Killer Bots–Massive and Nano

Bots.jpeg

There are big deadly weapons to worry about, such as weapons of mass destruction that come on an ICBM or even in a suitcase bomb to frightening armies of massive killer robots.


And then there are small nanobot weapons to worry about–which don’t sound like much, but they could be the ultimate killer machines.


About 10 nanometers make up the width of a human hair, so we are talking about microscopic or bug size weaponized drones. 


Nanobots can be manufactured or scarily can be self-replicating. 


They can fly alone or in massive swarms. 


They can surreptitiously enter/exit and carry out their missions virtually undetected. 


Whether surveillance or delivering a mini-nuke or a toxin.


Nanobots could function like a biological weapon killing millions–targeted or indiscriminately. 


Cambridge University forecasts a 5% chance that nanotech weapons could cause a human extinction level event by the year 2,100


Soon wars will not be fought by people any longer–by rather by robots and nanobots.


People are too fragile for fighting and war against ruggedized and militarized bots that are designed for one purpose only…to kill, kill, kill. 


Terminators are coming–from massive to nanoscale–and mere humans will be dogmeat to these killing machines.


Add in a cyber warfare component that will turn off 21st century civilization leaving us to fend as if we were back in the stone ages, and overpopulation is the last and funniest joke any of us will ever tell. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Enslavement USA

enslavement-jpeg

I am not sure what this art was supposed to represent outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

But to me, this scene looked almost like a reenactment of enslavement. 

I remember seeing similar type photos of presumed harshly treated black slaves who were forced to build the White House and the Capitol

Sure, we are fortunate to have jobs for people in this country.

Yet, seeing these workers bending over and shoveling in hard labor and in 91 degree heat this week at the feet of this great statue just seemed more than a little demeaning and telling of where we unfortunately still are as a country. 

Freedom and human rights means for everyone!

Decent jobs, wages, housing, food, healthcare and education, should be for everyone!

Maybe it’s a great thing that we are advancing with automation and robots that can do the jobs that people shouldn’t have to do.

So people can do and be treated as human beings and not as robot slaves. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Robots, They Are Coming

Robot.jpeg

I was so excited by this photo in the Wall Street Journal today.


YuMi, an industrial robot by ABB, is adroitly writing Chinese calligraphy. 


If you look at the photo and think for a moment, the notion of the robot doing and the person watching is truly prophetic of how we are evolving technologically and as a species. 


Yumi is made by ABB, a leading robotics company headquartered in Switzerland, that on one hand has over 300,000 robots installed worldwide, but on the other hand needs only 4,600 employees in 53 countries to produce all these fantastic and productive droids.  

This robot is a work of not just incredible science and engineering, but of art and beauty. 


It’s sleek black and white build with two incredibly agile arms and hands plus a viewing camera, enables it to do small parts assembly or even fine calligraphic work. 


YuMi stands for “You and Me” working together, collaboratively. 


While we surely will work together, the flip side is that with robotics, some people (who don’t make the transition to STEM) may not be working much at all. 


But of course, the positive side is that we are looking at an incredible capacity to do more and better with less! 


Leaving the innovation to humans, and the assembly and service to the bots, the bar will be raised on everything–both good and bad.


We will build greater things, travel and explore further, and discover ever new depths of understanding and opportunities to exploit.


But we will also edge people out of work and comfort zones, and be able to engage in new forms of conflict and war that only the power and skill of (semi-) autonomous machines could inflict. 


The robots are here, however, they are coming in much greater numbers, capabilities, and impact then we can currently fully comprehend. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WSJ)

Transitioning To Virtual Ease And Triviality

Mail Order.jpeg

I took this photo a few weeks ago on the streets in Washington, D.C.

This was a huge box from eBay coming to someone.

In my building, they recently built an extra storeroom for all the deliveries that are coming everyday–there is no where to put all of them.

Jeff Bezos was recently names the 4th richest person in America, as the stock price of Amazon is up 45% in the last year alone. 

While today in the Wall Street Journal, even the revered retailer of Herald Square, Macy’s, had their stock price shed half it’s value in the last year, and other big box retailers are hurting just as bad. 

eCommerce is threatening the very survival of brick and mortal retailers, as they are seriously eating their lunch–and breakfast and dinner too!

But this is part of a much larger transition occurring from our physical to virtual worlds…

As we abandon department stores and the Mall for online shopping, 

movie theaters and playhouses for home theaters and video streaming, 

physical activities for gaming and virtual reality, 

and even factories and office work for telework and robots

soon we will have no real place to go and nothing to physically do. 

From the bed and couch to the computer and gym, like hamsters on the wheel of triviality, we might as well package ourselves up in the big eBay box and send ourselves to outer space–but only as long as we can get Internet access there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Last Man Standing Wins

Medieval Fighting

So it has always amazed me how until modern times, armies would line up and face-off on the battlefield to basically bash each others skulls in. 


Whether in medieval times or in the civil war…it goes something like this. 

– Red coats line up on this side. 

– Blue coats line up on that side. 

– Everyone pull out their weapons.

– Scream your bloody heads off.

– And run towards each other swinging. 

– The last man standing from either side is the winning army!

How brilliant is that? 


Basically, mass suicide for both sides (like trying to take the hill running straight into machine gun fire). 


These days, there is a notion at least of using stealth, smart bombs, and sending in drones or robots, so as not to risk real people’s lives unnecessarily. 


