Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I have no words.

Michael Jackson is in discussions about creating a 50-foot robotic replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert, according to reports..

The pop legend is currently understood to be living in the city, as he considers making a comeback after 2004's turbulent child sex case.

It has now been claimed that his plans include an elaborate show in Vegas, which would feature the giant Jacko striding around the desert, firing laser beams.

If built, the metal monster would apparently be visible to aircraft as they come in to land in the casino capital.

It is the centre-piece of an elaborate Jackson-inspired show in Vegas, according to Andre Van Pier, the robot's designer.

Luckman Van Pier, his partner at the company behind the proposal, claims blueprints have been drawn-up for the show and seen by the star.

"Michael's looked at the sketches and likes them", he told the New York Daily News.

On the subject of the robot, he continued: "It would be in the desert sands. Laser beams would shoot out of it so it would be the first thing people flying in would see."

Friday, March 2, 2007

Someone, other than a detractor like myself, has finally said it out loud.

Well, I read this today at and it has ruined my weekend by ensuring that I will not sleep for days.

Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are the smallest unmanned aircraft, with a wingspan of six inches or less. Power supply has always been one of the toughest challenges for this type of craft, as any kind of battery has a lifespan measured in minutes.But there are ways of dealing with the problem, and I examine a number of different approaches in this month's Defense technologyInternational.

Many of these approaches borrow directly from nature, and we can expect MAVs to behave increasingly like living things: perching in trees, basking in the sun and even consuming grass and leaves to top up their power supply.

That in itself was mildly disturbing, but then they had to go and post this:

One of the more dramatic proposals for micro-robots is the swarm of robot cockroaches which the Air Force is investigating as a means of attacking underground bunker complexes. One correspondent suggested that power supply would be the 'long pole in the tent' for the microrobots. In fact, in this situation power supply is ready to hand. All the robots need is an adapter plug and they can scavenge any electric outlet available, an option not available to machines operating in the great outdoors.

Alternatively, given the interest in gastrobots capable of digesting organic material, they might take their energy from the
most readily available food source in a command bunker: human flesh.
I don't think anyone has suggested the idea - and I doubt if it would ever be implemented - but an invading swarm of steel-jawed man-eating robot cockroaches would probably clear most underground facilities faster than you can say "get me outta here".

Emphasis mine, of course. But try as I might, I can't emphasize enough that someone spoke it out loud. I've been looking at HTML tutorial sites for about a half hour now, and I cannot find any capability of HTML that adequately expresses my horror.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Robots that eat... OH THE HUBRIS!

I've noticed in the last couple of years a smattering of articles concerning the solution to a crisis that I wasn't even aware was a crisis.

Apparently, we just can't hand over our lives to our new robot overlords unless they can sustain themselves without our help, and the solution: robots that consume organic matter to fuel themselves. (!)

Before, I was worried that artificial intelligence would simply decide that humans were not only unnecessary, but detrimental to progress, and simply wipe us out. And that was bad enough; but now we, a species with no real natural predators to speak of, are creating one. See the following article:

It describes a robot, whose current purpose is to prove itself possible, which consumes flies much like a Venus flytrap. It lures them in and uses bacterial enzymes to break the chitin of their exoskeleton down into sugars, which are them metabolized by the bacteria, releasing electrons that are used to generate current.

But how... how, you might ask, would this thing get its flies? Oh, if only there were a medium which would both allow bacteria to thrive and also attract flies. Ha! But there is...

"Each MFC [Microbial Fuel Cell - Cory] comprises an anaerobic chamber filled with raw sewage slurry - donated by UWE's local utility, Wessex Water. The flies become food for the bacteria that thrive in the slurry."

Emphasis mine, of course. These robots use human feces to attract the flies that feed it. You know, normally I'm not a fan of "slippery slope" arguments... but when robots fuel themselves by consuming organic matter, I can't help but see the worst possible outcome.

In the best-case scenario, the robots decide that eating flies is more than sufficient to meet their power needs. This would mean they couldn't simply eliminate the human race, because they need our poop to draw in the flies that sustain them. Enter poop farms - human beings lined up in stalls like veal calves, being fed a specially-concocted mixture to ensure that we are constantly shitting our brains out until the day we die, like Elvis, on the crapper. And that, as I see it, is the best case.

Far worse is when the robots, being created in our image, decide to make everything biggerbetterfastermore. For that, flies won't cut it. They need bigger game. How long before a robot designed by another robot contains a built-in oven, used to lure in starving humans with the smell of fresh-baked bread?

Listen! Do you hear that? The ice-cream man is coming down the street! Here's some change, kids. Go get a Good Humor bar. Oh, wait. Why does the ice cream man have tank treads on his truck, and big mechanical arms and a serrated chomping jaw mechanism? It's a killer robot, a literal child-eating machine, that plays ice-cream man music. And every kid in the neighborhood is running at top speed towards it.

Welcome everyone... my new blog.

Yes, there will be a decided focus on robots and the danger they pose to us all, but my attention span is far too short to concentrate solely on that. I'm sure to be posting other stuff that as it crosses my mind, and will probably also use this as a spot to post information about the "all-killer-robots" supplement for Unisystem gaming, tentatively titled All Robots Must Be Scrapped.