UK Army could be 25-percent robotic by 2030, says British general

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Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet

The big picture: The UK military is moving forward with plans to develop and deploy several thousand combat robots, some which might be autonomous. So far, militaries worldwide have avoided using unmanned technologies in combat situations. Semi-autonomous drones have a pilot who is always at the controls, so humans make the final strike decisions, not AI.

British Army leaders think that by 2030 nearly a quarter of the UK’s ground troops will be robots. That is almost 30,000 autonomous and remote-controlled fighting machines deployed within about a decade.

“I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows?” General Sir Nick Carter told The Guardian in an interview.

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Inside China’s iPhone factory: Fascinating footage shows Apple components being made in a fully automated plant manned by robots

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The manufacturer in southern China’s Shenzhen is entirely staffed by robots

The automated plant is dubbed ‘lights-out’ factory with AI-powered machines

It can save costs on labour and energy while improving product quality, it is said

Apple devices and iPhone components are now being produced in a Chinese out-source factory from dusk till dawn without any human workers.

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‘Robot soldiers could make up quarter of British army by 2030s’

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General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the Defence Staff,

Thirty thousand “robot soldiers” could form an integral part of the British army in the 2030s, working alongside humans in and around the frontline, the head of the armed forces said in a television interview on Sunday.

Gen Sir Nick Carter said the armed forces needed “to think about how we measure effects in a different way” – and he called on the government to proceed with the previously promised five-year integrated defence review.

Speaking to Sky News on the morning of Remembrance Sunday, the chief of the defence staff suggested that “an armed forces that’s designed for the 2030s” could include large numbers of autonomous or remotely controlled machines.

“I mean, I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows?” Carter said, although he stressed he was not setting any particular target in terms of future numbers.

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If you train robots like dogs, they learn faster

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Instead of needing a month, it mastered new “tricks” in just days with reinforcement learning.

Treats-for-tricks works for training dogs — and apparently AI robots, too.

That’s the takeaway from a new study out of Johns Hopkins, where researchers have developed a new training system that allowed a robot to quickly learn how to do multi-step tasks in the real world — by mimicking the way canines learn new tricks.

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Disney’s robot can perform realistic eye movements & social interaction

In the past few years, scientists and engineers have developed robots for automated systems such as performing repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, Disney Research has been developing human-like robots with abilities ranging from performing stunts to having eerie eye interactions.

Disney Research recently published a paper that described a realistic and interactive gaze with the Audio-Animatronic humanoid. Previous robot developments have focused on technical implementation with human interaction. The team’s latest advancements include creating a gaze interaction “through the lens of character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion are paramount,” wrote the authors.

For nearly three decades, Disney has been developing animatronic figures, or life-like robots combined with audio and visual elements. These animal or human characters are seen in Disney theme parks around the world.

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How a hyperrealistic robo-dolphin is paving the way for animatronic aquariums

Imagine, if you will, that David Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau was put in charge of a technologically advanced theme park like the one on the TV series Westworld, offering visitors a plethora of robots to interact with that are so compellingly lifelike as to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Now imagine that, instead of an old American West setting like Westworld, this high-tech theme park was a robotic version of SeaWorld, filled with dozens of intelligent (or, at least, artificially intelligent) marine mammals, from dolphins to orcas, that look and act just like their ocean-dwelling counterparts. But, you know, without the need to take these animals out of their natural habitats and put them into cramped tanks for our amusement.

That could be the future of marine parks — and it’s one that San Francisco-based engineering company Edge Innovations wants to help make science reality instead of science fiction.

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Robot courier delivering food from shop to home

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From the last week of September onwards, customers of REDI shopping centre may have spotted a small, wheeled robot moving about on its own. Its task is to deliver meals on demand from K-Supermarket to the Majakka high-rise building. Customers can place an order via the building’s Asumi service on their computer or mobile device, and the delivery robot courier will take the products directly to the customer or to the collection point in the building’s shared facilities.

This is an ongoing robot delivery pilot in Kalasatama district in Helsinki implemented by technology company Dimalog in collaboration with Omron and service design agency Muotohiomo. The pilot is coordinated by the city of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki with its partners SRV and KONE. SRV is involved regarding the smart living services directed at Majakka residents, while KONE Oyj offers the lift interfaces for the delivery robot to move about in Majakka. Another essential partner is REDI’s K-Supermarket, which has the opportunity to test the robot in its services.

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Sam’s Club will deploy autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in all of its US locations

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The past six months have seen a fairly aggressive acceleration in the option of robotics and automation as companies look for ways to augment (and, likely, replace in some instances) human workers. The appeal is certainly clear during massive pandemic-fueled shutdowns.

Sam’s Club has been into robotic floor cleaning for a bit longer, having already deployed Tennant’s T7AMR scrubbers in a number of locations. But this week the Walmart -owned bulk retailer announced that it’s adding another 372 this year, bringing the technology to all of its 599 U.S. stores.

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LA debuts first firefighting robot in the country, deploys it in downtown blaze

The Thermite RS3 is capable of spraying 2,500 gallons per minute

 A firefighting robot got its first major test Tuesday in Los Angeles when it was put to use for the first time in the United States to battle a major blaze.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the Thermite RS3 robot was supposed to have its official public introduction in the afternoon but got called into duty a few hours early due to a blaze downtown.

“It had already gotten dirty at an early morning major emergency commercial structure fire that morning – proving its value from the start,” the department said.

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Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant

 

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 A robot that can perform colonoscopies may make the procedure simpler and less unpleasant.

Pietro Valdastri at the University of Leeds in the UK and his colleagues have developed a robotic arm that uses a machine learning algorithm to move a flexible probe along the colon.

The probe is a magnetic endoscope, a tube with a camera lens at the tip, that the robot controls via a magnet external to the body.

The system can either work autonomously or be controlled by a human operator using a joystick, which pushes the endoscope tip further along the colon. Valdastri likens the movement to the intuitive motion of playing a video game. The system also keeps track of the location and orientation of the endoscope inside the colon.

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Alphabet’s Mineral moonshot wants to help farmers with robotic plant buggies

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The tech could lead to more sustainable farming practices.

 In 2018, Alphabet’s X lab said it was in the process of exploring how it could use artificial intelligence to improve farming. On Monday, X announced that its “computational agriculture” project is called Mineral. The Mineral team has spent the last several years “developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more.”

One of the tools that has come out of the project is a robotic plant buggy. Powered by solar panels, the machine makes its way across a farmer’s field, examining every plant it passes along the way with an array of cameras and sensors. In conjunction with satellite, weather and soil data, Mineral says the buggy and its AI software can identify patterns and give farmers insights into their crops.

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