Tuesday 25th of June 2024

killer robots...


robotic maid

The tale of new technologies causing the death of work is the prophecy that keeps on giving.

Despite evidence to the contrary, we still view technological change today as being more rapid and dramatic in its consequences than ever before.

The mistaken view that robots will take our jobs may come from a human bias to believe that "we live in special times".

An absence of knowledge of history, the greater intensity of feeling about events which we experience first-hand, and perhaps a desire to attribute significance to the times in which we live, all contribute to this bias.

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The cartoon at top (detail) by Nuttall was published in Melbourne Punch, 1913. This explained how the new "electric home" could be used to get rid of unwanted visitors, including thieves, cats, lovers, while helping automatise cooking and baby care. 

Meanwhile, we have delegated more of our warring to killer robots...


synthetic cognition...


The Los Alamos National Laboratory sits at the top of a mountain range in the high desert of northern New Mexico. It is a long, steep drive to get there from the capital city of Santa Fe, through the Tesuque Indian Reservation, over the Rio Grande, and into the Santa Fe National Forest. I am headed to the laboratory of Dr. Garrett T. Kenyon, whose program falls under the rubric of synthetic cognition, an attempt to build an artificial brain.

Roboticists define artificial brains as man-made machines designed to be as intelligent, self-aware and creative as humans. No such machine yet exists, but Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) scientists like Dr. Kenyon believe that, given the rapid advances in DARPA technologies, one day soon they will. There are two technologies that play key roles in advancing artificial intelligence, and they are computing, which involves machines, and neuroscience, which involves the human brain.

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automated jobs... automated weapons...

Another paper from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) predicts that in Britain, finance and accounting, transport and distribution, and media marketing and advertising could suffer heavy losses in the next decade. Yet another report claims one in three British jobs are on the chopping block.

As for the Majority World, nothing to whistle about. A study building on World Bank data predicts an even worse situation, with the most populous nations, China, and India having 77 and 69 per cent respectively of jobs deemed ‘high risk’. Uzbekistan leads this dubious ranking at 85 per cent. Such predictions are based on a combination of assumptions. One, that the low-wage labour advantage of Global South manufacturers disappears, with automation allowing purchasing countries to bring production back to their own shores. Two, that increasing automation in poorer countries would displace larger numbers of jobs than in the West.

There are of course opposing views that hold that, given time, new technology will create different kinds of jobs, or usher in an age of plenty where work will matter less. These are incredibly benevolent predictions, when one considers the job-creation record of new technology industries. In the US, just 0.5 per cent of the work force has been able to shift to them from other sectors.

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Who would be stupid enough to give the power of life-and-death decisions to weapons – and then release them? Why, that would be the great nations of America, Russia, China and Israel. And they are just the front-runners for the new breed of Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) aka Killer Robots. That’s why a large coalition of international disarmament organizations began the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots aimed at persuading the UN to write an international, legally binding treaty that will prohibit their use and development.

No, you haven’t just woken up in 2050 with a bad hangover. It’s happening now, in 2017. This is not the rise of killer robots threatening our very existence – not yet. It is the development of new weapons designed and programmed to hunt for targets and kill them without human supervision. But let’s take a step back and I’ll explain.

At the start of the new millennium, the US eyed the rapidly evolving robotics technology and saw the military potential for autonomous killing machines. Think-tanks and roadmap writers for the US army, navy and air force were all over it. New tech would give America the destructive edge now that other nations had caught up with the production of missile technology.

It began with sabre rattling but soon other nations were worried about what they heard and began thinking about making such weapons as well. By 2006, DARPA (the US Department of Defense agency responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military) produced the CRUSHER, a 6,000 kg six-wheeled autonomous ground combat vehicle, as a proof-of-concept prototype. Then came a whole slew of developments across the globe – autonomous ships, submarines, ground combat vehicles and fighter jets. The race for fully Autonomous Weapons had begun. Now the stakes are high and 19 nations have called for an immediate prohibition of AWS at the UN. But proponents of the weapons have tried to slow the momentum towards a treaty by pushing a number of myths: including the five listed below.


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meanwhile, in regard to the cartoon at top...

THE craze for sex robots will lead to a growing number of men whose only sexual and romantic relationships will be with dolls, academics say.

So-called "digisexuals" will shun human partners in favour of the new kind of virtual reality porn and customisable robots able to speak and interact.

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the majestic falconbot...


The bird, apparently a female falcon, wheels into view 100 feet over Edmonton International Airport, flapping her wings — hunting behavior. She pursues a flock of starlings, which scatter into the safety of the woods. The falcon is majestic, graceful and resolute.

She is also a machine — a battery, sensors, GPS, barometer and flight control computer stuffed into a falcon-shaped, hand-painted exterior. A human on the ground controls her wings.

