For decades our best science-fiction writers, government whistle blowers, leading technologists and fear-mongering crackpots alike, have been warning us of the imminent arrival of our "Evil Robot Overlords". That is to say, the arrival, "on the ground", near you, of autonomous and unfriendly artificially intelligent machines of various flavors and descriptions.
This site has been created to help you, the citizen, stay abreast of the ins, outs and general reports of horror, that will no doubt be forthcoming in our unavoidable and, probably, monstrously bloody, clash with our own misbegotten robot progeny.
So, please, make all due use of this resource as we attempt to guide you through the coming post-apocalyptic, dystopic whirlwind, that is, Evil Robot News.
Note: the "Read More" link is your friend.
Also note: the "ShareThis" link at the base of each post
The Management, Evil Robot News dot com
Recently we've seen a lot of stories about robots as couriers. Google, Amazon and other corporate entities have expressed interest in prototyping and experimenting with robotic and drone delivery. Turns out, expectedly, everybody is getting in on the game.
We are going to see the "courier space" for robotic devices expand significantly, and soon. The business, intelligence, science and, let's face it, "prank" spaces are just too tempting to leave unexplored. You think Ashton Kutcher is a douche bag? Wait until you get punked by an evil robot...
What if though, the things that the bonnie wee robot brings are not exactly bowls of free candy?
It seems like not all of Tokyo's robotics engineers are pleased with Prime Minister Abe's statesmanship, surrounding the, quite horrible, "Fukushima problem".
"Japanese authorities have launched an investigation after a small drone reportedly containing traces of radiation was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office, sparking concerns about drones and their possible use for terrorist attacks.
No injuries or damage was reported from the incident on Wednesday. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who is at present in Indonesia, works at the building during the day and commutes from his own private home roughly 15 minutes away.
Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone."
Full Story @ The Guardian
When it comes to waving the flag of community alert around the, frankly obvious, threat of humanity being collectively turned into an ultra-precise mince by Evil Robots, we will take any help that we can get. It's just gravy when this help comes from "high quarters" of intellectual reputation.
The, what I think would be fair to call "imminent", philosopher, Nick Bostrom has expressed his, well considered, concern with the existential risk that might be introduced by the development of what he refers to as "Superintelligence". Again, we appreciate the input of "rarefied minds" in all of this, but frankly, we're taking all comers; seriously...help.
"Over the past year, Oxford University philosophy professor Nick Bostrom has gained visibility for warning about the potential risks posed by more advanced forms of artificial intelligence. He now says that his warnings are earning the attention of companies pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence research.
Many people working on AI remain skeptical of or even hostile to Bostrom’s ideas. But since his book on the subject, Superintelligence, appeared last summer, some prominent technologists and scientists—including Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates—have echoed some of his concerns. Google is even assembling an ethics committee to oversee its artificial intelligence work."
Full Story @ Technology Review
As we've discussed here before, rather than reinvent the proverbial wheel, Evil Robotics Engineers well know that mimicry, Bio-Mimicry to be specific, is often a much shorter route to the subjugation of human-kind. All manner of robots are being created that draw their design and hints of their funtionality from various animal species. In this way, time, resources and effectiveness can be leveraged and also the empathies we have for animal forms can be more effectively played upon.
Under the (U.S.) Army Research Lab’s Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology Collaborative Technology Alliance (MAST), the specific form of mimicry that they are finding the most interest in, in this case, is the quality of insect vision.
"Another kind of approach is the butterfly inspired super-small MAV under development at Johns Hopkins University, Brown University’s fruit bat study, and the “dragonfly” MAV from the German company Festo. All three are engineered to mimic the flight characteristics of their respective namesakes, but they don’t come anywhere near resembling butterflies or dragonflies, or, for that matter, fruit bats.
The Army’s new biomimicry MAV falls into the latter category, but with a twist. The developers aren’t so much interested in the particular mechanics of their MAV’s flight. The real area of biomimicry focus is in the way these MAVs see.
Specifically, Army researchers were attracted by the wide field and high update rate that characterizes insect vision. The goal is to develop a small device that can fly into a building, map the interior in 3D, and provide feedback on movements within the building.
Also distinguishing this project from others is the autonomy of the MAV. The developers, which include Carnegie-Mellon University as well as the US Army Research Laboratory, are aiming for self-guided devices that can act autonomously as team members, rather than requiring hands-on direction."
Full Story @ CleanTechnica
Our good friends at Boston Dynamics, who are it seems, our most prolific regional (Eastern United States) creator of unsettling things; have now added another model to their increasingly high-visibility "Dog Series" of highly mobile, and disturbingly robust, robots.
This smaller, apparently lighter, model is the little brother of the Big Dog. This suggests significant progress in the design, component organization and the overall efficiency of this machine, which is probably a bad thing.
