Posts Tagged ‘ singularity ’

The MDS Robot

Meet Nexi, the first Mobile Dextrous Social (MDS) Robot, developed at MIT.

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a cross between Pinocchio and I, Robot‘s NS-5.

The MDS Robot is now commercially available by Xitome Design.


The case for robot ethics

W I R E D | Do Humanlike Machines Deserve Human Rights?

This question is starting to get debated by robot designers and toymakers. With advanced robotics becoming cheaper and more commonplace, the challenge isn’t how we learn to accept robots—but whether we should care when they’re mistreated. And if we start caring about robot ethics, might we then go one insane step further and grant them rights?

Domo w/banana (Rodney Brooks, MIT)

Robot ethics“. It’s an interesting question, and I think Daniel Roth (the essayist) does a good job of describing what’s at stake.



It’s not really about whether we’ve reached the point and/or are likely to ever reach the point when robots are created with the cognitive capacity to become self-aware and sentient. It’s at what point we’ve anthropomorphized them enough for us to feel compassionate towards them.

technology abuse“: “As technology develops animal-like sophistication, finding the thin metallic line between what’s safe to treat as an object and what’s not will be tricky.”


OK, so it’s not to say that the point at which machines can match human intellect wouldn’t be a defining moment for this argument. Just that the argument can be made without relying on it as an inevitability. Until someone can raise the level of credibility of the Singularity beyond the mere hypothetical, I prefer to err on the side of the skeptic.

The New Robot Workforce

W I R E D | Autonomous Robots Invade Retail Warehouses | WIRED Science

Video and transcript:


Next time you order a new pair of skinny jeans from, you should know that you are helping welcome in the hive-mind robot overlords of retail. Warehouses run by Gap, as well as Zappos and Staples now use autonomous robots to pluck products from their shelves and send them to you.

Human worker: “Over here, with the robots, it seems a lot better.”

Does anyone see this as the first real development this century of the division of labour paradigm? You have to wonder how the efficiency of the Kiva robots (touted as the great benefit in the article/video) will affect the human workforce (obviously, if they’re so efficient, these warehouses can function with less human workers). Where are the luddites?

And more importantly, what happens when self-awarness becomes part of the package? I see robot unions by 2100.

Scary Technologies of 2008

HowStuffWorks | Top 5 Scary Technologies of 2008

Technology makes our lives better. You’re enjoying your new high-definition television, and have your work and personal appointments organized on your computer. You pay your bills electronically and save time and money. That’s fine and dandy, until someone takes out the electronic banking system and the machines take over the planet.

Okay, so the technological singularity is still as theoretical (and sci-fi-ey) as it was a year ago and as when Vinge first proposed it, the excessive powers given to US customs officers can’t really be categorized as a “technology”, and to my knowledge no world-ending black holes were formed the week the LHC was up and running last September. But still. Food for thought.

The Singularity Too: Edelson’s Law

Edelson’s Law says: “The number of important insights that are not being made is increasing exponentially with time.”

What If the Singularity Does NOT Happen? by Vernor Vinge

This would be the flipside of Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns (1999, The Age of Spiritual Machines), as well as a corrolary to Neil Postman‘s “information glut“.

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Introducing the Electronic Book Review

The Electronic Book Review (EBR) is one of these stunningly untapped literary resources available on the internet, the kind of place that you stumble across entirely by accident like Alice from the rabbit hole. You spend a couple hours skipping from review to review, text to text, overcome with a shivering sense of awe at the ideas it generates inside you, glimpses of limitless vistas of thought caught out the corner of your eye.

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The Singularity

If you start scratching the surface of posthumanism as a paradigm, you’re bound to run into one of its most popular contexts: the Singularity.

“The Singularity” is what people like Ray Kurzweil like to call the point at which we– as intelligent beings– evolve beyond our current physical and intellectual capacity and become something “superhuman”. A number of transhumanists predict that the Singularity will happen within the next thirty years or so. Continue reading