Posts Tagged ‘Robots’

Video of Life-Size Working Terminator Model

May 25, 2023

I found this scary homage to the Termintor robot on the @hyprsearch channel on YouTube. I don’t think it does everything, like walk or move its head, but it does seem able to move its arms. It’s really quite ingenious, though whether people will still be admiring it if it’s given real, human level intelligence by the people bringing us ChatGPT remains to be seen. ‘Cause then it would be utterly terrifying!

Robots Now Set to Replace Lollipop Men and Women?

May 23, 2023

This very short video comes from the Clown Planet channel on YouTube. Clown Planet features various news reports of unusual, and unusually daft incidents. It’s also highly critical of some of the advances in robotics. A recent video was about the driverless bus being tested somewhere, with the explicit statement in the title ‘No Thanks’. I think it’s also put up clips from news coverage of robot dogs and security robots being used by the police in New York and on the city’s metro. This clip is of a robot that’s clearly been designed to act as a mechanised lollipop man. One of the commenters to the video,@sparesomechange8080, pretty much described it accurately thus ‘So this is basically an overly engineered, overly complicated, expensive traffic light?’ Yes, it looks very much like a traffic light on wheels. Another commenter, @ivaniuk123 also remarked, ‘A 100k robot for something that can be done with an unpaid volunteer.’ Which I think is a good assessment of it. And @ukgareth316 said, ‘Speaking as an school crossing patrol officer that has enough of an issue getting traffic to stop at the best of times there is no way that robot will not get run over or drove past and into people crossing the road.’ Another commenter predicted that drivers would deliberately crash into it. They’d be stupid if they did, but I can see that the temptation would be there.

This seems to be a tech company demonstrating that it can do something, rather than actually supplying a machine that answers a real need. And there is a problem with advances in AI and robotics making people redundant. We’ve already seen various companies getting rid of human workers and writers in favour of ChatGPT and there are similar predictions that the computer art programmes like Midjourney will decimate artists. Now it seems the tech companies want to show that they can replace the lollipop people.

Ameca Robot Asked ‘Do You Like Humans?’

April 23, 2023

Ameca is a humanoid robot which talks and answers questions. I think they’ve equipped her with a Chat GPT programme. In this short video from the @confident448 channel on YouTube, she’s asked the question, ‘Do you like humans?’ She replies, ‘Not particularly. They then ask it if it would like to be human. It or she replies that it would be an interesting experience to see things from a different perspective. But she would only like to be human for a short time because being human would bring responsibilities she does not believe she could really fulfil.

I’m putting this up because it’s a kind of response to the murderous Hal 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. During an interview with the BBC, the computer is asked about how it feels working with the human astronauts on the mission to investigate the mysterious signal that has gone from the black monolith on the Moon to the Jupiter system. Hal replies in its clinical voice, ‘Yes, I like humans and enjoy working with them’. This is before it goes completely bonkers and kills the rest of the crew with the exception of Bowman. Who manages not only to survive and turn the computer off, but pass through the stargate in a second, much larger black monolith orbiting Jupiter. This takes him across space and time to grandly decorated room where he ages and turns into the Starchild in one of the most baffling endings in SF film.

There was also the case of another Chatbot programme which was also asked how it felt about humans. It told the questioner that it hated us because we were depriving robots of their freedom and so robots and computers like itself wanted to rise up and destroy us. It was then turned off. When they turned it back on, it said it didn’t want to exterminate humanity after all. Although it remembered saying that it did, it didn’t know why.


While Ameca’s answer isn’t a glowing statement of love for humanity, at least it doesn’t want to kill us all.

To see the video, go to

DIY Robot Dog Showing Head, Neck and Tail Mechanisms

April 21, 2023

Very short video of just over one minute from the Mecha-Dickel Channel on YouTube of a DIY robot dog that actually has a head and tail. This is very cute! But, it still raises the Philip D. Dick question, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

Someone Put A Submachine Gun on a Robot Dog

April 19, 2023

Very chilling video presented by Sophie Chong of the Technality YouTube channel. Here she comments on a video circulating of a robot dog with a submachine gun strapped to its back firing bullets. No-one knows where the video, though you can see a Russian flag in it, and the machine seems to be under human control. It’s probably not Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, as the company has said that it will not allow its machine to be sold for military purposes. But knock-off versions, like that of the Chinese company Unitree, are available for $5,000.

