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by   -   February 22, 2017

If a machine can think, decide and act on its own volition, if it can be harmed or held responsible for its actions, should we stop treating it like property and start treating it more like a person with rights?

by   -   February 21, 2017

Current legal AI systems do not think like human lawyers. But, as their capabilities improve, the temptation grows to use such systems not only to supplement but to eliminate the need for some personnel. Ron Yu examines how this might affect the legal profession and the future development of legal AI.

by   -   February 20, 2017

Costs for electrifying Caltrain are projected to run over $1.5 billion. In this article, Brad Templeton examines an alternative: a robotic transit line that uses self-driving cars, vans and buses.

by   -   February 15, 2017
Photo: Ford Motor’s next-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle. (Courtesy of Ford Motor)

Argo AI, a Pittsburgh startup, has sold a majority share of their company to Ford Motor Co. which has agreed to invest $1 billion over a five-year schedule but will immediately become the majority shareholder. Both companies declined to disclose further details.

by   -   February 13, 2017
iRobot Braava jet 240. Source:

The International Federation of Robotics forecast that the global market for vacuum cleaning robots, lawn-mowing robots and other household cleaning robots will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33% through 2019. Other research reports say the market will reach $2.5 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 15%.

by   -   February 10, 2017

I generally pay very little attention when companies issue a press release about an “alliance.” It’s usually not a lot more than a press release, unless there are details on what will actually be built. The recent announcement that Uber plans to buy some self-driving cars from Daimler/Mercedes is mostly just such an announcement.

by   -   February 8, 2017

California published its summary of all the reports submitted by vendors testing robocars in the state. You can read the individual reports. They are interesting, but several other outlines have created summaries of the reports calculating things like the number of interventions per mile. On these numbers, Google’s lead is extreme. Of over 600,000 autonomous miles driven by the various teams, Google/Waymo was 97% of them — in other words, 30 times as much as everybody else put together.

by   -   February 7, 2017
Lady Gaga performing at Super bowl LI Source: NFL/YouTube

Three hundred drones flashed their colored lights and created a flying American flag as Lady Gaga sang a blend of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” to 160 million viewers of the Super Bowl. Oh, and two football teams played into overtime, and the final score was 34 to 28.

by   -   February 3, 2017

Part 2: Autonomous Systems and Transparency

In my previous post I argued that a wide range of AI and Autonomous Systems (from now on I will just use the term AS as shorthand for both) should be regarded as Safety Critical. I include both autonomous software AI systems and hard (embodied) AIs such as robots, drones and driverless cars. Many will be surprised that I include in the soft AI category apparently harmless systems such as search engines. Of course no-one is seriously inconvenienced when Amazon makes a silly book recommendation, but consider very large groups of people. If a truth (such as global warming) is – because of accidental or willful manipulation – presented as false, and that falsehood is believed by a very large number of people, then serious harm to the planet (and we humans who depend on it) could result.

by   -   February 3, 2017

January fundings for robotics-related startups totaled over $123 million – a reasonable start for the new year. For acquisitions, three of the six companies acquired reported that $390.5 million traded hands. All in all, another strong month for robotics.

by   -   February 3, 2017
Cows in stable wait for food from red feeding robot

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the vision I’ve laid out in this blog is ridiculously successful, and, over the next few decades, robotic devices take over all aspects of tending land and crops and handling material inputs and produce, and do it using increasingly sustainable practices that begin the process of retaining and enhancing biological diversity and reviving overworked soils. What’s left for farmers to do? Will there even be a need for humans on farms?

by   -   January 31, 2017

At RoboUniverse in San Diego, agricultural robots and the labor shortage were quickly identified as the biggest issues facing the industry today. Water scarcity and field health were other key issues mentioned, but it’s labor that keeps farmers up at night and robotics that could come to their rescue.

by   -   January 27, 2017


Earlier I posted my gallery of CES gadgets and included a photo of the eHang 184 from China, a “personal drone” able, in theory, to carry a person up to 100kg.

Whether the eHang is real or not, some version of the personal automated flying vehicle is coming, and it’s not that far away. When I talk about robocars, I am often asked “what about flying cars?” and there will indeed be competition between them. There are a variety of factors that will affect that competition, and many other social effects not yet much discussed.

by   -   January 26, 2017

With machine intelligence emerging as an essential tool in many aspects of modern life, Alan Winfield discusses autonomous sytems, safety and regulation.

by   -   January 25, 2017
Source: CBS Evening News
Source: CBS Evening News

By investing $6 million in robots, Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) was able to take back 10% of their manufacturing from China and place it into a new factory in Manning, South Carolina employing 140 new workers.

Digital cultures
November 16, 2012

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