Automated cars are hurtling towards us at breakneck speed, with all-electric Teslas already running limited autopilot systems on roads worldwide and Google trialling its own autonomous pod cars. However, before we can reply to emails while being driven to work, we have to have a foolproof way to determine when drivers can safely take control and when it should be left to the car.
During the 2017 World Economic Forum, ETH Zurich showcased its latest innovations in Game Technology and robotics. The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication was represented by Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger who explained why digital fabrication can be a game changer for the building industry.
Housebuilders and makers of car parts in a few decades time may need nothing more than a large robotic arm, some raw ingredients and a programmable design, thanks to the next-generation of 3D printing machines which are opening up the technique to large-scale industry.
Ocado, the world’s largest online-only supermarket, has been evaluating the feasibility of robotic picking and packing of shopping orders in its highly-automated warehouses through the SoMa project, a Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation funded by the European Union.
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.
Felix Von Drigalski, of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, introduces a versatile, open-source, two-finger gripper for textile manipulation that can sustain significant pushing loads in order to perform tucking tasks, using active perception.
There’s a great deal of concern over artificial intelligence; what it means for our jobs, whether robots will one day replace us in the workplace, whether it will one day lead to robot wars. But current research projects show that artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used for the greater good. Here are five global problems that machine learning could help us solve.
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.
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?
In this episode, Ron Vanderkley spoke to Dr Moritz Tenorth, head of software development at Magazino, a Munich-based startup developing mobile pick-and-place robots for item-specific logistics. They discussed his work on the Toru robot and what it means to the warehouse industry today and in the future.
Sriram Narasimhan’s research team are shaking things up in the Civil Engineering Structures Lab at the University of Waterloo. The research, which is led by Ph.D Candidate Kevin Goorts, is developing a new mobile damping system for suppressing unwanted vibrations in lightweight, flexible bridges. Whereas damping systems are often permanent fixtures built into the bridge, their system is designed to be adaptable, autonomous, and better suited for rapid, temporary deployment.
We tend to assume that automation is a process that continues – that once some human activity has been automated there’s no going back. That automation sticks. But, as Paul Mason pointed out in a recent column that assumption is wrong.