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Thread: Robots

  1. #1 Robots 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    One of the things I see mentioned very often in journals, on TV, and even light weight magazines, is the development in robots. We have had robots for a long time, but for most of that time, they have been pretty damn stupid. An arm that screws a widget onto a gadget on an assembly line is not high tech by today's standards. But more recently, they have been becoming much more sophisticated, and there are signs that the cost is dropping dramatically.

    I see a robot vacuum cleaner advertised on TV., cheap enough for the average householder. New Scientist talks of a worm shaped robot under development, which will dig through the Earth and test minerals as it goes as a prospecting tool. The first self drive cars are already built, and some governments are already passing laws to make them legal on public roads. I know that robot lawn mowers are being sold. Mini robot arms are in use to permit more precise surgery. Robot submarine probes cruise under the ocean while sampling and testing water and sediments, and radioing data home.

    Computers developed and continue to develop under an exponential law, called Moore's Law, in which their complexity (number of transistors) doubled each two year period, without increasing in price. I strongly suspect that robotic technology is doing the same, though I am not sure of the doubling time.

    My interest is the impact on human society. The Japanese have prototype robots for caring for old people in retirement homes. They are pretty sophisticated, though it is predictable that the new nurse robots of 20 years hence will be even more sophisticated, and flexible.

    How is this new trend going to change the world over the next few decades?


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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    I am not educated on matter enough to theorize any. But, I would personally feel terribly lonely if I were to be taken care of by a robot. I imagine robots will lead to higher depression rates in nursing homes as well as shorter life spans within the nursing facilities.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Shlunka

    I understand your reasoning. Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be the case. Humans have a great ability to mentally transfer the concept of humanity onto non human objects. Just think of the vast number of people lavishing their baby nurturing impulses on pets. Or the way many people respond to plastic dolls.

    I saw a TV doco that showed a human looking robot, with cute features like overlarge painted on eyes, being used in therapy with autistic people. Apparently they became devoted to the robot, and responded to it as though it were a love giving human.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    If she looked like her I think I wouldn't mind.

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  6. #5  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    We humans have a weird ability to take things for granted shortly after they are introduced and the magic fades a little. Think what people would say if you took a Roomba back to 1955. A robot vacuum cleaner? They would scream like teenage girls at an Elvis concert.

    If we had robot caretakers, I think we'd be pretty quick to adapt to them and accept them as the norm.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I think you are correct, Flick.
    Any comments about what all those robots will do to the economy and to jobs for humans?
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  8. #7  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    I really don't know. I'm kind of fascinated to see where it goes. I hear about robots taking over for almost every imaginable job at some point in the future. It's exciting and frightening at the same time.

    I've related this story several times, but my wife once told me about her day at work (she works in a hospital). She nonchalantly mentioned to me that she was trying to get to a different floor, but the elevator passed her up. She said, "I knew it was TUG. He always steals the elevator." I asked, "Who is TUG?" to which she replied, "The robot who delivers our medicine."

    I thought that was the coolest thing I ever heard. But because she works around TUG every day, she finds him more of an annoyance. For me, a robot that can navigate the hospital and even call its own elevator and say "Excuse me" to people in the way is fantastic.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    And bearing in mind cosmictravellor's post, what would happen if robots were made in the shape of the most beautiful humans, with the express purpose of being the ultimate in sex toys?
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  10. #9  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    And bearing in mind cosmictravellor's post, what would happen if robots were made in the shape of the most beautiful humans, with the express purpose of being the ultimate in sex toys?
    No, No, No, anyone who could want a robot to have sex with needs to get out more and actually meet some women, did you not see the episode of TBBT where Wolowitz had to go to hospital because he got his robotic arm & hand stuck on his todger? Besides being extremely seedy it could lead to all kinds of accidents and rubber dolls have been around for ever, most normal people don't try and have sex with them so why have an animated one, it's still only going to be rubber and motors. But hey each to their own I guess.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To Ascended.

    Who said the robot sex toys would be for men?
    I could well imagine that a very handsome male looking robot with a programmed line of verbal charm, and a 12 inch tongue, who would never do anything prematurely, could be very popular with the ladies.

    And no chance of getting pregnant!
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  12. #11  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Hey now skeptic I hadn't thought of the idea of creating robitic men, but that's an even scarier concept. Robots are not going to fart in bed either, hey all they'd have to do is master putting up a shelf and getting rid of an earwig and us guys could become obselete! So right ok we already have Azimov's 3 rules to work with governing robot behaviour, but we might also need a new rule, governing robot appearance/aesthetics, to protect the male species from extinction. Something like perhaps "No robot should ever have look fully human or be mistaken for an actual man".
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  13. #12  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Great thread, skeptic!

