Robot priests can bless you, advise you, and even perform your funeral

By Sigal Samuel A new priest named Mindar is holding forth at Kodaiji, a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Like other clergy members, this priest can deliver sermons and move around to interface with worshippers. But Mindar comes with some … unusual traits. A body made of aluminum and silicone, for starters. Mindar isContinue reading “Robot priests can bless you, advise you, and even perform your funeral”

For Lower-Paid Workers, the Robot Overlords Have Arrived

By Greg Ip It’s time to stop worrying that robots will take our jobs — and start worrying that they will decide who gets jobs. Millions of low-paid workers’ lives are increasingly governed by software and algorithms. This was starkly illustrated by a report last week that Amazon.com tracks the productivity of its employees andContinue reading “For Lower-Paid Workers, the Robot Overlords Have Arrived”

This Creepy Robot Child Bleeds, Screams, And Cries For Its Mother

by LINDSAY DODGSON Medical training exercises are getting more and more realistic. Recently, companies have developed robots that medical students can practise on. The idea is that these pretend people can lead us a little way into the uncanny valley, so we have to deal with the emotional response as well as the methodology behindContinue reading “This Creepy Robot Child Bleeds, Screams, And Cries For Its Mother”

Here’s what robots could learn from fire ants

Robots, take note: When working in tight, crowded spaces, fire ants know how to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen. Observations of fire ants digging an underground nest reveal that a few industrious ants do most of the work while others dawdle. Computer simulations confirm that, while this strategy may not be the fairest,Continue reading “Here’s what robots could learn from fire ants”

In Japan, a Buddhist Funeral Service for Robot Dogs

An electronics repair company gives a compassionate farewell to mechanical pets, with a traditional ceremony held in a historic temple. By James Burch A traveler happening upon a funeral for robot dogs might be taken aback. Is this a performance art statement about modern life? Is it a hoax? A practical joke? But this isContinue reading “In Japan, a Buddhist Funeral Service for Robot Dogs”

Researchers at MIT have developed robots that can teach eachother new things.

One advantage humans have over robots is that we’re good at quickly passing on our knowledge to each other. A new system developed at MIT now allows anyone to coach robots through simple tasks and even lets them teach each other. Typically, robots learn tasks through demonstrations by humans, or through hand-coded motion planning systemsContinue reading “Researchers at MIT have developed robots that can teach eachother new things.”

Chinese firm halves worker costs by hiring army of robots to sort out 200,000 packages a day

A viral video showing an army of little orange robots sorting out packages in a warehouse in eastern China is the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work on the mainland. The behind-the-scenes footage of the self-charging robot army in a sorting centre of Chinese delivery powerhouse Shentong (STO) ExpressContinue reading “Chinese firm halves worker costs by hiring army of robots to sort out 200,000 packages a day”

24 / 7 Robot Miners Working in Australia

by Tom Simonite Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board. Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia’s Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas,Continue reading “24 / 7 Robot Miners Working in Australia”

New advances in quantum artificial intelligence could lead to super-smart machines

by Bryan Nelson Quantum physics has some spooky, anti-intuitive effects, but it could also be essential to how actual intuition works, at least in regards to artificial intelligence. In a new study, researcher Vedran Dunjko and co-authors applied a quantum analysis to a field within artificial intelligence called reinforcement learning, which deals with how toContinue reading “New advances in quantum artificial intelligence could lead to super-smart machines”