But I guess that takes the fun out of it–can’t slice and dice and smash the enemy with your bare hands.


Last weekend, I watched people who like to fight the old fashioned way, dress up in medieval gear, take their sides on the field in the park, and go at it. 


They had swords, and clubs, and javelins, and bow and arrows, and more.  


They even had roles, and one guy I talked to was actually the king for one side of the fight–and apparently you have to earn that role in battle and in council vote. 


On the battlefield then the people get together and go at it hitting each other with some pretty scary weapons that fortunately are (mostly) padded, but still they seemed to get some pretty good zets!


Honestly, it sort of looked like a lot of fun and good exercise, but probably (more than) a little dangerous too. 


I saw one combatant coming off the field, taking off his outfit as it was pretty hot out, and he literally had layers of shielding on, so aside from seeing them take hits again and again, I could see that they felt they needed the protection. 


What was also interesting watching this–and I understand sometimes they get about 150 people on the field at a time to go at it–is that people seem to really want to go back in time to the way things were…more natural, more real, and even more deadly–up close and personal!


We are so much in a virtual world or like Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla) said living in a simulation, that there is just a wild yearning and craving to get back to nature, basics, and what’s tangible and real. 


Even if it means bashing heads on a hot Summer’s day…and reenacting the times of lore…put your smartphones down and pull out your swords and clubs–it’s a new day and age. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Technology Is Our Superhero

Linux

I liked this Linux Cat Superhero sticker that someone put on the back of the street sign in Washington, D.C. 


There is something great about the promise of technology (with G-d’s help of course) to make our lives better. 


When we get excited about technology, envision it, invest in it, and bring it to market–we are superheros making the world a better place. 


While many technologies may be “pie the sky” invoking more hype than higher purpose, if we can discern the doers from the duds then we can achieve the progress for ourselves and our children that we desperately want. 


Technology should be a superhero and not a villian–when its about the mission and doing what we do better, faster, and cheaper.


While Washington DC is a long way from entreprenurial and innovative Silicon Valley, the nexus between IT and public service has never been greater or more important. 


For example, when it comes to ideological clashes between (the iPhone’s) security/surveillance and privacy or between the proliferation of robots vs. jobs for real human beings, balancing the competing interests is the soul of technology and public policy. 


Every truly useful technology should have it’s superhero to represent and advocate for it, while us mere mortals sort out the implications and make sense of it all for the real world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Days–Two Scary Statistics

American Flag Scarf

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)


Happy Presidents’ Day today!


The picture is of a snoozing guy on the Washington, D.C. metro with a scarf that looks like the American Flag.


Scary statistic of the day: 


Robots and artificial intelligence are forecast to push unemployment to 50% by 2045


Is that a good thing because people will have more time for leisure?


No says the experts…work gives live meaning, and without it we’ll all be sleeping our time away on the Metro. 

Valentine's Day

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Valentine’s Day yesterday!

This photo is of luscious chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. 

Scary statistic of the day:

About 1 in 5 people over the age of 25 (about 42 million people) has never been married, and the median age for marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men and rising.

Is this a good thing since people are perhaps further along in their education and career then and more ready to get married and have this as a priority?

No, says the research, since 50% believe that we are simply not better off with marriage and children as priorities.

_________

With these two holidays and statistics taken together, we are heading towards a very jobless and loveless future.

Andy’s advice for the young folks (who of course won’t listen because they are young):

1) Get married and get bliss!

2) Get a technology degree and get employed!

You can have a job and a spouse…little human-robot children to follow. 😉

Drones Made Easy

OMG, this is awesome.


This Lily Camera Drone is “throw and go” and simply lands in your hand. 


You can set it to follow you–almost like a guardian angel– or to lead you where you need to go. 


Records video, sound, can do slow motion, and takes photos.


It has a tracking device.


It’s waterproof.


Awesome for extreme sports or personal surveillance.


Would like to be able to communicate with it by voice command, and also see what it sees and hear what it hears with augmented reality glasses or on a smartphone or wearable.


Finally, if only it would come with a laser to zap anybody or anything bad that may come at us–that could be reassuring. 


Costs = $619 and ships in May 2016.


That was easy.  😉

Color Me Different

Soldiers
I saw this restaurant and followed the color in to take this photo.



They had these multi-colored figurines lined up proudly on the ledge overlooking the tables and patrons. 



Each was different, but also the same. 



They had no faces, and were cut this way and that into segments of color (head, torso, butts, arms, legs, feet)…uniformity, but diversity. 

They are low-tech, but reminded me of robots or toy soldiers, but without the guns–just standing in colorful attention ushering people in to sit and eat and enjoy. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ex Machina Will Even Turn The Terminator

Terminator
So this was a really cool display at the Movie theater yesterday…



They had this head of the Terminator in a enclosed case and roped off. 



Shiny metal alloy skull, buldging bright evil red eyes, and really grotesque yellowed teeth. 



This certainly gets the attention of passerbys for the upcoming new movie, Terminator Genisys (coming out July 1). 



Anyway, Terminator is the ugly dude especially when compared with the robot/artificial intelligence of Ava in Ex Machina that we saw yesterday. 



The Turing test is nothing for Ava!



She can not only fool them as to her humanity, but also outmanuever them with her wit, sexuality, and a good dose of deceit and manipulation. 



Frankly, I think AI Ava could even turn the terible Terminator to her side of things–my bet is that movie to come in 2017. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)