Showing posts with the label information technology

Thomas Aquinas and the DARPA Robot Competition

Korea's Team Kaist's DRC-Hubo humanoid robot walked through DARPA's 2015 robot competition: one of three to complete every task on the course without falling over.

Meanwhile, Toshiba's (somewhat) lifelike ChihiraAico robot demonstrated 'her' voice in a Las Vegas trade show.

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A Robotic Tentacle, and Disney’s Baymax

Disney Studio's film version of Baymax is fiction. Robots designed to work with people are real: although they're nowhere near as smart as their fictional counterparts.

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Build Your Own Robot Swarm — or — Angular Automatons and Cuckoo Clocks

1,024 little robots got together at Harvard, making the letter "K" and drawing a star. What they do doesn't look as sophisticated as many marching band halftime formations — but it's a good start on collective artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, Harvard and MIT's angular automatons don't do much except fold themselves into crablike shapes, and scuttle away: today....

...I'm not troubled that we make increasingly lifelike imitations of living creatures. Somehow, I don't think the Almighty is going to be offended by cuckoo clocks or robot dogs playing soccer.

Tightly-would folks of a grimly pious bent might have qualms about mechanical birds, music boxes, and other frivolities. I'm convinced that gloominess is not next to Godliness, and that's another topic.

Besides, many automata help make this a safer world for humans....

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Neurosynaptic Cores and Retinal Implants: Getting a Grip About Tech

IBM's neurosynaptic cores may not show up in home computers for years. Their circuits emulate a brain's neural circuits: and require an entirely new sort of software.

Retinal implants are another matter. Thanks to new tech, several folks who would have been blind can see: a little....

..."Metropolis," Tsukumogami, and the Roomba Revolution that Wasn't
The inventor Rotwang in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" is more 'evil wizard' than 'mad scientist:' my opinion. It's still a good movie: but not, I think, a particularly realistic look at what we'll see in 2026.

Rotwang's maschinenmensch looked more like the human she was built to impersonate after a high-tech makeover, but even without upholstery she was remarkably — human....

But so far, artificial intelligence has been quite obviously "artificial:" and emphatically not up to the task of leading a Roomba revolution.

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Starships, Dinosaurs, and Long-Distance Service for Mars

Some scientists think dinosaurs could have survived that asteroid impact. Others are taking another look at big a starship needs to be, and NASA is taking bids on long-distance service to Mars....

"...But first, a bit about the Beatitudes, Ulysses, and Dante's "Inferno."...

...Expecting knowledge, or anything else, to take God's place would be daft: and against the rules.

But that doesn't make seeking knowledge bad. Studying this universe and developing new tools are part of being human. That's what we're supposed to do....

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Making Sense Online: Two 10-Point Lists, and the Golden Rule

Developing and using technology is part of being human. But if we don't use our brains, even basic tech can hurt us.

The problem isn't fire, string, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It's the all-too-human knack for getting into trouble mentioned in Job 5:7. (May 9, 2014; April 27, 2014; October 6, 2013)

The good news is that we're human: rational creatures, able to decide how we behave. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1730-1742)

The Internet: Sharing Information Around the World
(From Matt Britt, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
("Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on")

My oldest daughter told me that map of the Internet looked like fireworks, or neurons. I see her point, particularly since it's possible to compare the Internet to the neural wiring that's in our heads....

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