Robot News – 12/11/2008

Danger Room reports that iRobot is “laying off ten percent of its flesh-and-blood workforce”.I am too cheap to buy a Roomba unless they can cut another $100 off the price.

The Robot Wife story has appeared at Slash Dot and Hot Air. More appropriate would perhaps be to call this a Fembot or a (shudder) ComfortBot.

Here is what SlashDot wrote:

Le’s wife, Aiko, starts the day by reading him the newspaper headlines and they go for a drives in the countryside. Le says his relationship with Aiko hasn’t strayed into the bedroom, but a few tweaks could turn her into a sexual partner, even redesigning her to have a simulated orgasm.

It is a bit creepy. There are of course, plenty of human subject matter experts who can help with the orgasm expert system (though I am not sure why he would bother). It might be more interesting though is had some iRobot functionality such as cleaning and lawn cutting.Throw in a remote control with a mute button and there is an entrepreneurship opportunity!

There is mention of an anti-ICBM KillBot at Fox News and HotAir. Normally , I think the idea of using anti-personnel KillBots is a stupid/bad idea that the US should avoid. It should be okay for going after non-manned things like Missiles though.

8 Responses

  1. The Dems like having Killbots that don’t have a conscience. It makes war very simple and makes taking casualties meaningless in the PR game.

  2. Generally speaking in the US, the recording of conversations is more legally risky than the recording of public images. When automated systems like robots approach people on the street, legal issues will arise as to whether they can record conversations they overhear. Robot owners will seek to get consent to audio recording of nearby people. What do you think? –Ben

  3. Ym, IMO, the use of Killbots by a techno-superpower will so disgust the rest of the world, that the US would harmed immensely on the moral dimension of war, cuasing us to loose over and over. Our allies will leave us, and the fence sitters wil lgo to the other side. Unless we became ruthless totalitarian…and we won’t do that.

    Ben: That is an interesting observation. There are lots of legal ramification to future robots that should be considered now.

  4. Ym, IMO, the use of Killbots by a techno-superpower will so disgust the rest of the world, that the US would harmed immensely on the moral dimension of war, cuasing us to loose over and over

    How is the US going to lose when the only price being paid is the parts off the assembly line?

    The politicians can spend like drunken sailors for more “bots” if they don’t need bodies for grunt work.

    They’ll just inundate the opposition until the opposition dies of hunger or fatigue.

  5. The moral dimension of war would matter so long as it was people pulling the triggers and if they could be swayed by words or values or standards. International support will mean nothing once the only cost of war is parts and assembly line resources.

  6. The negative effect of the Killbots will manifest in two audiences.

    1) Those Americans who are actually anti-USA (maybe 10-20% of the population) will portray the Amrican military as inhuman and use the issues to batter the resolve of Amricans.

    2) Non-Americans who are anti-US including active enemies will portray the US adversary as scrappy underdogs which will be used to move allies to fence sitters, and fence-sitters to opponents. The Srcappy Underdog effect is used powerful in Influence Warfare.

    Unless the use of offense killbots can quickly and decisively bring a victory, the battlefield positives will be far outweighed by the non-battlefield negatives.

  7. We have to think about the kinetic and the non-kinetic for conflict. We have to think of direct and N-order effects. To “win” the US needs to hold the line in some areas and win in others. We cannot win by winning in one way, and loosing in all others.

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