Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You, Robot

I need to bring attention to an alarming development. Forget Google trying to take over the world. Looks like there's no stopping that anyway. I bring you more distressing news.

Robots. Robots are cropping up everywhere. You can be sure they'll be attempting to wipe out humanity in the near future. It's what they do.

Oh, sure, their original intent is to help and serve mankind. Like this snow rescue machine, the T-52 Enryu, that actually prevents avalanches and can dig out a car from under a snowbank. As Tetsuya Kimura states, 'we hope the robot will be useful in removing snow around the entrances to underground shopping arcades or tunnels'. Great. An automated snow shovel that can lift cars and push mountains of snow around. That isn't any cause for concern when the thing goes haywire.

Or how about this freaky thing that European scientists designed after the 'paddle worm'. It's supposed to worm it's way through a patient's intestines carrying a mini camera to help doctors diagnose disease. Any volunteers? Before you raise your hand, they haven't addressed what happens if the thing breaks down inside somebody. Let's just imagine the possibilities.

Of course, scientists are never satisfied with their original creations or those of others. So, they feel the need to 'improve' and 'create'. NEC System Technologies and Mie University in Japan have designed a robotic wine steward. No, really. They have. Hideo Shimazu, director of the NEC System Technology Research Laboratory states, 'There are all kinds of robots out there doing many different things, but we decided to focus on wine because that seemed like a real challenge.' It's also a great way to get funding for top shelf wine. Damn, those Japanese are smart. By the way, a cameraman covering this story put his hand up to the robot and it claimed he tasted like bacon. Remember that when you're being roasted over an open spit by the T-52 while the wine steward robot is recommending which cheese would go good with you.

I'm sure this one will be providing the flame.

Understand, I work with technology on a daily basis which means I see the difference between how things are supposed to work and how they actually work. The end product is never as good as the initial idea or theory. There are always bugs, viruses, patches, updates, configuration changes that need to be undertaken just to get things running properly. The actual product is almost never as good as the theory or idea behind it. Color me skeptical when it comes to these robots.

I'm not entirely against them, mind you. There is this pregnant robot that is being used in medical schools to train students. This is a great idea. Something that doesn't move and can just mimic a birth. Plus, as the article says, 'It's better to make a mistake on a $20,000 robot than a live patient'. No word on what it actually gives birth to.

How about this one? Not sure what purpose it serves other than being the first potentially gay robot ever. It plays the flute while sitting in what looks like a wheelchair. Was really hoping they would call this 'Ironside', but they went with the nerdy and confusing WF-4RIII. That's some bad hat, WF-4RIII.

ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Japan (Again?) have invented a prosthetic hand that operates by thought. 'The robotic hand mimics the movements of a person's real hand, based on real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brain activity.' While I have no idea what that means or how it actually works, it sounds like we're one step closer to being able to create a real life Darth Vader. Cool!

Then there is this one. A team at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology have developed a female android who looks creepishly real. 'She can understand others, speak, blink with her eyes and makes several facial expressions.' Her name is EveR-1 and is designed to look like an early 20s Korean female. Am I the only one that thinks the boys spent too much time designing Evie and not enough time socializing? Article doesn't mention what they do with EveR on the weekends. Frankly, I don't want to know.

But just when I think humanity is doomed when snow and fire robots start running amok or EveR starts seducing then killing men, I run across this robot. Finally life makes sense.

Hit me again, T-Rot. If I'm going out by robot, I can't think of a better way. Cheers!

Today's distraction: Build your own robot. I used the chainsaw for one of it's hands and added cool sunglasses.


French said...

'Creepishly'? Is that a cross between creepily and sheepishly? Ever seen a creepy sheep? Or a sheepish creep?

There is only ONE robot in my heart...#5, or Johnny 5. "A can of soup. A meal in itself."

BeachBum said...

As I have stated before (buge? hig?) I have no problem inventing words if it suits my needs.

Did you know Fisher Stevens was married to Michelle Pfeifer at one point? I've known that for nearly 20 years and still haven't recovered.

On the other hand, it did give me hope that I had a shot at girls completely out of my league. It may have been false hope in most cases, but hope, nonetheless