The 50 Best Robots Ever

A nice list of 50 top robots from Wired:

The 50 Best Robots Ever

Some are real, some come from movies. Includes photos of all of them.


Remote-control roaches

Japan's latest innovation: Remote-control roaches are plagued by spammers: "This is no ordinary under-the-refrigerator type bug. This roach has been surgically implanted with a micro-robotic backpack that allows researchers to control its movements. This is Robo-roach."



World of Warcraft bans robots

This fascinates me. We have this incredibly successful game called World of Warcraft, inhabited by 5 million people:

Azeroth: Population 5 million and counting

The state of North Carolina, where I live, has about that many people living in it. It is a lot of people.

The World of Warcraft has banned robots, as you can see in this article:

Blizzard Bans 18,000 World Of Warcraft Accounts: The "third-party programs to farm gold and items" are robots.

The even more interesting part is that World of Warcraft does allow what amounts very nearly to slaves, in China, doing exactly what these programs do. See this post for details. The people in china who are doing the farming make 75 cents an hour working 12 hours a day.

Why do they ban the robots? Because they "can severely impact the economy of a realm and the overall game enjoyment for all players."

Why do they allow the slaves? I do not know. Thoughts?



The End of Moore's Law?

The End of Moore's Law - Microchips are getting smaller - and that's the problem.

"Until recently, Moore's Law, the observation that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every 18 months to two years, seemed a self-fulfilling prophecy. When Intel co-founder Gordon Moore issued his famous prediction 40 years ago, a chip could hold a few dozen transistors. Today, Intel can cram almost 1 billion transistors, each of which is less than 100 nanometers in size, on a single microchip. (One nanometer is 1 millionth of a millimeter?the equivalent of about 100 atoms.)"

It will be interesting to watch and see what the next breakthrough is.



Attractive Virtual Professors Draw Student Attention

Attractive Virtual Professors Draw Student Attention

Very interesting article about the future of robotic education.

See also: Why millions of teachers will soon be out of work.


Fascinating future timeline

Move over to machines - Peek into a reassuring past and an unsettling future

The British Telecom’s futurology department has put out a timeline listing future events and when they will happen. Here's the top 10:This list has some problems. For example, if robots are superior to humans in 2030, then they will be beating humans at soccer in 2030 too. Once robots have the right to vote, humans become irrelevant (because the number of robots will quickly overwhelm the number of humans, and robots will likely vote for robot leaders), so it seems unlikely people will give robots voting rights any time soon. But it does make you think.


Will digital effects ruin Hollywood?

Will digital effects ruin Hollywood?: "To accommodate this digital outsourcing, a movie is split into what amounts to two different productions: the live-action movie that's shot in a studio or on location and the CGI movie that's created on computers. During the live-action part, the star often works on a so-called limbo set, aptly named because the actor is in a sort of limbo stage, standing, for example, in an empty room, wearing a green spandex jumpsuit, and mouthing lines of dialogue - which will later be filled in at a looping session - while holding imaginary objects and reacting to imaginary dangers. The CGI production will 'paint' elaborate costumes on him, fill in ornate walls and furniture behind him, and insert the object he is holding and the enemy who's threatening him. In the live-action phase of Sum of All Fears, for example, the actor Arnold McCuller sang the national anthem in a limbo set and, months later, CGI technicians created a giant football stadium, thousands of cheering fans, and a sky full of fireworks all around him. "

The article talks about the problems that arise from this split between live and digital. It seems obvious where this is heading -- the elimination of the human actors.



Why this brain flies on rat cunning

Why this brain flies on rat cunning: "It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of 'living' computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening.

The 'brain', grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida."



Robotic Foosball

Robotic Foosball

First chess, now foosball, next is soccer and basketball...



Al-Qaeda number three 'killed by CIA spy plane' in Pakistan

Al-Qaeda number three 'killed by CIA spy plane' in Pakistan: "Al-Qaeda's third-ranking leader has been killed by a missile fired by an American drone in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, NBC television news reported yesterday."



Storage Grows in a Flash

Storage Grows in a Flash: "Kevin Teixeira, a spokesperson for Intel, says data storage components, such as hard disks and flash chips, are actually outpacing Moore's Law, the credo that predicts the number of transistors on a chip will double roughly every 18 months. At the same time, the demand for the iPod nano, smart phones, digital cameras, and other devices that use flash memory will keep driving down the price of flash memory components."

For more information on Moore's law, see Robotic Nation. Moore's law is quite agressive -- for a technology to be outpacing it is remarkable. This would mean that, in 2010, digital cameras and iPods with 30GB of flash memory will be common and inexpensive. (of course, 2TB hard disks may be common and inexpensive as well.)

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