Thursday, February 28, 2008

Robots taking over the world - prepare for either termination or utopia

I find it astounding the number of advances being made in robotics these days. Whether it be the amazing and astounding Auto Breast Massager, or the Bum's Rush device, we are seeing a large amount of things being automated. Are we on the cusp of a new age of robotic enhancement of life as we see in so many sci-fi movies? Or is Sky-Net about to unleash the wrath of AI on us ala Terminator?

Its amazing to see how many scenes in movies that we now see coming into fruition in real life. Nothing like life imitating art I say. Several cases I read about recently spring to mind to illuminate this point.

First we have the NeuroArm - a robotic arm designed to work inside an MRI (Magnet Resonance Imaging) and give the surgeon an unparalleled microscopic view inside the head of the patient. Theoretically, you could use this device remotely to operate on someone's brain, which ties into the other technologies already around that allow doctors to operate on people remotely. This we have seen in previous movies like Alien, Star Trek,

Next up, we have robots designed to help us, like the Wearable Robotic Aid for construction workers. This allows builders, especially when putting up ceilings, to reduce arm fatigue, because if anyone who has tried to put up ceilings has realised, your arms get tired quickly holding them up over your head. This will transmute into big yellow exoskeletons in the future I'm sure, just like Ripley uses in Aliens. Theres also the ones that make our breakfast and pump our gas. They cook our meals, they haul our trash, they connect our calls, they (may) drive our ambulances. We guard us while we sleep. They will fuck with us.

And lets not forget all the robots being designed to blow shit up - the American Defense department is spending US$4 billion over the next few years on unmanned systems. They already have unmanned drones, and computer guided weapons, but next it'll be hunter-killer drones and AI's running the battlefield. Lets only hope that AI ends up being more like the movie of the same name, and Sonny from I Robot, than Terminator and V.I.K.I.

Really - I think we've covered all the bases - automated death machines, automated life giving machines, and automated petrol pumps. What more could a future me want?

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