Posts Tagged ‘robotics’


3D Printing & Hope for the Future

by adminadam in videos

The gentleman in this here TED Talk leads with the astonishing and shocking statistic of the global dearth of adequate shelter: Over 1 Billion of us live in ramshackle, unsafe, and inadequate housing. Shelter is a fundamental need and construction is currently a costly, dirty, inefficient, and corruption-prone enterprise. Enter the new age of 3D-printed housing. Cheap, sturdy, adaptable, and fast!


Extropy +20: Waste-Powered Robots

by adminadam in articles

From Scientific American — Check this out! Robots that can digest biological matter, and even human waste. Great potential on long space missions. It’s a seemingly overlooked area of energy extraction for machines in general. Remember how The Matrix machines used solar energy, then switched to biological/heat energy from humans once we blotted out the sky..? That’s right! We are merely quickening our own demise! Isn’t that swell?

“Today’s robots that fly, jump or roll around must refuel or recharge as does any gadget that runs out of energy. Tomorrow’s new generation of self-sustaining robots might keep going nearly forever by grazing on dead insects, rotting plant matter or even human waste. The vision of robots capable of plugging themselves into the natural world of living organisms has begun taking shape in several labs around the world…”

Not only does it have robotic potential, but the fantastical transhumanist mind would surely sense a diamond in the rough here, too; Just image you’ve uploaded your mind, and whether you are cloud-based or personal-server-based you need at least one source of renewable energy, preferably with FEW mechanical parts that can fail… Now we can bet that biological processes will last on Earth for a long time, much longer than human life for sure, and that wind-mills, nuclear plants, and solar panels can and will all fail. What else would you want to rely on but self-moderating power systems such as these..?

“… The first EcoBot (created in 2003) was powered by E. coli bacteria feeding on refined sugar. Then “EcoBot-II” (2005) harnessed sludge microbes to break down dead flies, prawn shells and rotten apples. Finally, “EcoBot-III” (2010) showed how a “digesting” robot could also dump its leftover waste, so that its microbes wouldn’t be poisoned by their own filth and could keep powering the robot. …”

Now whether you’re worried about a robot takeover or alternatively just expect humans to become more robotic to maintain planetary dominance, power generation is going to be a major issue in the future. And it’s likely to move in this direction, simply because of the freedom from the grid (autonomy) and the reduced risk of mechanical failure in power systems (resiliency). These traits are fundamental to future(istic) power systems. The waste-power arms race is on!

( Source: Feb 5, Scientific American )


Extropy +4: Simulating Robot Evolution

by adminadam in home, quotes, videos

“The total disorder in the universe, as measured by the quantity that physicists call entropy, increases steadily over time. Also, the total order in the universe, as measured by the complexity and permanence of organized structures, also increases steadily over time.” — Freeman Dyson


The Four Laws of Robotics

by adminadam in articles, home

With increasingly subtle moves, the players in Asimov’s epic Foundation and Earth are confronted with the daunting decision of whether to initiate an all-encompassing ethical framework, one which just might direct humanity into an acceptable future. The agents of change go unnamed for those who have yet to read it.

Dr. Isaac Asimov, in his Foundation series (also iRobot), first places these principles:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The Zeroth Law (0th) is added by another powerful mind (still some 20,000 years before the grand finale and the end of the series in Foundation and Earth):

  • A robot may not harm humanity, or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except when required to do so in order to prevent greater harm to humanity itself.
  • A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law or cause greater harm to humanity itself.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law or cause greater harm to humanity itself.

The Zeroth Law really puts everything into perspective, adding a new level of consideration and calculation; within this framework, every thought, word, and action for robot-kind needs exquisite justification. In Foundation and Earth, we see just how much extra crunching is necessary, evident in the many hardware updates Daneel Olivaw has to go through to keep up with the data produced by a galactic human civilization at a very tenuous place in history. So as not to spoil this epic 7-book series (by my count), I will just give you a recommended reading order, one which allows for ‘optimal absorption of foundational elements’ and also a thorough understanding of the elegantly intricate possible-future-history of humanity that Asimov has created. Here follows what I believe should trump every other sci-fi reading list you may currently have:

  1. Foundation (1951)
  2. Foundation and Empire (1952)
  3. Second Foundation (1953)
  4. Prelude to Foundation (1988)  [prequel #1]
  5. Forward the Foundation (1993)  [prequel #2]
  6. Foundation’s Edge (1982)  [epilogue #1]
  7. Foundation and Earth (1986)  [epilogue #2]

Recent Applications of the Three Laws of Robotics:

  • A modified version of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics has been submitted for approval in Japan to govern the actions of robots in the near-future.
  • Motorola has purchased security company 3LM so that it can provide better security for the Android Phone OS. 3LM stands for the 3 Laws of Mobility, being: 1) Protect the user from malicious code or content, 2) Protect the device itself by securing data and communications, and 3) Obey the user unless this would cause a security problem. [Sounds now like Google has purchased Motorola Mobility. Hopefully they will apply the 3LM in the best, most non-evil ways…]