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.
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.
A recent Conversation piece pointed out that the British electricity mix in 2016 was the cleanest in 60 years, with record capacity from renewable energy, mainly from wind and solar power. But one problem with this great expansion in renewables is they are intermittent, meaning they depend on weather conditions such as the wind blowing or sun shining. Unlike conventional power, this means they can’t necessarily meet surges in demand. Hence many press headlines in recent years about the “lights going out”.
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?
I’ve come around to the view that the best and most inclusive term for high-concept farming which is both sustainably productive and ecologically responsible is Regenerative Agriculture. It implies all that is meant by permaculture, agroecology, carbon farming, and organic farming, but goes beyond these to focus on living matter in the soil, and in this is closely aligned with the term biodynamic. That said, I’m not prepared to argue the point; I only say this by way of explaining why I’ve chosen to use this term here.
I’ve long believed that Augmented Reality (AR) and robotics are closely related. Both model their environments to some degree. Robotics uses that model to guide the behavior of a machine, whereas AR uses it to provide an enhanced sensory experience to a human.
2016 was a busy and abundant year for seed, crowd, series A,B,C,D and VC funding of robotics-related startups. 128 companies got funded, some multiple times. $1.95 billion, 50% more than 2015 which was also a phenomenal year with over $1.32 billion funded.
Robocars are broadly going to be a huge boon for many people with disabilities, especially disabilities that make it difficult to drive or those that make it hard to get in and out of vehicles. Existing disability regulations and policies were written without robocars in mind, and there are probably some improvements that need to be made.
Ask a child to design a robot, and they’ll produce a drawing that looks a little like you or I—the parts may be gray and boxy, but it will have two arms, two legs, and a head (probably with an antenna coming out of the top). Starting from the beginning of robotics, the human form has seemed like an excellent starting point. One of the best places to draw inspiration for robotic design, however, is the kingdom of insects, arachnids, snails, and slugs.
I believe we have the potential to eliminate a major fraction of traffic congestion in the near future, using technology that exists today which will be cheap in the future. The method has been outlined by myself and others in the past, but here I offer an alternate way to
explain it which may help crystallize it in people’s minds.
In this roundtable edition, we watched the Black Mirror episode “Hated in the Nation” and asked our Robohub team members: with many institutions focused on developing aerial drone technology, and in light of the pressing reality of climate change and bee colony collapse, do we see robotic bees in our future? Would swarms of artificial insects even be desirable?
For a sci-fi fan like me, fascinated by the nature of human intelligence and the possibility of building life-like robots, it’s always interesting to find a new angle on these questions. As a re-imagining of the original 1970s science fiction film set in a cowboy-themed, hyper-real adult theme park populated by robots that look and act like people, Westworld does not disappoint.