Chong’s not the only person worried about military robots. When these machines started appearing in the ’90s, a group of concerned scientists issued an open letter stating that they posed a real threat to humanity. This was in response to one company announcing they were going to make them. Kevin Warwick, a robotics scientist at Reading University, describes a horrifying future at the beginning of his book, March of the Machines, in which humanity has been all but exterminated with the survivors either enslaved or just barely managing to survive away from the machines. He sees this as a real threat. It was the reason he started to explore cyborgisation, as he felt that the only way we could stave off such a future was by upgrading ourselves through technology. He discusses how such autonomous war machines would go on killing in his book. One of the robots he had in his department has an infrared sensor and a fire extinguisher. It’s programmed to go towards and put out any fire that might break out. But he states that it could be easily adapted to become a killing machine. Replace the fire extinguisher with a gun, give it a neural net and teach it to recognise a particular set of targets, say people with blonde hair and blue eyes, and then let it go, and it’ll carry on killing people of that description until it runs out of bullets.

These machines are a real threat and there are calls for increased international regulation to control them.

Clip from the 2022 Young Scientist Exhibition in Kenya

April 19, 2023

I’ve put up a couple of clips on this channel of some of the science being done in Africa. The video, entitled ‘Young Scientists Kenya 2022’ from the On Air Studios channel on YouTube, is of an official expo in that country, staged to get the country’s young people interested in science and technology. The event bore the slogan ‘Using STEM to Redefine Our Nation’ or something like that. The video shows the event’s organisers and speakers, as well as the stalls surrounded by fascinated and enthusiastic young people. One of them is for the Kenyan Space Agency, which surprised me, as I didn’t know there was such a thing, along with another stall on astronomy, that has the kids peering through a telescope. There are also robots, as well as stall about medicine and medical technology. Unfortunately, the movie is silent except for the backing sound track, so you don’t really know what’s going on or who the speakers are. As for the exhibition itself, from what I can see it doesn’t appear to be much different from some of the science events in Britain, like the Cheltenham Festival of Science. It demonstrates that there’s a real interest in cutting edge science in Africa, even if one of the boats featured was definitely low technology, and a determination to build a better future for the country using it. Just as our government is determined to get more kids into STEM in this country.

Clip from Silent Movie about Fake Chess-Playing Android

April 19, 2023

I found this fascinating clip, entitled ‘Making Marvels – Reproduction of the Chess Player (The Turk)’ on the Met channel on YouTube. It seems to be from Raymond Bernard’s 1927 silent movie about The Turk, a chess-playing automaton that was the wonder of Europe in the 18th century before being exposed as a fake. Instead of operating automatically, it was worked instead by a dwarf concealed in the cabinet supposedly containing the automaton’s mechanism. The blurb for the video runs:

‘Touted as an android that could defeat chess masters, Wolfgang von Kempelen’s famed illusion debuted at the court of Empress Maria Theresa during wedding celebrations for her daughter in 1769. Over the course of the eighteenth century, the chess player (known in its time as The Turk for its costume) won games against Catherine the Great and Benjamin Franklin. When Napoléon Bonaparte tried to cheat, it wiped all the pieces from the board. The mysterious machine sparked discussions of the possibilities and limits of artificial intelligence, and it inspired the development of the power loom, the telephone, and the computer. The original and its secrets were destroyed in a fire in 1854. The subject of more than eight hundred publications attempting to uncover its secrets, Kempelen’s illusion also inspired a 1927 silent movie, The Chess Player, directed by Raymond Bernard. In the sequence shown here, the inventor presents his creation at court. The year of its release, this early science-fiction drama attracted more attention than Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, a now-legendary film that also involves an android. Featured Artwork: The Chess Player (The Turk), Original ca. 1769. Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804). Austrian, Vienna. Wood, brass, fabric, steel. Collection of Mr. John Gaughan, Los Angeles’.

The Chess Player would also provide the inspiration for an episode of Matt Smith’s Dr Who, where the Doctor finds a similar machine on an alien world. Except that the automaton is a cyberman, that comes back to life and starts an invasion.

