenge last year in Canada.

The related stories are also interesting.

RE: The Man Who Mistook his Girlfriend for a Robot
Topic: Technology 6:40 am EDT, Aug 12, 2003

terratogen wrote:
] It's the fourth day of a scientific conference in Denver—four
] busy February days in a huge rabbit-warren convention center
] with long hallways and fluorescent lighting and serious
] scientists giving serious PowerPoint presentations in darkened
] auditoriums; four days of breakthroughs and advances—nanotech
] to biotech, anthropology to zoology, the whole mind-spinning
] stew. Four days, for the assembled journalists, of making
] sense of it all and banging out stories on the fly—and now
] comes word of what could be a light interlude: Keep an eye out
] for the guy carrying the head. Say what? The robotic human
] head. The press people for the American Association for the
] Advancement of Science, the conference's sponsor, say the
] demonstration's on for tomorrow morning.

Looks just like a scene from Spielberg's "A.I.".

RE: The Man Who Mistook his Girlfriend for a Robot

Wired News: How Robots Will Steal Your Job
Topic: Technology 6:24 am EDT, Aug 11, 2003

] According to [Marshall] Brain's projections, laid out in
] an essay, "Robotic Nation," humanoid robots will be widely
] available by the year 2030, and able to replace jobs
] currently filled by people in areas such as fast-food
] service, housecleaning and retail. Unless ways are found
] to compensate for these lost jobs, Brain estimates that
] more than half of Americans could be unemployed by 2055.
] Dire, indeed. But Brain, a Raleigh, North Carolina,
] father of four and founder of HowStuffWorks, is probably
] not the kind of guy one would expect to see sounding the
] alarm bells over a futuristic robotic revolution.

Brain is his real name.

Wired News: How Robots Will Steal Your Job

Digital Homes
Topic: Technology 7:31 am EDT, Aug  8, 2003

] As devices get smarter, they can identify and adapt to
] individual users in a household, potentially making
] suggestions on everything from what to eat to how to
] dress. "Think of it as the electronic equivalent of an
] English butler," says Emile Aarts, vice-president and
] scientific program director at Philips Research
] Laboratories in Eindhoven. Those concepts may seem
] pie-in-the-sky now, but many are being tested in
] corporate labs -- and some are nearing commercialization.

Let's hope the telecom service providers don't screw this up.

Digital Homes

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