If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Robot Revolution Is Coming

But it's not the Terminator kind. It's more complicated than that.

Last month, Boston Dynamics released a video of their new and improved Atlas robot. If you will remember, Atlas is a vaguely humanoid robot. Not humanoid like this:

or this:

It looks like this:

Still, that's human enough, right? There's a point where a robot is human-looking enough to engender a feeling of empathy in humans, but not so human-looking that people get the heebie jeebies over it. I think Atlas is there for most people.

I personally think it looks a little threatening, but you know what kind of robot I like.

Hm. What was I saying? Oh yes. So Boston Dynamics released the video last month where the showed how well the upgraded Atlas robot was able to keep its balance. That's been an issue with humanoid robots--they don't do well on rough terrain or steps or bending over. They can't make the thousands of microcorrections our human muscles do all the time, without us even thinking about it.

Until now, of course. Atlas does a good job of keeping his balance on rough terrain. And, when the scientist in the video tries to push him over with a hockey stick, he is able to maintain his balance. That's pretty remarkable.

Know what else is remarkable? The comment section on the video. There are several comments showing empathy for the robot. People felt bad that the robot was being bullied by the hockey stick guy. That's pretty cool. I know there are robots in use in various places--hospitals, corporations, etc.--right now. But I think we are not far off from seeing robots in mainstream society.

It's an exciting time.


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