robotics 2016—dallas bomber, tesla autopilot, google reorg, etc

IFhi all, its a lot of very big news for robotics in 2016, this captures top developments, and this post is timed with the tesla crash that made huge headlines the last few weeks and is causing major/ intense spotlight-level scrutiny of tesla, musk, and automated driving capabilities in particular.[b]

have long predicted that there would be a 1st fatality due to auto driving tech and that day has now come to pass within the last few weeks. note the media is focused on one crash in particular but (my understanding) there were two separate crashes.

the other recent massive headline is the extraordinary improvised-on-spot use of a robot to deliver c4 explosive to “take out” a dallas sniper (using the sanitized/ near-euphemistic police language, essentially eerily the same as military terminology), causing some major headlines and controversy.[a] calling the robot a “bomber” seems like a strange new use of the english language, but probably the closest possible… the word “bomber” now referring to a non-human, semiautonomous entity/ machine but not an inanimate object either! science fiction meeting etymology/ everyday vernacular can be like that at times… headlines say “killer robot”… the picture is from [a9], a 2009 miami shot of a similar robot.

it would seem that the military use of robotics and civilian uses, up until now quite distinct, just got blurred to a frightening degree. but again this is mostly predictable. how long before terrorists mount plastic explosives on flying drones? am surprised ISIL has not already tried.

so we are getting a “rubber meets the road” scenario with robotics and its causing mass shockwaves. and am predicting this is only the beginning. with tesla, it sounded like an “accident waiting to happen” for those who track this kind of stuff. [b9] is esp informative/ relevant.

google headlines on their cars are far different. google has a very cautious style but on the other hand, they dont have a product to sell yet.[c]

an obvious question in this area: why isnt google trying to sell its technology to tesla? that link maybe contains some of the backstory on that. [b6] is also a great contrast by LATimes on the two companies.

google just announced a mass reorganization in their robotics strategy, selling boston robotics to toyota.[d] a lot of the articles cite that Rubin is no longer at the company. why did he leave anyway? he seemed to have an awesome vision shared by the top executives/ ceo but it only lasted a very short while. still trying to understand the background/ story on that one.

other massive headlines continuing in aerial drones[e] where there seemed to be the first impact with an aircraft, and the FAA is really freaking out, to say the least. whats the solution here? better air control maybe is a big part of the answer but FAA has stumbled on that for many decades. its an excellent case study of a govt agency attempting to do IT and failing with “spectacular/ epic” proportions, with multimilliondollar budgets incinerated in failed outsourcing black holes, still mostly unnoticed by the public and largely undocumented. (reminds me some of IRS etc…) heres an amazing scenario, what if aerial drones get a good flight control software system that is slowly, eventually scaled to all air traffic? it doesnt sound entirely/ completely implausible to me.

there are big news in “industrial” apps[f] where robots may be coming soon to a fast food restaurant near you. also aquatic applications are increasing.[h]

an area dear to my heart since a teenager: robotic sports is advancing rapidly in particular FPV “first person view” drone racing seems to be ramping up very quickly eg already with an international competition in dubai and $1M prize won by a teenager.[i] which also comes to the topic of VC/ venture capital funding.[j]

wheres it all going? some people think they know and have some musings on that.[k]

admittedly the leading topics of this blog post are dark/ upsetting and one might wish to not think about them, but here at TMachine, there is no pussyfooting around, and prior blogs have made predictions in this area. technology aint always pretty and as long predicted and seen here recently, humanity is on a “collision course” with the future so to speak. with the dallas killer robot & the tesla fatality, the topic of “robotic ethics” is now forefront.

we have very advanced technology but our collective thinking/ insight seems to lag behind. it seems like a familiar theme with us. Frankenstein, anyone? written ~2centuries ago? also as Nick Bostrom points out, we have also been here before eg with atom bomb construction.

so whats the solution to that?




a. dallas
b. tesla
c. google drive/ etc
d. google reorg
e. aerial
f. industrial
g. aquatic
h. advances
i. fpv drone racing/ sports
j. vc
k. future/ analysis
l. etc/ news

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