Tag Archives: Future

Working Alongside Robots


Robots – I came across the article “How Should Your Company Prepare For Robot Coworkers?” this morning. if you are concerned as to how AI and automation will be affecting your job or you company, you should give it a read. It is short only taking about 5 minutes.

The gist of the article is that we need to start thinking how to incorporate AI and robotics into the work place alongside existing employees. the key thing is to modify work flow to incorporate what AI and robotics do well and have humans focus on the less mundane, higher intellect part of the job.


The Cost of Industrial Robots Predicted to Decline


Robots – In a recently published article “Industrial Robot Cost Decline” by ARK Invest, they predict that the cost of industrial robots will drop 65% by 2025. They say:

. . . costs will drop by roughly 65%, to levels much lower than most analysts now anticipate, by 2025. Combined with advances in machine learning and computer vision, this drop in costs should cause an inflection point in the demand for robots as they infiltrate new industries with more provocative use cases.

These are just machines with a significant helping of electronics. It is no surprise that the price will fall as the technology matures, just as it has in so many segments of the electronics industry. This just adds to the rush towards more robotics and automation.

The big question looking forward is how will all of this automation affect society. It is a move that can’t and shouldn’t be stopped, but some long range planning is needed to keep the wide introduction of robots and AI from being disruptive.

Robots at Walmart

Apparently even Walmart is looking at automation in its stores. Two different initiatives seem to be under evaluation by Walmart.

EMMA (Enabling Mobile Machine Automation), an autonomous machine for scrubbing store floors, is under evaluation at five stores. After a training run controlled by a human operator to identify the desired operational path, the machine will autonomously clean the floor. It has built in sensors and cameras similar to autonomous vehicles currently on the roads that allow it to navigate around obstacles at a sedate 2.5 miles per hour. EMMA is a product of Brain Corp.

In a separate trial, Walmart has deployed shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores. These machines will scan store shelves to verify inventory, prices and misplaced items. These units are from Bossa Nova Robotics.

Will these attempts at automation cost jobs? Well, probably over the long term, but it is unlikely that the impact will be significant. It is clear though that robots and automation will be in our future.

An Overview of the New space Race

Space – I came across the article “Private companies are launching a new space race – here’s what to expect” this morning. it gives a very good overview of the companies and governments that are currently pursuing space programs.

If you are interested in space exploration, as I am, you will find this article of interest. The next decade will see many significant events if todays forecasts can be believed.

Future of Interstellar Travel

Space – I came across the article “Here Is the Future of Interstellar Spacecraft” yesterday and thought it was a good overview of the propulsion technologies that are likely to take future spacecraft beyond the Solar System.

In short the alternatives that are covered are:

  1. Thermonuclear propulsion
  2. Lightsail
  3. Bussard ramjet
  4. Antimatter rockets
  5. NASA’s Eagleworks Lab “Warp bubble” drive

None of these are really going to be ready in the near future, with possibly the exception of the Lightsail. I am glad to see though that the ideas are being kept in front of people, particularly those budding STEM students who will lead the way over the next few decades.

The White House Takes Action on AI


The White House has just (Octoberr 2016) issued the report entitle “Preparing For the Future of Artificial Intelligence“.

In short the report:

  • highlights the benefits of AI
  • talks of the need for standards
  • brings up how AI should be regulated
  • raises the issue of job loss due to automation

If you are interested in Robots, AI and Automation, your time would be well spent reading this 48 page report.

Trailer for “Mars: Our Future on the red planet”

I came across this article today “HOW WILL WE GET TO MARS? NEW BOOK AND TV SERIES PROVIDE THE DETAILS” and now I am looking forward to the National Geographic series. This will be a six-part documentary series to be aired on the National Geographic Channel beginning November 14. The series is based on the book by space journalist Leonard David also titled, “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet.”

The story being told is set in 2033 and tells of the fictional story of the first six humans and their mission to Mars. There is the drama of the three men and three women who take the journey to Mars interspersed with ‘flashbacks’ to the present with documentary footage on how technology evolved to enable the eventual mission to Mars.

This series will be of interest to any thinking about Mars and its eventual colonization. If you go to National Geographic Channel website you can watch the first hour and twenty minute episode of the series now.

Asgardia: The First Nation in Space(?)

This may not be the effort that succeeds, but I do believe that new “countries” will appear in space.


Igor Ashurbeiyli has some grand plans. His dream is to build a sovereign nation in orbit aboard a massive space station. Its citizens will be “free from the constraint of a land-based country’s laws” and must apply for citizenship.

Apparently Ashurbeiyli believes that science is too constrained by terrestrial laws and “economical and political considerations often take precedence over purely scientific
ones and ethical boundaries are considered necessary to sustain safety.” I don’t like to put words in peoples’ mouths, but it seems to me that he views things like ethics and morals to be things that are holding the human race back. His goal is that this country/station will eventually house 150 million people – yes, 150 million – and is looking to crowdfunding to help finance the endeavor.

Putting the whole “let’s throw out morals and ethics” argument to the side, let’s just take a quick look at the costs required…

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AI Used to Compose Music


I have written quite a bit about AI over the past few months. I came across the article “This AI-written pop song is almost certainly a dire warning for humanity” today and found it interesting. Certainly I am no music expert or even listen to music very often (I put on a local popular radio station when I am driving granddaughters around), but the tune in the video below is not bad.

Now as the article explains, the AI just creates the melodies and a real human composer takes that and turns it into the final music track. The melodies were produced by Sony’s Flow Machines.

The AI pulls data from about 13000 songs in its leadsheet database when a user inputs the selected style for the music to be created. The example above was created in the “Beattles” style.

Is this a sign of another career sector that will be impacted by AI in the years ahead? It is too early to tell, but Sony plans to release a music album of AI created pop music in 2017. If it is successful who knows what the long term impact may be.