news    views    talk    learn    |    about    contribute     republish     archives     calls/events
Robohub is an online platform that brings together leading communicators in robotics research, start-ups, business, and education from around the world.
by   -   April 16, 2014

PerezIn a few decades, twenty or thirty years — or sooner – robots and their associated technology will be as ubiquitous as mobile phones are today, at least that is the prediction of Bill Gates; and we would be hard-pressed to find a roboticist, automation expert or economist who could present a strong case against this.

by   -   April 10, 2014

My latest post on Harvard Business Review is now live:

Using robots in training programs to overcome challenges pushes participants out of their comfort zone. It deepens their awareness of complexity and builds ownership and responsibility.

The array of skills and work techniques that this kind of training offers is more in need today than ever, as technology is rapidly changing the skills demanded in the workplace.

Instead of programming people to act like robots, why not teach them to become programmers, creative thinkers, architects, and engineers? Read more on

by   -   April 4, 2014

mv1croppedIn hospitals and nursing homes in Japan, disabled people are learning to walk again by wearing a robot suit. The suit ironically named HAL, for the Hybrid Assistive Limb, is strapped to one or both legs to help the patient regain mobility.

I say ironically because HAL is the Artificial Intelligence villain of science fiction. But the exoskeleton HAL is in fact far friendlier. It has been designed to support and expand the physical capabilities of its users, particularly people with physical disabilities.

by   -   March 28, 2014

Several debates have arisen around robotics, and of course some of this is science fiction, but then we are increasingly seeing science fiction becoming science fact, there is the debate around ‘strong artificial intelligence’ and robots replacing human beings, a notion that is being redefined by Moravec, who predicts that machines will ‘attain human levels of intelligence by the year 2040, and that by 2050, they will surpass us.’

by   -   March 25, 2014

RUR KapekIn 1920 the Czech author and playwright, Karel Capek introduced the word “robot,” in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). Robot in Czech means “forced labor” or “drudgery.” (A “robotnik” is a peasant or serf.) The play opened in Prague in January 1921. The Robots are mass-produced at the island factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots. According to a the play ‘Robots remember everything, and think of nothing new.’ Domin (the factory director) says: `They’d make fine university professors.’

by   -   March 19, 2014

Herb Simon WikipediaFor the longest time, people thought that humans could not run a mile in less than four minutes. Then, in 1954, Sir Roger Bannister beat that perception, and shortly thereafter, once he showed it was possible, many other runners were able to achieve this also.

Not long after Sir Roger’s historic achievement, In June 1956, at Dartmouth, New Hampshire, four young scholars: John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon jointly initiated and organized the Dartmouth Symposium, which lasted for two months, the goal of the Symposium was simulating human intelligence using a machine.

by   -   March 18, 2014

I’m on the road today but was excited to discover that ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) named Leslie Lamport, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, as the recipient of the 2013 ACM Alan .M. Turing Award for imposing clear, well-defined coherence on the seemingly chaotic behavior of distributed computing systems, in which several autonomous computers communicate with each other by passing messages.  He devised important algorithms and developed formal modeling and verification protocols that improve the quality of real distributed systems.  These contributions have resulted in improved correctness, performance, and reliability of computer systems.

The ACM Turing Award, widely considered the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

Congratulations Leslie – more on the ACM website.

by   -   March 17, 2014

Five robotic, artificial intelligence or drone -related reads for Monday 17th March:

  1. Victor, an emotional Scrabble playing robot who is very insecure. The Wall Street Journal.
  2. How the science of robotics is being used for religious purpose in Iran. The Independent.
  3. US lags as commercial drones take off around globe. Associated Press.
  4. The brief rise and long fall of Russia’s Military Robots… could be resurrected. Popular Science.
  5. We have entered ‘the post normal world.’ Pew Report.

What are you reading?

by   -   March 14, 2014

Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne recently made headlines around the world with their Oxford Martin School study - The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?, which showed that nearly half of US jobs could be at risk of being replaced through automation.

by   -   March 7, 2014


Statue of Alan Turing. Photo credit: Neil Crosby

In the last few days we’ve seen a spate of headlines like 2029: the year when robots will have the power to outsmart their makers, all occasioned by an Observer interview with Google’s newest director of engineering Ray Kurzweil.

Much as I respect Kurzweil’s achievements as an inventor, I think he is profoundly wrong.

by   -   March 5, 2014


The world may be a harsh critic, but most good ideas die because they are given too much love. If you’ve got a startup or project, you’re probably loving it to death right now, and your friends and family are supporting you in this too. But the more time you spend working on your project, the more likely you are to kill it. And this is exactly why you should enter Robot Launch 2014.

by   -   February 25, 2014


I am often asked which jobs will thrive as we move into the next phase of the robot revolution. My answer is that people will need to be multi-skilled. They will need critical thinking and design skills, they will need to be able to think statistically, and they will need a deep knowledge of human behavior.

by   -   February 17, 2014

“Robotics is the fastest growing industry in the world, poised to become the largest in the next Sophie hr robotdecade.” That’s the opening quote from Littler Mendelson (the world’s largest labor and employment law firm) in a new report titled: The Transformation of the Workplace Though Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Automation.

by   -   February 13, 2014


Photo: Andy Rubin, Head of Google’s Robot Revolution, former head of Android.

There is much speculation about Google’s intentions with its acquisition of eight robot companies in the fall of last year. What has been missing in this speculation is just how much it has spent on the eight companies.

by   -   February 12, 2014

Forget all the talk of machines taking over, Google’s robot and artificial Intelligence acquisitions will not More timelead humans down the path of the dinosaur towards extinction.

Google is in the business of providing information. Its mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Google’s acquisition of DeepMind significantly augments its ability to collect and organize data to enhance its services towards its stated mission. The Google executive team knows what the big data evangelists have been claiming for some time – the chance to gather data effectively is a game changer. It also gets patents on improved image search capabilities.