Sun 4 May 2008
Popular Mechanics website recently carried an article about the ‘fragility’ of the nascent robotics industry and the unlikeliness that we’ll be seeing robots making our martinis anytime soon. Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot (a company that specializes in ‘home robotics’*) said in his keynote address at the RoboBusiness conference in Pittsburgh last month that ‘the killer app that will drive the industry hasn’t yet emerged‘.
When he says ‘killer app’ I don’t think he’s talking about the heavily armed SWORDS† robots that the US military deployed in Iraq in 2007 and then immediately undeployed when the robotic gun ‘started moving when it was not intended to move‘… Before it could shoot when it was not intended to shoot, one speculates.
You all know my thoughts on robots. I’m thinking that we still have a ways to go even with trusting them to dust the china before we start handing out the AK47s. Not that the US Military (nor indeed the voting majority of the democracy that is the United States of America) seems to require much in the way of actual intelligence (artificial or otherwise) in that respect.
*When they say home robotics, they evidently mean vacuum cleaners at this point in time…
†Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System. Well whaddya want? It’s the military – they’re not known for their literary acumen.
Image swiped from the unmatchably geek-cool Modern Mechanix. Go there now and marvel at the treasures.