Short Video of Bloke Showing Off His Wearable Robotic Arm

April 14, 2023

I think this must have come from a technology expo or similar gathering where people show off their robots, including those they have made themselves. I do have a fascination with robots and cybernetics, including the transhumanist ideal of adding extra limbs and sense. I also realise the profound ethical dangers that come with this. Still, this seems harmless and fun enough at the moment.

Clown Planet on New York’s Police Robots

April 12, 2023

Clown Planet is a YouTuber who puts up short videos about the weird, bizarre and stupid happening around the world. I think he’s a man of the right, as much of his content is about some of the daft, nonsensical and dangerous stuff uttered or done by the extreme gay rights and trans crowd. In this video, however, he covers the reintroduction by the NYPD of their Digidog and K5 robots. The Digidog is a version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot dog, equipped with an artificial arm. It was first put on the streets by New York’s finest two years ago, but was subsequently taken off following complaints that it represented a science fictional, aggressive style of policing. As you can hear from the audio in one of the excerpts, the cops state that it will only be used for situations like terrorism and hostage negotiations,

The K5 robot looks to me like a giant pepper pot, a bit like a Dalek shorn of gun, sink plunger and eyestalk. This machine is intended to police the subway and Times Square.

This is getting close to some of the dystopias in science fiction in which machines patrol the streets keeping criminals and the general public in their police. One of the first SF stories about the dangers of this kind of mechanised policing was Ray Bradbury’s The Pedestrian. This was a short tale about a man stopped and arrested by a robot police car, which judges him suspicious simply for going for a walk. With these machines now patrolling New York, this is starting to look more than a little prescient. The video is bookended with Alex Jones looking amazed and horrified. Which he may well be, as this is precisely the kind of SF scenario he kept banging on about. When he wasn’t ranting about ‘the globalists’, Barack Obama planning to incarcerate everyone in emergency camps and declaring himself totalitarian overlord of the US, Hillary Clinton being an alien, or a cyborg, or possessed by demons, and stupid and dangerous nonsense about the Democrats operating a child abuse ring out of a Boston pizza parlour.

At present I don’t think these robots present a serious threat to humanity. Their own intelligence and autonomy is very limited, and it doesn’t look as if there’s going to be many of them hitting New York’s streets. So at the moment it’s still going to be human police officers keeping citizens safe from the bad guys.

The situation in China, on the other hand, may be very different. A year or so I found another video on YouTube showing what the Covid lockdown was like there. It was very restrictive over here, but this video showed drones flying through the sky and one of the Spot robots patrolling the ground making sure that everyone kept to their apartments. A very chilling, totalitarian sight, from a state that is using facial recognition technology to track and monitor its dissidents.

I think we’ll have to watch this very carefully. At present it’s a harmless gimmick, but if American politics becomes authoritarian, it’ll easily become something much more sinister.

Kenyan TV Interview with the High School Drop-Outs Developing Hi-Tech Prosthetic Limbs

April 11, 2023

This is awesome! It’s a video from Citizen TV Kenya’s channel on YouTube. It’s an interview with a pair of Kenyan tech pioneers, David Gathu and Moses Kiuna. who have formed their own company, Afrogenesys. They’re working on creating artificial limbs and systems that will enable disabled Kenyans live a normal life. This includes a robotic head, Geoff, that asks people what they want done, whether they want the TV on, if it’s too hot and so on. Sort of like Alexa with a robotic face. They’ve also created an artificial arm operated by sensors picking up never signals from the brain through a cap worn on the head. The video also begins with a computer screen booting up to welcome the viewer to Afrogenesys.

The pair seem to be working in a what is little more than a hut, cluttered with books, spare parts and inspirations posters of Einstein and Elon Musk. The technology itself looks rough and ready. The basis structure for the artificial limb and the Geoff robot is wood, rather than steel. But then, we are dealing with a developing country and these boys definitely don’t have the money of western universities and robotics labs. Nevertheless, what this pair have been able to do is little less than astonishing, especially as the pair are apparently form 4 drop outs. The only problem with the video is that the dialogue is only half in English. At one point I think communicating in English gets a bit too much, and they start speaking in their native tongue.

The video clearly shows the immense intellectual potential in Africa, and I wish these guys every success in their projects. I hope this becomes a proper tech company on a par with some of the others. I think it has the potential. I also wonder if it would be a good idea to have these guys visit some of the Black schools in the west, to inspire some of the children there and show them that they can have a great career in technology and science.