Georgia Tech building 'Decepticons'

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Referenced Article(s):
"Georgia Tech building 'Decepticons'" written by Allison Barrie, War Games:, Published December 10, 2012. [link]

Allison Barrie, writes:

"Military robots employing deception would hardly be the first subterfuge in warfare [...] Equipping robots with the ability to deceive each other -- not to mention humans -- is rife with ethical issues"

Blay Whitby replies:

Ronald Arkin of the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing is in the news for his application of decoy techniques, such as those used by squirrels, in robots. Arkin’s research, funded by the Office of Naval Research, will almost certainly eventually be applied in the form of deceitful military robots of various sorts.

In this article, Arkin is quoted as saying that ‘When these research ideas and results leak outside the military domain, significant ethical concerns can arise’. Arkin is certainly correct to say that this research raises many problematic ethical issues. However, he is far from correct to say that ethical issues arise only outside the military domain.

NASA & ESA successfully test ‘interplanetary Internet’ connection

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Referenced Article(s):
"NASA & ESA successfully test 'interplanetary Internet' connection" written by Sean Ludwig, Venturebeat, 10th November 2012. [link]

Sean Ludwig,, writes:
"One of the coolest parts of building the interplanetary Internet was how the programs tested it. Space Station Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams used a laptop on the International Space Station to control a Lego robot in Germany."

Terry Fong replies:

Although the article uses the catch phrase "Interplanetary Internet" and an image from the movie "E.T.", to grab the reader's attention, the article is fairly accurate. NASA is developing "Disruption Tolerant Networking" (DTN) to enable "Internet-like" communications with space vehicles, remote planetary habitats, robots, etc. in the presence of intermittent link connectivity. One thing, however, that is misleading: controlling a Lego robot (on Earth) from the space station is not a NASA mission per se. The robot test was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of its METERON project. NASA provided DTN support to the test.

Need a hand? Wearable robot arms give you two

Friday, 23 November 2012

Referenced Article(s):
"Need a hand? Wearable robot arms give you two" written by Hal Hodson, New Scientist, 1st November 2012. [link]

Hal Hodson, New Scientist, writes:
"If you fancy an extra pair of hands, why not take a leaf out of Dr Octopus's book? A pair of intelligent arms should make almost any job a lot easier."

Matt Mason replies:

"Despite the Dr. Octopus reference and the Hollywood imagery, the New Scientist article gets it right.  The Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRL) project explores interesting territory.  For precedents, one would consider prosthetic limbs, exoskeletons, artistic projects, or existing common tools.  The most relevant artistic project is Stelarc's Third Hand.  On the other hand (whoops), a search for "third hand" turns up a variety of simple bench tools for holding work.  The SRL project falls somewhere in between, exploring the use of a third and fourth hand as tools to assist in, for example, aircraft manufacturing".

"Scientists Finally Make A Smart Move By Giving Robots Bee Brains Rather Than Human Ones"

Friday, 2 November 2012

Referenced Articles:
"Scientists Finally Make A Smart Move By Giving Robots Bee Brains Rather Than Human Ones" written by Anna Phillips,, October 3rd 2012. [link]

Anna Phillips,, writes:

"...luckily some scientists are no so eager to send humanity into that long goodnight and have instead decided to make robots with the intelligence of bees, something that will most certainly make the robots jerks but not bent on world destruction, we hope at least."

Alan Winfield replies:

"Rather than building some Frankensteinian killer robot bee, the project has an altogether different vision. As the project summary concludes “developing a better understanding of the honeybee may prove to be important in its own right as bees are a key pollinator in most ecologies and hence a 'keystone species' and vital for food security".

"Autonomous Cars - are we getting there?"

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Referenced Articles:
"Driverless cars - political hot potato?" written by Brian Albright, Engineering On The Edge, August 16th 2012. [link]

"Will Robot Cars Get Stuck in Policy Traffic?" written by Joseph Coughlin, Huffington Post, August 19th 2012. [link]

Joseph F. Coughlin, Huffington Post, writes:

"Even after the considerable technological development is complete, it is unlikely that any of us will be jumping into our robotic roadster anytime soon. The technological barriers are likely to pale in contrast to the policy, market, and consumer challenges to the driverless car."

[A] gradual introduction of technology is likely to be important to long-term adoption of the technology. There is no doubt driverless cars are the way of the future. It allows us to reduce the number of accidents, we can utilize infrastructure more effectively, and drivers can use commute time to do texting, read email, and whatever else would be a more productive use of their time.

"Should we extend legal rights to social robots?"

Monday, 24 September 2012

Referenced Article:
"Should we extend legal rights to robots?" written by Lauren Davis, io9, September 9th 2012. [link]

Lauren Davis, io9, writes:

"Social robots may not have the ability to feel pain, but humans are quite capable of feeling discomfort when a robot is struck or kicked. On a more pragmatic level, though, as social robots are increasingly made to mimic living creatures, it may become difficult for people, especially young children, to distinguish between robots and animals."

 Kerstin Dautenhahn replies:

It’s not the robots we should worry about, it’s about the children and their perception of reality, emotions, relationships and friendship, and to make sure that robots are being used responsibly so that they empower humans, as social creatures, rather than reducing them to the role of caretakers of robots.

"Soon, space robots like Curiosity may evolve even greater intelligence"

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Referenced Article:
"Soon, space robots like Curiosity may evolve even greater intelligence" written by Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Venture Beat, August 6th 2012. [link]

Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Venture Beat writes:
"Through radical advances in processors including quantum computing, on-board decision making and exponential learning, a robotic intelligence on Mars may eventually “wake up.” How will we know? A sign might be when we tell the rover to go a certain direction, and it disagrees, and then goes a different way based on its own interest. One day, Curiosity itself may become curious."

Illah Nourbakhsh replies:

Science will be done by scientists for the foreseeable future, and AI and Learning have a very long infancy before they begin to best the human intellect for wonder, hypothesis, experimentation and discovery. Science fiction is not only entertaining, but it sets up tall poles for real engineers and scientists to overcome.