Radiolab

Navigate
Return Home

The Robot Threat

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 11:22 AM

robot needlepoint future robot needlepoint future (krupp/flickr)

In this week's podcast, Robert chatted with Steven Johnson and Kevin Kelly about the evolution of ideas and technology...and toward the end of the conversation you hear him getting nervous about the idea that technology might one day develop a mind of its own and, just maybe, crush us in its steely deathgrip.

So we thought it might be a nice (if temporary) consolation to share this video of what kind of threat we face from the robots, at least as far as soccer is concerned.  And this article, from the BBC, elaborates on the preparation of a team of University of Edinburg roboticists for the 2011 RoboCup. 

Tags:

More in:

Comments [27]

Chris Wells from Bennington, VT

Just love this show, truly one of my favorite programs. I also love the Jonathan Coulton reference in the needlepoint.

Dec. 26 2010 11:51 AM
TR

The goal of the Robocup is to have a human v. robot match in 2050. There have even been rules suggested to ensure a fair match: check out chapter 6 of "Soccer and Philosophy" Open Court Press, 2010.

Dec. 17 2010 08:02 AM
Meda Thurston from Asheville, NC, USA

I don't know what some people here are talking about. I've already watched it twice and plan to pass it along. To me, this is the epitome of a riveting sporting event...

Dec. 16 2010 09:35 PM
Angelyn

Wonderful, as always...but have a question that's nearly irrelevant.
I thought this pic of the cross-stitch was hilarious and posted it on my FB. I'm an artist, and FB friends started thinking it was something I made they could buy. Where did this awesome pic come from? I want peeps to know if it's an item they can buy somewhere...

Dec. 08 2010 08:52 PM
Angelyn

Wonderful, as always...but have a question that's nearly irrelevant.
I thought this pic of the cross-stitch was hilarious and posted it on my FB. I'm an artist, and FB friends started thinking it was something I made they could buy. Where did this awesome pic come from? I want peeps to know if it's an item they can buy somewhere...

Dec. 08 2010 08:52 PM
Matt Miller from Muncie, Indiana

Listening to podcast now. Problem 1) comparing tech to organic life has one common problem: humans are making the comparison. That means the way a cornet's family tree is similar to a trilobite's tree only as much as humans see similarities. Problem 2) humans, as the "gods" of technology, are building and controlling the direction, at least in part due to the social nature of our race. Let's not give up our responsibility in this matter.

Dec. 08 2010 12:31 PM

If SkyNet becomes a reality will the robots speak with heavy Austrian accents or will they be able to fix that?

Dec. 08 2010 10:27 AM

This is fantastic and terrifying. Robotics is going to be incredibly useful for myriad risky human behavior (ie bomb squads, deep sea-diving, uh oh, military campaigns) skynet WILL happen....I just hope it's not for a while...<a href="http://www.myspace.com/thenewmediaband">The New Media</a>

Dec. 06 2010 07:28 AM
Robert from San Diego

We don't have to fear the machines when we ARE the machines. The synthesis is coming...

Dec. 05 2010 03:48 PM
tom from uk

1min 15 - clear dive!

when will they clamp down on this dam cheating in football!

scum

Dec. 01 2010 02:22 PM
Tom from UK

Being a Leeds fan I can see the future benefits of hiring cheap footballers that won't leave for Man Utd...

Dec. 01 2010 12:54 PM
Shane from australia

I am afraid I lost sight of the 'wow how amazing' under the onslaught of 'oh god this is boring'

Nov. 29 2010 10:05 PM

I can't wait to listen this as a podcast as here in The Netherlands this is the only way to get those high quality radio shows (which actually has something to say compared to the local stations).

I am enjoying every minute Radiolab during my commuting on a daily basis.

Keep it up!

Nov. 26 2010 05:19 PM
Marcus Goodyear from Kerrville, TX

It's like watching a baby video. Things look simple now, but the technology will grow. Maybe not as fast as a human body, but it will grow.

My nine year old plays violin today (and loves Radio Lab!) A few years ago, I was moving her around the living room much as these folks are moving the robots around the field.

Nov. 23 2010 02:47 PM
Stephan

If Moore’s Law holds up as Ray Kurzweil and others are suggesting. These robot types will be one million times more powerful within 20 years. I wouldn’t be laughing too hard, you are replaceable! That means all of you.

Nov. 23 2010 12:59 PM
Grace from 1716 Allied St. Charlottesville, Virginia

Love this episode! Really touched on some big questions that have been marinating in my brain juice for a long time-

We love you guys so much we featured you on our "What Inspires Us" section of our blog,

http://blog.amysteryincommon.com/

Thanks for providing great stuff to listen to while we design, print and pull our hair :)

Cheers,
Grace
A Mystery In Common

Nov. 23 2010 11:24 AM
Grace from 1716 Allied St. Charlottesville, Virginia

Love this episode! Really touched on some big questions that have been marinating in my brain juice for a long time-

We love you guys so much we featured you on our "What Inspires Us" section of our blog,

http://blog.amysteryincommon.com/

Thanks for providing great stuff to listen to while we design, print and pull our hair :)

Cheers,
Grace
A Mystery In Common

Nov. 23 2010 11:23 AM
Prabir from Richmond, VA

Fantastic show folks!
The robot theme reminded me of this thing here in Virginia... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQjbOWRZmPQ enjoy!

Nov. 23 2010 10:22 AM
2dogmom

Watching this should make us all awed by what our bodies do, seemingly without thinking. Also, as another person commented, think about what how a baby learns to control their arms, legs, etc. If you have never observed a newborn, find a friend who has a baby and really watch the process of them figuring out what is them and what they can control is fascinating.

Nov. 22 2010 06:35 PM
Pris

I hope the robots of the future never get a chance to watch this video. Whenever they see how we subjected the earlier models, there will be repercussions

Nov. 22 2010 05:17 PM
Sam

You guys you have to understand that to get these guys to balance on one leg, to self-right, and to track the ball kick it and aim is already a great feat. We have thousands of nerves being used just to get us to stand....
personally I think this is preatty cool

Nov. 21 2010 11:52 AM
Greg from Australia

Are all comments here from young people ? Ever watched a baby growing up - learning how to crawl, walk, kick, throw, draw, paint, speak. I doubt that robotics will take millions of years to evolve to the level we have attained (for the god-struck replace millions with 6,000 years).

Nov. 21 2010 01:58 AM
Clint

Ha! May I have the last 9 minutes of my life back?

Nov. 20 2010 11:59 PM
JB from Australia

You guys obviously havent seen boston dynamics bigbot project. These small robots suffer from poor servo speed/strength. Unless it becomes cheaper to implement higher tech servos, then robo football matches are going to be daunting to watch.

Nov. 20 2010 11:14 AM
Jon Kern from USA

You should release a sped up version of this... maybe so that 9 minutes plays out in 90 seconds. This is painful to watch in real-time <g>.

Nov. 20 2010 10:34 AM
Zeb

I am a 12 year old, and I must say that growing up in this generation, it seems like our robots are sorely lacking. I mean, we've put people on the moon, we have software that can identify natural languages with 95% accuracy, we have computers that can defeat the world champion in chess, and we just now are being able to use cameras to accurately track how humans are moving (microsoft kinect).
And yet, we still can't get a robot to kick a ball with the right foot? That is seriously behind.

Nov. 20 2010 05:04 AM
Marc

I guess we don't have to worry about Skynet for a few more years.

Nov. 19 2010 05:12 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Supported by

Feeds