Odds and Ends 

Security robots are being used to ward off San Franciscos homeless population

Is it worse if a robot instead of a human is used to deter the homeless from setting up camp outside places of business? One such bot cop recently took over the outside of the San Francisco SPCA, an animal advocacy and pet adoption clinic in the city’s Mission district, to deter homeless people from hanging out there — causing some people to get very upset. Silicon Valley game developer and Congressional candidate Brianna Wu tweeted yesterday her dismay at the move, saying, “I’m sorry for being so frank but…

Read More
Headlines 

We can’t tell if Boston Dynamics’ new SpotMini dog is cool or creepy or both

Boston Dynamics is the mad robot scientist of our waking dreams. Every few years, they unveil a new robot horror…er…innovation that straddles the fine line between “so realistic its incredible” and the uncanny valley. Its latest robot dog, the SpotMini, which the company casually introduced with this new video, is easily Boston Dynamics most finished looking robot. The company offers no explanation for four-legged, all yellow creation besides an enigmatic “Coming Soon.”  What we can tell you is that this little guy appears to have more personality than all its…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

The Canvas autonomous cart can ferry goods around chaotic factory floors

Most Econ 101 classes start with an explanation of fixed and marginal cost in the context of factories. The factory is the principal fixed cost expensive and permanent. Canvas wants to smash this assumption of expensive, inflexible, factories by replacing infrastructure with autonomous vehicles. The Boulder-based startup is announcing its first product this morning an autonomous cart designed to shuffle goods around chaotic and unpredictable factory floors. Traditionally, factories install conveyor belts when they want to regularly move goods from one place to another. The problem with this is that,…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Future of Sex podcast creator Bryony Cole talks the future of funbots and New Yorks first sextech hackathon

In what turned out to be a surprising SFW podcast Future of Sex podcast creator Bryony Cole joined us to talk about the future of sex, teledilonics and sex robots. Not content to let the media and the world stay squeamish about the topic of sex robots Cole expects many of us to have had sex with a robot by 2047 and believes many of our children will first experience sex with a robot before they attempt it with a human. Cole is also running New Yorks first Sextech Hackathon…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Judah vs. the Machines: Blindfolded against a Berkeley robot overlord

UC Berkeleys Robot Learning Lab to meet Brett, a robot still in testing that was designed to learn like a human. Bretts creators hope that he could some day take on menial human tasks with the ability to adapt and learn new ways of accomplishing a goal, something that most other robots are incapable of doing. In the field of machine learning, this type of learning is knownas reinforcement learning.Its pretty popular these days because it holds the potential to make machine learning less rigid and breakable. Like a human,…

Read More