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Archive for the ‘robotics’ tag

Jan 22, 2015

First Robotics– Who Are the Celebrities of the Future?

Posted by in categories: lifeboat, science

At the most basic level The FIRST Robotics Competition, founded by inventor Dean Kamen, looks to the future by developing the next generation of the world’s engineers. Many of the students at FIRST go on to work at very influential titans of technology, or at future oriented organizations such as NASA. This documentary on FIRST Robotics is our eighth main piece in our Galactic Public Archives series in which we explore compelling visions of our future from influential individuals. So far, we’ve covered an interesting collection of viewpoints and topics regarding our possible future, ranging from the future of longevity, to the future of search and even the future of democracy. FIRST seemed like a natural opportunity to explore another ‘puzzle-piece’ of what the future might look like. And of course, the competition features Robots, which are an integral piece of any self-respecting utopian or dystopian future. What we did not realize as we started our exploration of the program was that FIRST is not attempting to be a humble building block towards the future. Although only time will tell to what degree it succeeds, it aspires to be a catalyst for much more far-reaching change.

In a society that praises the utmost competitive spirit in all the wrong ways, Inventor Dean Kamen noticed less and less youth using this spirit towards opportunities in math and science, instead aspiring to become celebrities, or sports superstars. In turn, he provided an answer to make kids excited about changing the world through technology. Kamen’s endeavor, FIRST Robotics offers teens a chance, in competition form, to use their skills and teamwork to problem solve a piece of machinery to life.

FIRST was modeled off the allure of professional sports leagues but without – hopefully — the dog eat dog spirit. David Lavery, FIRST Robotics Mentor and NASA Engineer, grew up during the Cold War when competition through technology meant joining in on the race to the moon. An interesting aspect of FIRST’s philosophy, is that as much as it embraces competition, students are also forced to realize that your greatest competitor could – in the future — work as one of your greatest collaborators. This generation may be bombarded with news about Kardashians as opposed to scientists, astronauts and cosmonauts — but what FIRST aims to cultivate, is a hunger to make a difference – made possible now more than ever due to widespread access to information.

Directly and tangentially, the experiment of FIRST both tackles and raises an entire swarth of deeper questions about our future. What values will our culture celebrate in the future? What will the repercussions be of the values that we celebrate today? How much time do we have to solve some of the great challenges looming on the horizon? Will there be enough individuals with the skills required to tackle those problems? To what degree will the ‘fixes’ be technological vs. cultural? How will the longstanding ideological struggle of competition vs. cooperation evolve as the next generations take over? What is the future of education? What is the proper role of a teacher? A mentor? Where does cultural change come from? Where should it come from? It’s an impressive list of questions to be raised by a competition involving robots shooting frisbees. We hope you find it as compelling as we did.

Dec 4, 2014

FIRST Robotics– Who are the celebrities of the future?

Posted by in categories: education, robotics/AI, science

“You get what you celebrate.” In 1989 Dean Kamen created FIRST Robotics to change the culture from one that idolizes entertainment celebrities and sports stars to one that celebrates scientists, engineers and visionaries. Over 20 years later, how much has changed?

Sep 2, 2012

Verne, Wells, and the Obvious Future Part 3

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, counterterrorism, defense, education, engineering, ethics, events, futurism, geopolitics, life extension, media & arts, military, policy, robotics/AI, space, sustainability, transparency

A secret agent travels to a secret underground desert base being used to develop space weapons to investigate a series of mysterious murders. The agent finds a secret transmitter was built into a supercomputer that controls the base and a stealth plane flying overhead is controlling the computer and causing the deaths. The agent does battle with two powerful robots in the climax of the story.

Gog is a great story worthy of a sci fi action epic today– and was originally made in 1954. Why can’t they just remake these movies word for word and scene for scene with as few changes as possible? The terrible job done on so many remade sci fi classics is really a mystery. How can such great special effects and actors be used to murder a perfect story that had already been told well once? Amazing.

In contrast to Gog we have the fairly recent movie Stealth released in 2005 that has talent, special effects, and probably the worst story ever conceived. An artificially intelligent fighter plane going off the reservation? The rip-off of HAL from 2001 is so ridiculous.

Fantastic Voyage (1966) was a not so good story that succeeded in spite of stretching suspension of disbelief beyond the limit. It was a great movie and might succeed today if instead of miniaturized and injected into a human body it was instead a submarine exploring a giant organism under the ice of a moon in the outer solar system. Just an idea.

Continue reading “Verne, Wells, and the Obvious Future Part 3” »


Aug 19, 2012

Artilects Soon to Come

Posted by in categories: complex systems, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, defense, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, information science, military, neuroscience, supercomputing

Whether via spintronics or some quantum breakthrough, artificial intelligence and the bizarre idea of intellects far greater than ours will soon have to be faced.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120819153743.htm

Aug 13, 2012

The Electric Septic Spintronic Artilect

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, military, neuroscience, nuclear, policy, robotics/AI, scientific freedom, singularity, space, supercomputing, sustainability, transparency

AI scientist Hugo de Garis has prophesied the next great historical conflict will be between those who would build gods and those who would stop them.

It seems to be happening before our eyes as the incredible pace of scientific discovery leaves our imaginations behind.

We need only flush the toilet to power the artificial mega mind coming into existence within the next few decades. I am actually not intentionally trying to write anything bizarre– it is just this strange planet we are living on.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813155525.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813123034.htm

Aug 20, 2011

The Nature of Identity Part 3

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

The Nature of Identity Part 3
(Drawings not reproduced here — contact the author for copies)
We have seen how the identity is defined by the 0,0 point – the centroid or locus of perception.

The main problem we have is finding out how neural signals translate into sensory signals – how neural information is translated into the language we understand – that of perception. How does one neural pattern become Red and another the Scent of coffee. Neurons do not emit any color nor any scent.

As in physics, so in cognitive science, some long cherished theories and explanations are having to change.

Perception, and the concept of an Observer (the 0,0 point), are intimately related to the idea of Identity.

Continue reading “The Nature of Identity Part 3” »


Aug 20, 2011

The Nature of the Identity, with Reference to Androids

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

I have been asked to mention the following.
The Nature of The Identity — with Reference to Androids

The nature of the identity is intimately related to information and information processing.

The importance and the real nature of information is only now being gradually realised.

But the history of the subject goes back a long way.

Continue reading “The Nature of the Identity, with Reference to Androids” »


Aug 4, 2011

The Basic Problem

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Most of the threats to human survival come down to one factor – the vulnerability of the human biological body.

If a tiny faction of the sums being spent on researching or countering these threats was to be used to address the question of a non-biological alternative, a good team could research and develop a working prototype in a matter of years.

The fundamental question does not lie in the perhaps inappropriately named “Singularity”, (of the AI kind), but rather in by what means are neural impulses translated into sensory experience – sounds, colors, tastes, odours, tactile sensations.

By what means is the TRANSLATION effected?

Continue reading “The Basic Problem” »