Posts Tagged ‘Robots’

SciFi Mixed Links – Robot Takeovers!!! Spacesuits, Robo-Hotels & Robo-Ballers

A compilation of all the different spacesuits we've used as a species. Image source: Reddit /r/space.

A compilation of all the different spacesuits we’ve used as a species. Image source: Reddit /r/space.

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DARPA 2015 Robot Showdown – Team Kaist & Team IHMC Battlebots!!

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, held this past Friday and Saturday at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, tested 24 world-class robot teams. These humanoid bots had to traverse a multi-tiered course designed to mimic emergency conditions, replete with rubble, communication problems, broken-down valves and wires. But enough from me – let’s see what the robots had to say about the course…

(All the images below are screenshots from DARPA’s live feed of the event. To go to the DARPA main page, click here.)

'Hubo' belongs to Team KAIST, a Korean robotics team that has developed this robot since 2002. 'Running Man' belongs to Florida-based Team IMHC Robotics.

‘Hubo’ belongs to Team KAIST, a Korean robotics team that has developed this robot since 2002. ‘Running Man’ belongs to Florida-based Team IMHC Robotics.

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‘Blade Runner’ vs. ‘Ex Machina’: Testing the Human Conscience (spoiler alert!)

Rachael from 'Blade Runner' and Ava from 'Ex Machina'.  Together they embody two visions for artificial intelligence.

Rachael from ‘Blade Runner’ and Ava from ‘Ex Machina’. Together they embody two visions for artificial intelligence.

The bold, sexually aware female AI, the protagonist who risks his life on a crisis of conscience, and the amoral but brilliant scientist-turned-creator. Alex Garland’s Ex Machina borrows the visions of Blade Runner, but turns the narrative on its head. While the Replicants in Blade Runner strove towards some semblance to man (and man’s longevity), Ex Machinas robots strive for freedom beyond man. The robot becomes the inquisitor and the human a mere puppet. As the movie unfolds, Ex Machina is not afraid to question our preconceived notions about sentience and morality, and in the process, explicitly divorce the two.

The Turing Test Meets An Inquisitive Mind

Near the beginning of Ex Machina, Caleb posits a question about consciousness. If a computer is programmed to play chess, it might be able to play the game well. But does the computer know that it is playing chess, or even what a game is?

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SciFi Mixed Links – April 28, 2015

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Sci Fi Mixed Links – April 21, 2015

Screenshot from the book cover of 'A Wrinkle in Time' by Madeleine L'Engle.  The Wall Street Journal recently published three pages from an early draft of the novel.

Screenshot from the book cover of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle. The Wall Street Journal recently published three pages from an early draft of the novel.

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Today in Sci-Fi History – Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles Last Episode

Movie poster for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Image Source: entertainmentwallpaper.com

Movie poster for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Image Source: entertainmentwallpaper.com

‘Born to run’, aired April 10 (2009), was the last episode of the two-season robot and time-travel series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This TV series focused on the relationship between Sarah and John Connor, following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Amidst rising tensions caused by nascent AIs, time-traveling freedom fighters, and the growing capabilities of John Connor – Sarah Connor must learn to accept her son as the potential savior (and destroyer) of humanity, while still fiercely protecting him as her only child.

What I love about this series is the chaotic time-travel madness, which plays out as a backdrop to the main narrative between Sarah and John Connor.  As each successive freedom fighter or AI travels backwards in time, the future is inexplicably altered – such that each time traveler carries the social baggage of a different world. Yet, even in all these branching visions of the future, John Connor’s actions have a pivotal effect on the lives of so many others – making him a pawn in everyone’s schemes. Like Kiera in Continuum or Bruce Willis in Twelve Monkeys, the main characters must grapple with the notion that they can never return home to ‘their time’ (physically or psychologically) and yet grapple with the opposing fear that elements of the future are predestined.

 

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