Category Archives: Robots

For South Africa's new president the only way is up | Larry Elliott

Jacob Zuma scandals dragged down the economy. Now Cyril Ramaphosa has the chance to unleash a regional superpower

Timing matters a lot in determining political success. Gordon Brown could hardly have become prime minister at a worse time because in the summer of 2007 the UK economy had been growing for 15 years, the financial crisis was just around the corner and the only way was down.

For Cyril Ramaphosa, by contrast, the only way is up. The new South African president has taken over an economy that should be a regional superpower but has been seriously underperforming in recent years. The growth rate has been on a downward trend since the initial bounce back from the “great recession” and is close to zero. Unemployment is above 25% and the poverty rate is higher than in other large emerging market economies.

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Source: gad

Boston Dynamics crosses new threshold with door-opening dog

Robotics company releases video of the SpotMini, its four-legged and well-mannered machine

Eight years after it was first revealed to the public, the uncanny gait of Boston Dynamics’ quadrupedal robots is still unsettling. But a new video, released by the firm on Monday, shows the company’s flagship robot, the SpotMini, crossing a new threshold – literally – as it demonstrates that it can open doors.

The video depicts a SpotMini, a four-legged yellow machine that stands about a metre high, flummoxed by a closed door before a second robot of the same type, equipped with a fifth limb extending from its back, arrives to save the day. The second bot turns the handle, pulls the door open and holds it for the first to walk through, then follows.

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Source: gadt

Skiing robots hit the slopes in South Korea – video

Robots of all shapes and sizes took turns skiing, with varying degrees of success, down a course near Pyeongchang in what is believed to be the first robot skiing competition in the world. All entrants were required to measure more than 50cm in height, stand on ‘two legs’, have joints resembling elbow and knees, an independent power system and use ski plates and poles. The event was designed to capitalise on attention on Pyeongchang during the Winter Olympics

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Source: gadt

As robots take our jobs, we need something else. I know what that is | George Monbiot

It’s untenable to let salaried work define us. In the future, what we do for society unpaid should be at least as important

Why bother designing robots when you can reduce human beings to machines? Last week, Amazon acquired a patent for a wristband that can track the hand movements of workers. If this technology is developed, it could grant companies almost total control over their workforce.

Related: The Amazon worker: paid £18,000 a year to shift 250 items an hour

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Source: gad

Household robots: more than just expensive toys…

Advances in AI and robotics are leading to high street models becoming increasingly useful in our day-to-day lives

Named after the Greek god of the wind, this bot’s abilities are more prosaic yet nevertheless useful. Its big boast is that it can fetch you a beer from the fridge, but this household helper can also vacuum, pick up toys and find your lost glasses. The price tag will probably be five figures and the manufactures are hoping it will breeze into shops later this year.

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Source: gadt

Robots will take our jobs. We’d better plan now, before it’s too late | Larry Elliott

The opening of the Amazon Go store in Seattle brings us one step closer to the end of work as we know it

A new sort of convenience store opened in the basement of the headquarters of Amazon in Seattle in January. Customers walk in, scan their phones, pick what they want off the shelves and walk out again. At Amazon Go there are no checkouts and no cashiers. Instead, it is what the tech giant calls “just walk out” shopping, made possible by a new generation of machines that can sense which customer is which and what they are picking off the shelves. Within a minute or two of the shopper leaving the store, a receipt pops up on their phone for items they have bought.

Related: Amazon Go: convenience and concern at new checkout-free corner shop

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Source: gad

Automation to take 1 in 3 jobs in UK's northern centres, report finds

Workers in Wakefield and Mansfield worst affected as tech advances risk widening north-south divide

Workers in Mansfield, Sunderland and Wakefield are at the highest risk of having their jobs taken by machines, according to a report warning that automation stands to further widen the north-south divide.

Outside of the south of England, one in four jobs are at risk of being replaced by advances in technology – much higher than the 18% average for wealthier locations closer to London. Struggling towns and cities in the north and the Midlands are most exposed. A total of 3.6m UK jobs could be replaced by machines.

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Source: gadt

GM sued by motorcyclist in first lawsuit to involve autonomous vehicle

Oscar Nilsson ‘knocked to ground’ in San Francisco as company tested self-driving cars

General Motors is facing one of the first lawsuits to involve an autonomous vehicle, after a collision between its Cruise self-driving car and a motorbike in California.

Motorcyclist Oscar Nilsson is suing GM stating that the Chevrolet Bolt, which was operating in autonomous mode with a backup driver behind the wheel, “suddenly veered back into Nilsson’s lane, striking Nilsson and knocking him to the ground”.

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Source: gadt

As technology develops, so must journalists’ codes of ethics | Paul Chadwick

AI is sure to bring many benefits but concerns over its ability to make decisions mean human journalists’ input remains vital

Journalism is largely collaboration: reporters with sources, writers and editors, lawyers advising publishers, producers with distributors, and audiences feeding back their knowledge. Rapid development of artificial intelligence means journalists are likely to collaborate more and more with machines that think. The word itself, machines, feels so industrial era, but “robots” feels too limited. Humans are busy building brains, if not yet minds. So my shorthand for now is AI.

Related: The real risks of artificial intelligence

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Source: gad