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Robots All Around Us - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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August 3rd, 2009


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01:46 pm - Robots All Around Us
While we (thankfully) don't have flying cars, robot chefs are another feature of 1950s & 60s predictions for the future, and they are here (link grabbed from andrewducker). The video is amazing.



On a slightly more chilling note, there's also now some discussion going on about the use of autonomous war robots (ie actual war robots, rather than teleoperate weapons). I'm all for the use of teleoperate weapons, since fewer soldiers are at risk - however autonomous war robots seems like an idea far more fraught with risk. In any case, this is the world we live in, and this is just the beginning for robots being used outside of factories (where they are now common place).

There are also starting to be serious discussions about the impact of true artificial intelligence. I'm still betting we won't see actual AI for 20-25 years, but I wouldn't be shocked to see it in 15.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:pompe
Date:August 3rd, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Heh. Predicting is hard, especially about the future. ,-)
[User Picture]
From:maxomai
Date:August 3rd, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Speaking as someone who worked in AI and has a pretty extensive academic background in the subject (it was the focus of my graduate work), I would be very surprised if we found true AI in my lifetime. The symbolic/Cartesian/Kantian approach was broken before we ever got started (as Hubert Dreyfus, a Heidegger fan, successfully predicted), and the neural net approach needs a hell of a lot of work before we can even get a reasonable artificial cockroach brain, let alone a being with the self-awareness of our primitive ancestors.
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From:heron61
Date:August 3rd, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
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I'm personally very intrigued by the recent attempts at brute force brain simulation, and wonder where they might lead.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 3rd, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
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Nothing earth-shaking or even particularly surprising other than that researchers are now seriously discussing the implications of actual AI and more of them believe that it will be possible in the medium-term future. You've got reactions from jubilation to worry (including awareness of the obvious fact that even something that only approximates an AI could automate office work to the level that factory work has been automated, which will have a vast impact on first world work. Here's the meat of it:
While the computer scientists agreed that we are a long way from Hal, the computer that took over the spaceship in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” they said there was legitimate concern that technological progress would transform the work force by destroying a widening range of jobs, as well as force humans to learn to live with machines that increasingly copy human behaviors.

The researchers — leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists who met at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on Monterey Bay in California — generally discounted the possibility of highly centralized superintelligences and the idea that intelligence might spring spontaneously from the Internet. But they agreed that robots that can kill autonomously are either already here or will be soon.

They focused particular attention on the specter that criminals could exploit artificial intelligence systems as soon as they were developed. What could a criminal do with a speech synthesis system that could masquerade as a human being? What happens if artificial intelligence technology is used to mine personal information from smart phones?

The researchers also discussed possible threats to human jobs, like self-driving cars, software-based personal assistants and service robots in the home. Just last month, a service robot developed by Willow Garage in Silicon Valley proved it could navigate the real world.

A report from the conference, which took place in private on Feb. 25, is to be issued later this year. Some attendees discussed the meeting for the first time with other scientists this month and in interviews.
Also, on a somewhat darkly amusing front, the article finishes with:
Despite his concerns, Dr. Horvitz said he was hopeful that artificial intelligence research would benefit humans, and perhaps even compensate for human failings. He recently demonstrated a voice-based system that he designed to ask patients about their symptoms and to respond with empathy. When a mother said her child was having diarrhea, the face on the screen said, “Oh no, sorry to hear that.”

A physician told him afterward that it was wonderful that the system responded to human emotion. “That’s a great idea,” Dr. Horvitz said he was told. “I have no time for that.”
[User Picture]
From:kitten_goddess
Date:August 4th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
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Sheesh. I'm so glad I'm not a patient of Dr. Horvitz's! Empathy is far more than just burbling a socially acceptable response.

[User Picture]
From:siderea
Date:August 4th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
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however autonomous war robots seems like an idea far more fraught with risk.

Pish tush. It's not like we have fifty to a hundred years of sci fi extrapolating what could go wrong with autonomous armament or anything.

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