The Robird patrols the skies around the airport, in Alberta, Canada. Her mission is to mimic falcon behavior in order to head off a serious threat to aviation: the bird strike, which happens when a bird or flock collides with an airplane. The Robird doesn’t actually catch any prey. Its job is to alert birds to the presence of a predator, herd them away from the airport, and teach them to prefer a less dangerous neighborhood.

Small birds do little damage to a plane, even if they are sucked into an engine (“ingested” is the aviation term). But a large bird, or sometimes a flock of small ones, can bend or break engine blades.

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soon, the aussie robotic cartoons - back in the 1950s...




basic income...


Dmitriy Sudakov


Will robots steal our jobs?

They certainly will. Robots work efficiently; do not complain about work conditions, and save money. Robots ease the burden of physical labour on humans, but they also remove opportunities for humans to earn a living. If the economy creates new jobs for those who lost them to robots, then robots are good for the economy and for the people. The problem is that the politicians in capitalism talk a lot about the elimination of unemployment but practice does not follow their words. Unemployed people struggle to [make] ends meet and that means robots might not be a perfect choice to them, and then to society as well.


This raised an idea: if robots take peoples' jobs, then the government will have to pay people's wages. An escape from the social and economic problems would be solved by the Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from a government. This would certainly help deprived people live better and market economy growth.

Basic Income (BI) is an old noble idea exposed by many social thinkers and philosophers through the history of humankind. The realisation of the idea started recently in small disadvantaged communities around the world. In the US, Milton Friedman proposed "negative income tax" in 1960-is which was supposed to simplify the welfare system and bring benefits to society. According to the reports it did not bring noticeable improvements to the overall well-being of the people.

The experiments were more successful in poor countries like Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, and India, where basic income improved the life of selected poor people. Such experiments were actually not necessary because the results could be well anticipated before experiments started. Searching how to find a permanent money supply for BI would be a much better thing to do. Anyway, BI pilot experiments are going to continue in Ontario, Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Scotland, and many others countries, where a number of poor people are going to receive a basic income.

See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/columnists/05-12-2017/139281-0/


nothing new: outsourcing to a robot...

Too tired to make your own cup of coffee in the morning? Soon, you could outsource it to the help: robots.

New software out of MIT will teach robots to do your least favorite household chores — just like in “The Jetsons.”

Computer scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have unveiled “Virtual Home,” a system that demos the robotic “agents” performing such tasks as turning on the TV, using the toaster or placing a pot on the stove.

Robots, it turns out, require more detailed instructions than humans would. For example, instead of “Get me a glass of water, please,” you’d ask a robot to stand up, walk toward the cabinet, pick up a glass, close the cabinet, turn on the faucet, hold the cup under the stream of water and walk the full cup over to the thirsty human in question.


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robots are white, male and have a gun...

Have you ever wondered why you rarely see a brown or black robot?

A couple of researchers at Monash University in Melbourne and Canterbury University in New Zealand were having trouble finding any — why were all the robots white?

It led them to investigate whether people ascribe race to robots, and if this changed their behaviour towards them.

What they discovered was that humans carry their racial biases over to robots.

The shooter bias paradigm — applied to robots

"If you ask anybody, 'Are you racist?' of course they will say no," said Dr Christoph Bartneck, one of the study's authors and a professor at the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Instead, the researchers adapted a research tool called the "shooter bias" paradigm

This is where the participants are asked to play the role of a police officer.

They are then shown images of people and they have to decide whether to shoot at the person or not.


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assisting to your own funeral...

On top of planning your pension and future financial security, now’s the time to put money aside for downloading your brain data, according to a leading futurologist who says we’ll be attending our own funerals as robots by 2050.

Dr Ian Pearson, who has a self-proclaimed 85 percent accuracy record when looking 10 to 15 years ahead, says humans will one day (and in the not too distant future) hook their minds up to external machines while alive to boost intelligence, improve memory and sensory capacity.

READ MORE: Henry Kissinger pens ominous warning on dangers of artificial intelligence

External IT capabilities mean the technology can connect to your brain seamlessly so it feels exactly the same, says Pearson. Furthermore, the scientist says that when you physically die, almost all of your brain will still be functioning... as a machine.  

“By around 2050, 99 percent of your mind is running on external IT rather than in the meat-ware in your head,"claimed Pearson in his blog, Futerizon.


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My cartoon strip in the 1980s was going to be "furturon". I became to busy to cary on beyond the first few strips...  Read from top.

AI for a great political future...

More than a quarter of Europeans would rather have their countries’ important political decisions made by artificial intelligence than their elected and unelected human officials, according to a surprising new survey.