    I could surely use a strong robot to help with the physical chores, including feeding/watering horses, splitting and carrying firewood, fence repairs, brush clearing etc. I would go along and supervise any activity related to the horses because I value the interaction with them but it would be great to have the robot do chores that involve no living creatures directly. I already name my vehicles and major appliances so a robot minion would be a blast.
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  14. #13  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Thinking about the impact of robots on the economy, I would suggest that our economy has always been in a state of transition. As robots take over some of the more repetitive and labor intensive tasks, they also create more jobs in that robots need to be built, maintained and constantly improved. Many robots are designed to work with people, not to replace them so possibly even job creation there.

    Even the new time-clock devices at work create as much labor as they save because it still requires a human review and accuracy check for the several anomalies which occur daily. Yes, I know, a clock is not a robot but I use it as an example of how improvements in technology can both replace jobs and create jobs.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Could a human fall in love with a sex toy robot?

    Just a note on robots in general. My feeling is that the vast majority would not be humanoid. Why should they? A robot digging prospector would look like a worm. A robot for tending soy bean plants might look like a Mars rover. etc.

    Another consequence of robots might be an improvement for the natural environment.
    A large number of small robots tending crops and pulling weeds and killing insects and other pests might do away with the need for chemical pesticides. If they also tested soil and injected fertiliser, there would be no over spraying of fertiliser leading to the stuff washing into water ways and causing eutrophication.
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  16. #15  
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    Just a note on robots in general. My feeling is that the vast majority would not be humanoid. Why should they? A robot digging prospector would look like a worm. A robot for tending soy bean plants might look like a Mars rover. etc.

    Another consequence of robots might be an improvement for the natural environment.
    A large number of small robots tending crops and pulling weeds and killing insects and other pests might do away with the need for chemical pesticides. If they also tested soil and injected fertiliser, there would be no over spraying of fertiliser leading to the stuff washing into water ways and causing eutrophication.
    That's my feeling about appropriate uses for robots. All those jobs that are difficult for humans to do, or to do well, because they're tediously repetitive and hard to keep up with the constant requirement for attention to boring detail - the Roomba is a perfect example of this - and a whole lot of jobs that are now not done at all or done badly or clumsily by people because it would take far too much time, or too many people, to do effectively. Inspection and routine maintenance of irrigation/ fertiliser systems or stock watering systems or mulch cover or fencing in agriculture. Robotic exclusion and / or yarding of feral and other pest animals from feed or water supplies of pastoral animals. Pipeline inspection and fault reporting. Recording the condition of road surfaces by using a robotic and/or miniature flying drone observation and scouting system would make some tasks quicker to evaluate and cheaper to organise - especially after storms, fires, floods have damaged a large area.

    Of course, looking at many such problems and possible robot solutions would be useful in getting us to look at non-robot solutions we have already available. I very much doubt a robot would do a better job of protecting vulnerable flocks of farm animals or native bird colonies than the guard animals we've already identified and used successfully in all sorts of situations. Maremma sheepdogs and similar species, donkeys, llamas and the like.
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  17. #16  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    And bearing in mind cosmictravellor's post, what would happen if robots were made in the shape of the most beautiful humans, with the express purpose of being the ultimate in sex toys?
    Then I'd say people have sex for the wrong reasons.
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  18. #17  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Another consequence of robots might be an improvement for the natural environment.
    A large number of small robots tending crops and pulling weeds and killing insects and other pests might do away with the need for chemical pesticides. If they also tested soil and injected fertiliser, there would be no over spraying of fertiliser leading to the stuff washing into water ways and causing eutrophication.
    I rather like the thought of robots as stewards of the environment, attending to plant and pest specific management. They could probably also be solar powered units I'm thinking.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Energy need not be solar.
    I posted an item on another thread in which I mentioned a robot used to clean sewer pipes, which gained its energy from oxidation of organic material. Do I need to describe exactly which organic material?
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  20. #19  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Energy need not be solar.
    I posted an item on another thread in which I mentioned a robot used to clean sewer pipes, which gained its energy from oxidation of organic material. Do I need to describe exactly which organic material?
    LOL...Keep your little 'pooper scoopers' away from my vegetables although you can turn them loose in the horse paddocks to round up the 'road apples' for cold composting.
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