DailyDirt: Unmanned Spaceships And Robots

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Artificial intelligence software still seems like science fiction — even though smarter and smarter software is found in all sorts of everyday gadgets now. Robots are replacing humans in manufacturing jobs and doing all sorts of dirty work that people can’t or won’t do. So let’s hear it for our automated slaves doing cool stuff for us.

  • The US Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane lands after 7 months in orbit. Who really needs the space shuttle anymore? (And note that the Russians pretty much accomplished this feat with the Buran, too.) url
  • The Uncanny Valley still runs pretty deep, so creepy-looking robots will be the norm for the near future. url
  • There’s nothing creepy about Japanese robots picking ripe strawberries: Yum. url
  • NerdKits has built a xylophone glockenspiel robot for the holidays — and has released open source code along with DIY instructions for it. url
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    Comments on “DailyDirt: Unmanned Spaceships And Robots”

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    AR (profile) says:

    AI, interesting concept for copyright

    This may sound stupid (and slightly off topic. If someone used opensource, or proprietary, software in or as the base code for the AI software, and if the AI created something or figured something out…
    Who would then own the copyright, patent, and/or license on the created material/product/discovery?
    I could see where it could get a bit confusing.

    Anonymous Coward says:


    Genetic-programming is used a lot to produce things that no human discovered before.


    “”The software also may invent designs that no human designer would ever think of,” Lohn asserted. In addition, the software also can plan devices that are smaller, lighter, consume less power, are stronger and more robust among many other things – characteristics that spaceflight requires, according to Lohn.”

    Endless Original Music: Computer Program Creates Music Based On Emotions

    Who gets the copyright for that?


    We live in interesting times indeed.

    Hephaestus (profile) says:

    Strawberry picking robot ....

    My vision of the future, when these robots come down in price and start becoming standard farm equipment. Riots in the streets of East LA. Farms being burned for replacing illegal workers with robots. When houses are constructed by robots, when McDonalds goes robot servers, when the cabs of NYC are robotically driven, when robotic prostitutes happen, same issues.

    Gonna be fun to watch … rioting street hookers and all πŸ™‚

    Hephaestus (profile) says:

    From the creepy robot story (Crossing the uncanny valley)

    ” Hollywood, too, would probably enjoy replacing stuntmen?and perhaps even temperamental stars?with computer-generated versions. A world without celebs? That really would be eerie.”

    Actually that would be the end of hollywood because anyone then make movies.

    Also has anyone else seen how creepy these robots are IRL. “””””serious shiver”””””

    nasch (profile) says:

    Re: Re:

    Has anyone else seen the first Final Fantasy movie (The Spirits Within)? I think it got to the other side of the valley – I didn’t find it creepy at all. That was released I think in 2000, and I can’t figure why nobody’s done better in the 10 years since (that I know of). FF was pretty convincing, but not perfect. Are they all working on video games instead?

    Michael Ho (profile) says:

    Re: Re: the FF movie

    That Final Fantasy movie was pretty good, but not quite on the other side of the valley — in my opinion. It wasn’t creepy, but when you airbrush real human images too much, the images are no longer that realistic. That’s why Aki Ross was able to fit right into the Maxim Hot 100 in 2001:


    Michael Ho (profile) says:

    Re: Re: Re:4 the FF movie

    Not sure I’m contradicting anything — “pretty good” on the Uncanny Valley graph could be right on the edge of the “cliff” on the left side of the valley.

    Perhaps there’s even a “Wiley E Coyote” effect where an image could be suspended over the valley for a little bit before it plummets into creepiness… πŸ™‚

    nasch (profile) says:

    Re: Re: Re:5 the FF movie

    Oh I see, well I think it was WAY more convincing than anything on the left side of the valley. I mean, a zombie is at the bottom on that chart, and surely Aki Ross looks more like a healthy human than a zombie does.

    Perhaps there’s even a “Wiley E Coyote” effect where an image could be suspended over the valley for a little bit before it plummets into creepiness… πŸ™‚

    Ha, totally! The longer you look at it, the creepier it looks. πŸ™‚

    Hephaestus (profile) says:

    Re: Re: Re:

    ” I didn’t find it creepy at all. ”

    I actually enjoyed Final fantasy spirits within.

    What I was talking about are the japanese, singing and dancing female robots. Go to youtube and watch a couple. The movements are not quite human even when they get it close, it gives you an uneasy something is not quite right feeling.

    nasch (profile) says:


    We’ll never think we have artificial intelligence, because anything we can already do we consider “just a program”, and AI is whatever we can’t make a computer do yet.

    For example, take the game Spore back 20 years, and the way the animals behave would probably be considered AI. Now we don’t think of it that way, it’s just a game. Pretty much anything using heuristics could be called AI. And so on. AI is here already and has been for quite some time, but our expectations keep moving with the technology.

    Overtkill (profile) says:

    AI and what we think we know...

    There are already many innovations that are years ahead of this discussion in the defense contractor ‘sphere’ of development, involving unmanned drones and attack craft.

    Comparing the x-37B to the space shuttle is like comparing a model airplane to the real thing. It has nowhere near the same capabilities. While I do agree that its technology is a start in the right direction, There is perhaps more merit in revisiting an idea like the VentureStar:


    In order to replace something, you must meet and surpass the capabilities of what you intend to replace. IMHO, We should keep flying the shuttles until an idea like this can happen as we really don’t have a real replacement option.

    SSTO (Single Stage to Orbit) would be a great evolution away from using wasteful expendable rockets, only burning fuel in the spacecraft’s engines to reach orbit.

    Thanks for Reading. πŸ™‚

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