Robot Uprising Update: Technology Bringing Us Closer to the End.

Over the past month I've collected a few articles that I've been meaning to report on that clearly demonstrate the rise and rise of the machines which began with a rogue juicer, moved on to robot floor cleaners with internet access and their army of quadroters mounted with lasers.

The following things are all real and I'm sure if you attached lasers to any one of them the floor cleaning robots would put out the signal for your internet connect fridge to begin attacking our food source by turning up the thermostat. It's all part of the plan...

Magnetic Microbot

Micro Robot Builders

Apparently SRI International has invented micro magnetic robots that can build mini superstructures (think truss bridges etc.). These little puppies can move around anywhere a magnetic field can be created - even along curved circuits. Working in unison they can be program to perform tasks like a mini robot automated factory. Watch them in action in the video below.



Now your average robot fighting machine contains a lot of circuitry. Imagine a dose of these little fu... err... workers springing into action and making repairs on the fly. That's right machines that can repair themselves!


ASIMO

Honda's ASIMO is More Human...

ASMIO has been around for a while and is essentially one of the first proof of concept that a humanoid robot is physically possible. All that's needed is to give it proper Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a laser gun. It'll be hunting down humans for sport in no time!

The latest ASMIO robot moves more naturally than it's predecessors prompting some audience members (in another video of the same presentation) to question if it actually isn't just a tiny person in a robot suit. See him do a lot more things in the video below more autonomously than ever before.



Is anyone else concerned that his battery life is 40 minutes? That's more than enough time to get up to all kinds of world domination schemes.

And if a more human-like ASIMO wasn't scary enough now there's...


Pepper
(the one on the left!)

A Robot That Knows How You Feel

Softbank has created a robot that can read human emotions. I just know that if I owned one of these too cute, feel good robots it would be creepily saying "What are you doing Dave?" all HAL like as I fearfully reached for the off switch. The robot's name is 'Pepper'...



Pepper has a 'cloud' based AI (probably secretly controlled by internet connected floor cleaners), has a multitude of sensors and even has lasers built in. Fortunately the lasers aren't turned up to eleven and are non lethal (just waiting for the word from those floor cleaners) as part of Pepper's navigation system.

With a 12 hour battery life this robot will have plenty of time kill everyone with kindness as it tries to put a smile on your face and continues to wonder 'why so serious?'


The consumer
version of Jimmy
Print Your Own Robot Army

As 3D printers are ramping up to be the next big consumer item, robot floor cleaners everywhere are seeing a key part of robot domination fall into place. Intel is making it possible for you to 3D print your own robot.

21st Century Robot is the company behind the printable robot. You can see them demonstrate and talk about their first Robot 'Jimmy' in the video below. Jimmy is not the actual printable robot you will buy but he was 3D printed. They're working on a smaller consumer version that will retail for around US$1600.00.



Jimmy is very cool and he's completely open source as his smaller consumer cousin's will be. Making it all the more easy for those floor cleaners to install and program death ray lasers for their 3D printed army.


Robotic limbs
concept sketch
Fight Back with Robotic Limbs

Obviously MIT has realized the only way to fight back is to strap-on robotic limbs to people that augment their existing limbs. Currently these limbs aren't powered by the wearer's mind but hopefully there's still time.

So long as no one gets any bright ideas of connecting them to the internet where those floor cleaners will no doubt have them turn against the wearer we should be fine.




HEXO+... Ominous?

Autonomous Camera Drones

If you think the machines don't have a plan then how do you explain robot HEXO+ copter drones that autonomously can track and follow you everywhere, filming your every move... playing into our selfie filming fascination.

These drones can be programed  from your phone. Once set up they require no further human interaction to film you running through the park, skateboarding or doing somersaults on your motorbike at the end of your driveway (who doesn't do that?).

That makes them a perfect candidate for those floor cleaners to seize control of these devices, attach lasers and start tracking and shooting everyone coming into view of the camera.



If seeing one of these HEXO+ drones chasing a person through the park isn't a glimpse of our robot attack prone future I don't know what is.

Movie: Godzilla (2014) - Semi Spoileriffic

As far as Godzilla movies go the latest 2014 Godzilla movie is about as spot on as I've seen for believing that Godzilla isn't a guy in a suit and actually could be real.

Although I knew there were other very big monsters in this movie apart from Godzilla (not really a spoiler since almost from the beginning you learn there's more than one monster) the trailers gave the distinct impression this was a people versus Godzilla movie.

Whilst it was certainly that in some respects the people in this film really did little more than get in the way. Literally and metaphorically.

In the same way that Raiders of the Lost Ark would have exactly the same outcome if you took Indiana Jones out of the picture, Godzilla would have exactly the same outcome but with few less lives lost if all the people just stayed out of the way.

In the trailers Bryan Cranston's character, Joe Brody, a former Nuclear Power Plant employee, emphatically accuses "Because what's really happening is that you're hiding something out there! And it is going to send us back to the Stone Age! God help us all..." It's a great line but it really makes no sense... Big monsters wandering the Earth... maybe... but they didn't have cities or even people in the stone age.

In the end it was dramatically overstating on the events that unfold in the film and might have seemed more relevant if the movie delivered what the trailer implied. A real battle between humans and Godzilla.

What I got was a movie with some soldier, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) wrestling with his Dad's erratic, crackpot ideas. Then kind of trying to stay alive because he's the only guy that knows how to work the machinery that may or may not stop the monsters that are causing havoc on American cities.

Ford Brody is a character I might have cared about more if he didn't spend so much time just reacting to the events around him. Even when he had a goal all you could really do was watch him attempt to carry it out and hope he doesn't die in the process. He was no great intellect trying to match wits with a monster or two.

I can't really fault this movie in terms of the monsters, other than it took a long time for Godzilla to get into the main action. However when he did, it was full on Godzilla awesome complete with atomic laser breath. It's well worth seeing for just the monster sequences alone. It's definitely franchise worthy because it would be amazing to see this very realistic Godzilla go up against realistic versions of some of his previous foes in the early films.

The human story however really needed some work. I would've liked to have seen more back story come into play. The movie states that nuclear bomb tests conducted in the 1950's were attempts to kill the monster but none of what they learned back then seemed to come into play in the present day storyline.

It felt like no one was really communicating to make sure civilians got out of harms way once they understood each monsters motivations. The strategy seemed to be all about stopping the monsters simply by blocking their path with as much military hardware as possible despite knowing how ineffective that was.

Yes I know the military did have a strategy to try and redirect the monsters but they still persisted in setting up troops in harms way knowing they didn't really stand a chance.

If there is a sequel to this film - and I'm sure there will be - I hope they manage to give us some pseudo science that the characters can really get their teeth into.

If this movie's subtext is really about 'man versus nature', as director Gareth Edwards suggests, then there's a whole story there about man trying to control nature that could give the people of the next film something really interesting to do.

To sum up. Godzilla is a really good monster movie. For me it was pretty much how I imagined Godzilla should be. I was very happy that the movie started in Japan before moving to the USA because above all else, Godzilla is a Japanese creation - even if he was born out of the US nuclear bombing of Japan.

If I could have got more interesting and better developed human characters it would have been just about perfect but perhaps we'll see that in a sequel... certainly don't kill off the most interesting character half way through next time!

Well worth seeing. I really hope to see another Godzilla movie that builds on this and perhaps goes a bit more into the science and intellectual side of things whilst still giving us great monster battles.

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