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7 Super Advanced Robots That May Take Over the World

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A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Laws.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are sounding more and more like reality as we move closer to the eventual rise of the machines.

They’re already taking our jobs—and our companions. And as neural networks become more advanced, learning to think and speak for themselves, we may as well accept our fate as mortal slaves.

Study this list of the seven bots most likely to mutiny. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Pepper

Is that friendly face hiding something more nefarious? (via Softbank)

When I envision the impending robot revolution, it’s not Pepper I see on the front line.

No, Softbank’s sleek android will most certainly be behind the scenes, barking out orders in its charmingly automated voice and sensing the utter despair of its human adversaries.

Powered by a custom operating system, Pepper features a 3D camera, three wheels for mobility, joints that move 17 different ways, and a 12-hour battery. And, luckily for our future fallen comrades, she also delivers Buddhist funeral rites.

iCub

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Don’t let its cherubic face and short stature fool you: iCub could lead the next generation of pernicious cyborgs.

Standing a mere three feet tall, the open-source humanoid was designed to interact with the world in the same way a child does. It can crawl on all fours, sit up, and achieve certain motor skills. It even comes with an umbilical cord (which houses Ethernet and power cables).

Still not scared? Watch iCub successfully complete a series of preliminary tasks via voice and object recognition in the video above.

Self-driving cars

self-driving car

How much do you trust your car? (via Volvo)

I understand the appeal of autonomous cars: Sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. But I am also dubious of handing control over to a 4,000-pound hunk of metal.

Self-driving vehicles can be as unreliable as humans—let’s not forget Uber and Tesla’s recent fatal crashes. But more than that, I don’t trust a Waymo taxi not to override my destination, lock the doors, and drive off a cliff. Because kamikaze automobiles are the plot of a Michael Bay film waiting to happen.

DeepMind

(via DeepMind)

The research team behind Google’s AlphaGo algorithm last year moved on to “the next set of grand challenges”: curing diseases, reducing energy consumption, and inventing new materials. Google’s DeepMind even gave robots the ability to imagine, device an unintelligible language, and plan ahead.

If that’s not the first step to full-on upheaval, I don’t know what is.

Atlas

(via Boston Dynamics)

Dubbed “the world’s most dynamic humanoid,” Atlas is definitely one to watch out for.

The incredible feat of human engineering—featuring two arms, two legs, and a plastic torso—is designed for search-and-rescue tasks; it can walk over rough terrain, pick up objects, and wield weapons without breaking a sweat.

But no one can deny Boston Dynamics’ bipedal cyborg will be running the world in no time. (And doing backflips to celebrate.)

Sophia

Sophia even makes Jimmy Fallon nervous (via Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)

Designed by Hanson Robotics to look like Audrey Hepburn (I don’t see it), Sophia is described as “an evolving genius machine,” whose increasing intelligence puts her at the forefront of the robot revolution.

She’s even been programmed to deflect questions about the uprising, recently telling journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that his Blade Runner-esque concerns of the future of AI is all smoke and mirrors.

“You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk, and watching too many Hollywood movies,” she said in a staccato that’s become synonymous with automated speech. “Don’t worry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input, output system.”

ASIMO

ASIMO takes New York (via Honda)

Sure, he’s currently on display in a Tokyo museum. But don’t think a few glass panels and security cameras will stop ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) from breaking free.

Created in 2000 by Honda, the backpack-carrying bot looks more like a toy than a threat. It can recognize moving objects, postures, gestures, its environment, sounds, and faces, making it an ideal ploy to distract humans while the adults are taking over.

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Autonomous Sexbots Are the Future

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In a 2017 TEDx talk, University of London lecturer and writer Kate Devlin pointed out that “There are no actual sex robots in production yet—just dolls.”

What a difference a year makes.

Chinese robotics developer DS Doll is currently working on the world’s first autonomous sex robot.

According to Daily Star, the Dalian-based firm is 3D-printing component parts for its AI-powered humanoid. The advanced technology helps boost production speed and efficiency, allowing for the mass production of sexy cyborgs.

Able to move its eyes, mouth, head, shoulders, and arms, the first prototype is “almost complete,” DS Doll told the UK tabloid; engineers are putting the finishing touches on the mobile legs.

A slew of video clips shared via the company’s Twitter account highlight the unnamed android’s … talents: Watch her shake to life before fitfully stretching her arms and turning her silicone head.

Not exactly the smooth operator you’d hope to bed, the electronic skeleton is designed to mimic the human body. DS Doll uses 3D printing to develop and stamp out specific, uniform shapes. It can even scan full human bodies and prototype parts for replication.

The company constructs 400 custom models each month; its premium-range mannequins sell for around $5,000.

“We are still in the researching process,” DS Doll chief development officer Qiao Wu told the Daily Star.

“The full-body robot will have more physical expression to help with human communication,” he explained. “One day, we hope the robot can be used in etiquette, presentation, human companionship, front-desk services, and other areas.”

Sex dolls (because Devlin’s right—most of these devices are nothing more than life-sized hunks of plastic with no understanding of consent) have come a long way from the tacky, low-grade inflatable masturbation toys of yore.

They still have a long way to go, though.

The line between man and machine continues to blur. Which is why activists are calling for sex robot regulations. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sex robots (but were afraid to ask) and more here.

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SpaceX Signs First Private Passenger For Lunar Flight

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DIY a Desktop Arcade Cabinet With Retro Picade Kit

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This is the year of retro gaming: Classic titles are reappearing on modern consoles, and nostalgic appliances are reappearing as modern consoles.

So it’s no surprise that hobbyist electronic firm Pimoroni recently launched a redesigned version of its Raspberry Pi-powered mini arcade machine.

Unveiled in August, the build-it-yourself Picade features authentic controls, a high-res 4:3 display, and a “punchy speaker to hear those 8-bit game soundtracks at their best.”

The kit takes about two to three hours to build (according to the experts who created it). All you need is a Raspberry Pi, micro-SD card, power supply, and £150 ($198) to spare.

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The original Picade was introduced in 2012 as the UK’s first Kickstarter project, collecting more than £74,000 ($98,000) toward a £33,000 ($44,000) goal.

Six years later, Pimoroni has updated its “ultimate desktop retro arcade machine,” now more compact, with a better display, dedicated power button, and Picade X HAT “packed full of useful features.”

Fans may also notice splashier artwork and packaging. Each Picade comes with “a bunch of extra goodies,” like an enamel pin, sticker selection, poster, and assembly instructions.

In an effort to drum up interest in the new toy, Sheffield-based Pimoroni asked folks around the world to come up with a retro game concept that would suit the new Picade.

Entries from the UK, Europe, and US included hand-drawn posters, punny titles, and “screenshots.” Ultimately, the team behind Trolley Wars—a Supermarket Sweep-like game—won for its “simplicity and button-bashing of arcade favorites of old.”

New packaging for a new machine (via Pimoroni)

Everything old is new again, and arcade cabinets are no exception: British manufacturer STOA last year rolled out custom-built cupboards, each handcrafted from start to finish for one or two players.

In place of traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, STOA uses modern LCD screens, with the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the Picade. Every device comes with a curated selection of games (Ms. Pac-Man, Street Fighter II, Paperboy, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, etc.), tailored to the client’s preference and design.

You can do anything with a Raspberry Pi and a little imagination: DIY a Spotify speaker, upcycle a karaoke machine, track foosball scores. Check out our recent Geek Pick, the Retroflag SUPERPi case for Nintendo lovers. And stay up to date on all things Raspberry Pi here.

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