Thursday, March 26, 2009
Honda's Android Project
I am fascinated by technology for several reasons. And robotics is at the fore of this fascination.
Many don't realize how far robotics has come. With cheaper and more powerful integrated circuits and computation, and clever programming, we are moving closer to the paradigm-shifting appearance of a "universal robot" on earth. A universal robot is a robot which can be programmed to do just about anything a human can, if I understand the concept properly. Perhaps these marvels will appear, even, within the next decade or so.
Honda has the most advanced robot to date, Asimo. See high-def video of him here:
Asimo is a stunning revelation for those who haven't been paying much attention to robotics. Usually robotics stories come at the END of a newscast, a little "human interest" story, so to speak. But robotics is developing rapidly, and its reality may soon overwhelm us. I know I indeed was stunned a few years ago when I learned that Honda had created a robot which walked like a human, even up stairs and inclines. And now Asimo is handling objects well, and interacting with humans, and even charging-up his battery pack by himself.
There are about 100 Asimo robots so far, and, of course, they're still in beta, or alpha, testing (although they CAN be rented for about $160,000 a year). They are constantly being upgraded. They recognize faces, and they speak a limited Japanese. They can hold your hand and walk with you, smoothly. They can bring you a drink.
The appearance of a universal robot is near.
...And did you know that there are cars which drive themselves? I mean, REALLY drive themselves. Through city traffic, or out in the desert and mountains, with no driver whatsoever, no remote control. Of course, they're still in beta testing, too, or maybe I should say alpha testing, actually.
The military already uses robotic planes, although humans make the important decisions, like when to fire their weapons.
And you thought The Terminator (movie) was stupid. Shame on you. ...lol...
So, yeah, I'll take a robot. A female version, please. Maybe blonde hair, or a bright red, with aqua eyes. She'll teach me French, and she'll hold my hand. She'll enjoy talking about history, and art, and she'll giggle sometimes. She'll be smarter than me in some ways, but she'll envy my oil paintings. Of course, she'll get upgrades, and one day her new emotion service pack will be downloaded, and she'll leave me.
You can't have everything.