Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Better Late than Never

When it comes to robots, the futurists have been over-promising since the Jetsons. Popular Science magazine has been trumping robots and flying cars for so long, that we now assume they aren’t coming. Which is going to make their inevitable appearance in our everyday lives a most-talked-about surprise. Prepare to be amazed.

13 replies to “Better Late than Never”

Very exciting stuff to see and interesting that it looks like they’re overcoming the whole “stairs issue” that I thought was a major deal with robots. I just hope that every robot’s presence in the future is heralded by club music so we can know when our future overlords are coming.

Can he be crushed by an 80 ton hydraulic press? Things to keep in the back of your mind…just sayin’

This is a good example of asynchronous technological development. Although computing power has increased exponentially during our lifetime, improvements in battery performance have been far less impressive. Barring some radical and unforeseen advance in energy storage, humanoid robots will too busy trying to get their extension cords untangled to take over the world.

LOL! That’s a funny visual. And I expect remote power delivery will be the answer before batteries develop the necessary improvements. You could put the power in the floor. Or look at how electric buses move around cities with overhead transmission lines. Microwave delivery could also work. Batteries are just always going to suck, I fear.

Yup, power supplies are the biggest problem, but can be solved with an internal combustion engine. The next is sensing their environment and reacting to it as it changes. Walking and jumping and going up stairs in a lab that consists of flat surfaces that don’t move is one thing, walking down a rough hillside in wind and rain while the rocks slip and slide under your feet is quite another.

I’m glad that they are still using the technique where the robot steps on something, determines it is there, then just moves over a smidge. I was afraid they had already developed the ability to see the obstruction and just avoid it altogether… or worse, to scan the ground for danger and avoid those things. This means that the land mines in my yard should still be highly effective, since the robot makes the “avoid” decision after actually stepping on the hazard. You had me scared, Hugh. I’m not ready to have my minefield rendered useless!

Do you have a bunker which is surrounded by these minefields too? I can make a nice wooden sign that says, “Bunker’s Bunker”. I’ve been taking pyrography and I’m dying to utilize my new skills!!!

I work from home…

I just read an article this morning about an unmanned drone taking off from a naval base and landing on a moving aircraft carrier, all autonomously. No human guidance whatsoever (other than what went into the programming)

http://m.slashdot.org/story/188715

Not to worry however. I for one have accepted SkyNet as my lord and savior.

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