Fully one in four Europeans said they were “somewhat or totally in favor of letting an artificial intelligence make important decisions about the running of their country,” a number that climbed to one in three for the Netherlands, UK, and Germany, according to a survey by the Center for the Governance of Change, a tech-focused research group from IE University in Spain. The figures remained constant across education levels, gender, and political affiliation, indicating either Europeans are abnormally welcoming of their new robot overlords – or they’re sick of their human ones.



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As long as the Artificial Intelligence's settings are for peace, honesty and fairness, we're in business.


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the robot had enough of being treated like shit...

“The new robots at Boston Dynamics keep getting more and more sophisticated,” the creators of the video wrote, as if trying to trick gullible viewers into thinking that Atlas, a bipedal humanoid robot designed by the infamous DARPA contractor has finally had enough of it.

Moments later, the robot freezes in place and suddenly kicks one of the abusers in the crotch and unleashes a series of impressive karate kicks at another. The machine then draw a gun on its attackers and chases them away.

To a mix of disappointment and relief, at the end of clip, the audience is shown that no robots were harmed during the making of the video, and that the entire production was created using CGI and green-screen technology. But since the real Atlas is already capable of running on uneven surfaces, righting itself after being knocked over, jumping, and even executing backflips – it is not surprising that many have accepted the idea of an inevitable AI uprising.


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At least it's robot versus robot in the arena... Some of these robots are full sized-humans...


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studying the ethics of artificial intelligence

The largest single donation to a UK university has been given to Oxford for a new institute that will study the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Stephen Schwarzman, a US private equity billionaire who has advised Republican presidents including Donald Trump, has given the university £150m. 

A new building for the study of humanities will house the institute. 

The UK government said it was a "globally significant" investment in Britain. 

Governments 'utterly unprepared'

At a time when universities face uncertainty over research funding because of Brexit, this is a major financial coup for the University of Oxford. 

Mr Schwarzman, the chief executive of the private equity firm Blackstone, is one of America's best known billionaires.

In the past, his lavish lifestyle as a Wall Street financier has attracted criticism, but more recently he has also become a major donor to education. 

Mr Schwarzman told the BBC he was giving the money to Oxford because artificial intelligence was the major issue of our age. 

"At the moment, most governments are utterly unprepared to deal with this, and why would they be, it's a different type of technology," he said.


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Read from top. Gus is in favour of AI taking over from the heartless politicians. There would be more chance of implementing equality and compassion, with far less corruption. 


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writing fake news: even the picture is fake...


An artificial intelligence system that generates realistic stories, poems and articles has been updated, with some claiming it is now almost as good as a human writer.

The text generator, built by research firm OpenAI, was originally considered "too dangerous" to make public because of the potential for abuse.

But now a new, more powerful version of the system - that could be used to create fake news or abusive spam on social media - has been released.

The BBC, along with some AI experts, decided to try it out.

The model, called GPT-2, was trained on a dataset of eight million web pages, and is able to adapt to the style and content of the initial text given to it. 

It can finish a Shakespeare poem as well as write articles and epithets.

At the time, the firm said: "Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model. As an experiment in responsible disclosure, we are instead releasing a much smaller model for researchers to experiment with."

As a result, the released version had far fewer parameters - phrases and sentences - than used during training.


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The picture that illustrates this article is "fake"... AI does not use a keyboard to write stories fake or true. AI goes straight from programme to output. 


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robotic accountability... and fake WTF pixels...

People need to be held accountable for the mistakes AI and algorithms make on their behalf, such as that seen in the government’s robodebt scandal, according to Australian human rights commissioner Ed Santow.

The proposal comes in a new discussion paper on the impact of new technologies on human rights in Australia, released by the commission on Tuesday.

After the Australian government backed down on the use of automatic debt notices based on income averaging, and had legislation for its facial recognition system rejected by a government-dominated parliamentary committee, Santow said it was time to set some rules to govern how these new technologies are used.

“Robodebt is just a prominent example of data science and government AI being used in decision-making,” he said.


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A fake, computer-generated social media influencer and ‘musician’ Lil Miquela has irked some of her 1.8 million followers and many others online after claiming she was “sexually assaulted.”

Dubbed the first virtual influencer, Lil Miquela is part influencer, pushing a variety of clothing brands, part activist, vocally supporting Black Lives Matter and LGBT+ rights, and part dystopian nightmare. 

Her bio describes her as a change-seeking robot and she is the product of an odd AI startup called Brud, whose website consists of a view-only Google document in which the company claims to be based in LA and makes ‘story worlds’ that “create a more tolerant world by leveraging cultural understanding and technology.”

The company also claims that Miquela is as real as Rihanna.” However, last week the people behind Miquela invoked the wrath of Twitter through an utterly grotesque vlog in which she describes being sexually assaulted by a man during a rideshare, despite being made of pixels.


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