Welcome back to another week of Toy Aisle, our collection of the most amazing Paul Reiser merchandise (and maybe other things) we've seen on the internet this week. We have Black Panther and the Ultimate Spider-Man himself swinging into action, even more SDCC exclusives, and a very fancy Transformer.
Tagged With Robots
Video: We've all seen the primary school science experiment where sticking a couple of electrodes into a potato produces enough current to power a small light bulb. But engineer Marek Baczynski took that experiment several steps further, building what could be the world's first autonomous potato — and the ultimate housepet.
LEGO's third feature-length animated film, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, doesn't hit theatres until September. But the toymaker has already started to reveal a new series of sets based on the movie, which feature ninjas, giant robots, and... wait, do you really need anything else in a movie?
Shimon — a four-armed marimba playing robot — has been around for years, but its developers at Georgia Tech have recently taken this futuristic musical machine to the next level. Using deep learning, the robot can now study large datasets from well-known musicians, and then produce and perform its own original compositions.
Three years after acquiring the MIT robotics lab Boston Dynamics, makers of Atlas and other scary bots, Alphabet (Google's parent company) is selling it off to Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company already known for its less terrifying robots such as Pepper that might soon be getting some impressive upgrades. It turns out that posting YouTube videos of nightmare-inducing robots isn't as profitable as once hoped.
With each passing breakthrough in artificial intelligence, we're asking our machines to make increasingly complex and weighty decisions. The trouble is, AIs are starting to act beyond our levels of comprehension. In high frequency stock trading, for example, this had led to so-called flash crashes, in which algorithms make lightning-quick decisions for reasons we can't quite grasp. In an effort to bridge the growing gap between man and machine, the Pentagon is launching a new program to create machines that can explain their actions in a way we puny humans can understand.
Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don't really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot's skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds we're trying to colonise.
Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviours are not just harmful to robots — they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we're better than the characters on the screen, and that when the time comes, we'll do the right thing, and treat our intelligent machines with a little more dignity and respect.
Unlike many of today's workers, priests probably thought their jobs were safe from automation. Well, they thought wrong. In Wittenberg, Germany, one church has taken to automating spiritual guidance, creating a new robot, called the Bless U-2, that offers robotic benedictions to its fleshy parishioners.
Robots are coming. Those goddamn robots. Will they enslave humanity and breed us in flesh farms for energy purposes? Probably not. Will they take our jerbs? Maybe.
This nifty little site allows you to search for your job and find out the likelihood of a goddamn metal machine stealing your job in the near future.