M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

Meet Arisa, our local “inforobo”

July 16, 2020
MThomas

IMG_2770

This is Arisa, the “Information Robot.” It was recently installed at Yamato-Saidaiji, a Kintetsu Railway station in Nara City that I travel through to go to work.

Actually, today I went through the station on my way to renew my driver’s license. Interacting with the robot was much easier.

She (oops, I mean “it”?) can speak four languages (Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Korean) at the touch of a panel. But the functionality is still only limited to basic phrases about where to change trains and which platform to use. Still, it’s a first step (toward replacing human-controlled info booths, so get started learning programming, kiddos!).

Japanese convenience store to implement VR robot service

July 6, 2020
MThomas

“Rather than turn Family Mart branches into essentially giant vending machines, where products are automatically replaced after a customer selects one for purchase, the plan is to use remote-control robots, operated by human beings using VR terminals at a separate location.”

Hmm. The real avatar?

Remote-control VR robots to start working in Japanese convenience stores this summer

How should we treat sentient robots—if they existed?

June 14, 2020
MThomas

Asimo

One day, maybe sooner than we think, a consideration of the ethics of the treatment of rational, sentient machines might turn out to be more than an abstract academic exercise.

From last June, but still a worthy topic for debate, particularly as the use of robots increases for retirement homes, nursery school programs, hotel reception lobbies… (also the topic of a short story I wrote in 2000 but still haven’t published outside of a grad student journal…)

https://www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2019/6/18/ethics-of-ai-how-should-we-treat-rational-sentient-robots-if-they-existed

Artificial intelligence-created medicine to be used on humans for first time

January 31, 2020
MThomas

“This year was the first to have an AI-designed drug, but by the end of the decade all new drugs could potentially be designed by AI.”

Philip K Dick would have had a field day with this. Imagine what will happen once we start ingesting nanobots…

I, for one, welcome our AI drug overlords.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51315462

‘PigeonBot’ Brings Robots Closer To Birdlike Flight

January 18, 2020
MThomas

True story: On the first day of our honeymoon, a pigeon shat on the top of my head as we were walking to the mountain hot spa.

I wonder what would come out of robot pigeons 🤔

— Read on http://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/796786350/pigeonbot-brings-robots-closer-to-bird-like-flight

ESA and NASA? Airbus? Still not ready? 🤦‍♂️

December 6, 2019
MThomas

Right now, engineers have got a dummy rover practising the business of retrieving packaged rock samples. And, yes, the stand-ins really are whiteboard markers.

Yay! Whiteboard markers. Um. OK.

But different agencies and companies are finally working together?

Great!

Wait. What’s the catch?

It is, though, going to take more than a decade to achieve.

Sigh.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50663278

Factories…In…Space…

October 13, 2019
MThomas

 

 “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Frankly, the idea that we puny humans could ever even begin to damage the solar system is laughable.

What would be more worrisome is who – or what – would be doing the work. Why hire people if you could make robots to do the work for you?

https://futurism.com/billionaires-dead-serious-space-factories?fbclid=IwAR1lizqBfz9yQ4zwcdPlHqr4DnWKvf_Me6exwewJ3sPrb2UTksz65YQM_eI

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