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The Art of Robots

This post is gonna be a lot easier if you, kind reader (yes, you, the one person who visits the blog) help me out with a few things.  The cool thing about this internet deal is the supposed interactive nature of the content.  It’s no longer static, but requires a commitment from you, kind reader, for the experience to reach its full potential.  In that spirit, this is what you need to do to enjoy this post (if you don’t, you just won’t get it):

  1. Pretend the intro was catchy, a nice thesis of what it to come: AI and robots.
  2. Understand the current state of technology, and how science fiction draws on it to give us warnings (Battlestar Galactica), or promises of a great future (Star Trek).
  3. Pretend you want to see Terminator Salvation (and I know, this is asking a lot).
  4. If you’re reading this thanks to Facebook’s blog import feature, you may have to pretend there are embedded videos.  I’m unsure of how it will turn out after the import.

If you can do these, you will probably enjoy this post.  The end-user experience will become more fulfilling, as you grow more invested in the final product.  You transcend a mere reader, or even user, and become one of the creators.  Your interaction molds the direction of the content and influences how others will see it.  No, seriously.  It’s the same principle as calling food service workers “team members” (or “partners”), or supervisors “shift managers.”  They’ll do more work for free — like you’re gonna do.  If you can’t do these things, you won’t enjoy this post.  Sorry, there is just no way around it.  You can’t keep sucking off the other folks hard work and enjoyment vicariously — if you don’t do the dirty work you’ll have to go somewhere else.

The reason I’m requiring such staunch dedication from you is that you’re gonna have to hit “play” a few times in this post — then sit and watch for about 18 minutes.  Terminator Salvation opens today, and I needed a method movie going experience.  Thanks to the wonders of TED (and if you haven’t discovered the wonders of TED, you’re not living life to its fullest) I decided to make you practice some method movie going.  Below are some TED talks I’ve been watching to prepare for the new Terminator movie, and a link to Jenny18.

Ray Kurzweil explains how we can accurately predict the future of technology — we’re gonna be moving really, really fast and have great venues for watching porn…I mean looking at LOLcats, uh, crap, I mean communication and research.

Hod Lipson has a great name, and he builds self aware robots.

This isn’t so much about advancement in robotics, but still non-mechanical robots are cool, especially when you’re almost convinced they’re alive at the end.

Now, beware that this is a little crude.  But Jenny18 is a reprogrammed version of the famous AI software, ELIZA.  Jenny18 is a cybersex bot on IRC, and this is the most succinct way of showing the basic stumbling block to AI: language.  The more natural an AI can sound, the more likely we are to believe it’s a real person.  Thankfully on the internet, and especially IRC, people talk like idiots and the problem is easier to workaround.  Check out Jenny18 for some humorous chat transcripts and the history behind the bot.

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