Our College Station correspondent, Lurch, ever vigilant in the South Central Region, was quick to bring this to our attention. We've brought it just as adroitly to yours. What motivates Boston Dynamics, do you think, to forge these little harbingers of doom? That is to say, where does its ultimate market lie, would you think? They would, no doubt, be making similar robots just for fun, but at this level of expertise and complexity, they no doubt see a lucrative production market somewhere in their future. Again, what might be your best guess as to where that market might lie? An open ended question; we will give you time to consider while we soothe you with a little "ERN Shock Doctrine"...
Look out now!
All sorts of more unsettling things to be found in our search bar, and at Evil Robot Central [Well publicly accessible Evil Robot Central anyway, you know what it is...] @ Boston Dynamics
The long and winding road of electronics theory and engineering and the discrete electrical components that it has relied on are surprisingly stable; resistors, capacictors, inductors, etc. and, of course, the famous transistor.
We've made a great deal of progress with the increased level of skill, materials-knowledge and intricacy with which we've engineered these devices over the years, on the whole though, the "toolbox" has remained remarkably consistent.
It's worthwhile noting though, that there is a relative new kid on the block, who may not only ammend the way we look at electronics, but indeed, may begin to allow the electronics to look back at us...
Meet the Memristor:
A lot of times, one thinks of being crushed by a giant titanium claw or being ground into hamburger by clobbering, servo-driven fists when one thinks of demise at the hands of Evil Robots. There is a growing "liliputian" aspect to the whole scheme that is sometimes overlooked though.
Imagine if you were to go to sleep one night, only to awaken to the terrible realization that a swarm of tiny collaborative robots have constructed a cage around your unconscious form! Seems to be well in the realm of science fiction, no?
Well, as it turns out, such a scenario is ever closer to non-fiction. The fantastically clever minds at SRI International are busy as can possibly be bringing the potential of this type of technology into eye watering focus.
"Take a look at the speed of these micro-robots, created by SRI International; a swarm of up to 1,000 of the tiny robots can work together on tasks.
(Magnetically Actuate Micro-Robots)
The research powerhouse says the bots can construct lightweight, high-strength structures; handle tiny electrical components; carry out chemistry on a chip; and perform many other manufacturing tasks. Eventually, they expect that the machines, the smallest of which are no thicker than a dime, will even be able to build smaller versions of themselves."
Full Story @ Technovelgy
You might expect a gnarling tungsten-carbide saw blade, or a dull weapon barrel that spurts forth highly energized plasma or a vicious nerve gas to be the method by which you might be utterly destroyed at the whim of an Evil Robot. We suspect that all of these scenarios, actually, will come to pass.
You shouldn't lose site though of the much more insidious end of the stick, as it were; the development of a deft, supra-intelligent even...delicate simulacra of the human hand itself.
Our ever vigilant Pelham Bay correspondent: Snackwrap is always suspicious of badly behaving machines, especially hands, and pointed out this unsettling example we see here below.
"Shadow, however, is extremely life-like in its demonstrations. It’s a tad bit slow at times, and it lacks tactile feedback, but watching it in action you can almost imagine its human. Of course, Shadow Dextrous Hand weighs a bit more (4kg), is made of aluminum, resin, and polycarbonate, and has twenty motors. Still, seeing the sort of advanced movements and controls in this hand make me believe that fully functional humanoid robots aren’t that crazy of a dream." [ ERN - Not a dream, no. We can assure you though it will be very...very crazy... ]
@ 01:24 - "Coochie, Coochie, CRUNCH!"
Full Story @ Singularity Hub
Evil Robotics, myth or reality? Well, the tide of growing concern rises. On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 The United Nations held its first multinational convention on "lethal autonomous weapons systems".
How this has taken so long to come about, we cannot imagine. We would say it is well behind the curve. Upside? At least the venerable body has been willing to put down its tumblers of 20 year scotch and japanese steak knives to at least sit down and have a little confab about the end of the world as we know it.
Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere, schnell!
" Has the age of the Robocop and Terminator arrived? The U.N. thinks it might be around the corner [ ERN - Whaaaat!? two hour lunch break? Oooooooh, Aristo-Bureaucrats; really, just too cheeky ]...
On Tuesday, the world body holds its first-ever multinational convention on 'lethal autonomous weapons systems.'
While fully autonomous weapons don’t really exist yet, some attendees at the convention—like the coalition of non-governmental organizations calling itself the 'Campaign to Stop Killer Robots' —will argue that technology is moving fast in the direction of creating them. South Korea, for example, already deploys semi-autonomous machine-gun robots outside its demilitarized zone with North Korea. The Israeli Defense Forces also operates similar robotic guns on several of its borders. "
Full Story @ WSJ - Digits