Friday, 27 October 2017

Part 39 And now for something completely different!

As much as I try to hide it, I have to face up to the fact that I'm getting old.

When I was  kid we didn't have TV, a car or a telephone.
We used to listen to radio serials or tune in short wave to hear foreign exotic languages.

World war two was still a strong memory for most adults and they had the scars to prove it.

When I was born the Korean war was in full swing and communism was considered to be the scourge of the world that threatened all peace loving nations.

The Soviet Union was a superpower and the only thing holding them back was the US and it's western allies and the threat of nuclear war.

My, how things have changed.

Today I play with robotics, type this on my computer or tablet and scan news on my phone that goes everywhere with me in my pocket. I stream TV programs for entertainment and watch live news from around the world whenever I want.
I sit in front of a computer for a living (considering I only use two fingers I manage to type rather well) and use spreadsheets, word processing and email all the time.

The Soviet Union is no more, Communism is on the decline and the greatest threat to the world is either the US president or the leader of North Korea... choose your own as they're basically interchangeable anyway.

Racism and nationalism are on the rise worldwide and the world is starting once again to become isolationist and pulling back from globalism.

Not necessarily a good thing but a function of the normal human progression. What happens is the world swings in one direction, goes too far, over corrects and then starts to swing back. Rinse and repeat so we get this cycle over time for an issue until it levels out and reaches a point of acceptance.

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So, Where am I going with this?

A very good question!

My belief is that no matter what happens technology marches on despite the best efforts of people trying to hold it back.
Even wars, although initially tend to drag everything down through destruction and death, eventually generate a whole new raft of technologies in an attempt to gain the upper hand.

Radar, now used all over the world, is a good example and of course computers (Bombe) designed to crack the German Enigma codes directly led to the automation and computing technology we have now and use every day.

Computing has long become a mainstay in business and robotics is now taking over huge swathes of industry to increase production and reduce costs.

Automated vehicles are coming quickly and will soon be an accepted part of society as are automated shipping and air taxis.

Humanoid robots are now in many hotels and can be seen all over the world and are becoming more refined and lifelike at an accelerating rate.
The video above shows how lifelike these robots can look now.

Try these about Sophia.

Sophia addressing the U.N.

Now that we can see how human these robots look and act, people are starting to get creative.

Companies are combining the existing silicone sex doll industry with robotics and creating a whole raft of moral and social issues along the way.

Warning, links lead to sites that may offend some readers.

Robotic sex dolls are now available.

Sound like something out of science fiction? Well it is and it isn't.

Very lifelike (static) sex dolls have been around now for about 20 years in the west with Japan having had them for longer, initially for disabled people who had no alternative and later for men who are too shy to meet women or simple want their relationship purely on their own terms.

So the logical (but maybe not desirable) development of this is for the two technologies to combine to create extremely lifelike robotic sex dolls.

Again, science fiction?

Not so much, it's happening now.

 The technology is there and will improve, if that's the right word in this context, over time.

As with any technology, as I have said ad nauseum, once it's out there it's not going away any time soon.

So we are left with a huge moral dilemma that will have to be addressed in the not too distant future.

For example lifelike robotic sex dolls that look like children has chilling implications as well as people wanting to act out their basest fantasies doesn't bear to think about.

On the plus side it may be a boon for disabled people and those with severe social disabilities that won't ever get to have a life partner.

So again the wheel turns and a new cycle starts.

One day when the dust settles we will again have a different world, very different to the one I was born into.

I think I might drag out my old Yo-Yo and not think about these things for a while.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Part 38 - Welcome to the World of Tomorrow

Most of my blog has been about autonomous vehicles with the odd rambling diversion into politics, and robotics and computing in general.

My background has been in electronics and that developed later into networking and computer operating systems.

In recent years I have worked more with people and their interactions with computing.

Which brings me to the big picture.

Where are we going?

It's pretty fair to say that computers are here to stay.

Automation is taking over more everyday task at an ever increasing rate and impinging more on our lives with each passing year.

How much we allow it to take over, to a certain extent is up to us.
Travelled on a bus or train lately? There is virtually no eye contact at all.
Being one of the few people without social media accounts I have time to look at people and all I see is a sea of heads all busy tweeting, reading or talking on their phones.

Walk along a footpath and you have to avoid the people texting while they walk.

So where will this go in the future?

I have seen Microsoft's Enhanced reality goggles where you can see the world your in but also see VR superimposed on it. Exciting stuff but scary at the same time.

I don't profess to know where it's going but like all other things there will be swings to and against change until society ends up with a compromise people can live with and then we have the new normal.

So, it's been a while since I wrote anything here as there hasn't been a lot of news.
Previously everyone wanted to get in on the hype and released press release after press release to get their name in the game. Now it's all about getting their heads down and push to market.

The next year will be very interesting!

Some current news: Dubai, who seems to be leading in some areas of technology is currently testing several automated air taxis.

In keeping with their philosophy they are also testing the worlds first aerial police motorbike.
The US, while it's government appears be winding back the clock, some departments still seem to be based in reality and are putting rules to allow autonomous cars on the road without drivers or even steering wheels or pedals for that matter.
That's it for the moment but I hope to re-engage with more interesting update shortly.