Friday, June 20, 2014

Answering the Question: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

The answer is no.
'Droids are biomimetic robots and at the current stage of development of artificial intelligence are not capable of dreaming.
See also: "Should a Robot Have a Personality? A Penis?"

For our younger readers, the second half of the headline is the title of a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick which was the basis for the movie Blade Runner.
Persuing the robo-in-rus thought (apologies to Martial) we have Modern Farmer:

3 Futuristic Farm Bots (and 3 We’d Like to See)
There is a sad fact that we humans will have to face in the coming years: Robots are better than us at every job. Or, they will be, according to Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering and a leading futurologist, who predicts that computers will be able to outwit the even world's smartest people by 2029.

But instead of worrying about our future robotic dystopia, we'd like to take a moment to appreciate the fact that smarter 'bots are helping humans defeat the struggles of farm life. Here is a list of three real, futuristic farm-bots, plus a bonus wish list of the three robots we'd like to see next.
1. Crop Disease Bot
At the Georgia Tech Research Institute, a team of researchers in the food processing technology division are developing a micro gas chromatograph (GC) that can detect crop disease in its early stages.The device is a portable chip, roughly the size of a 9-volt battery, and dozens of the GC’s are meant to be attached to a ground robot that would circle crop fields and take samples from each plant.

“It’s estimated that each year U.S. farmers lose 12 percent of their crops to pests and another 12 percent to diseases,” said Gary McMurray, the division chief, in a statement. “The key is to give farmers the ability to get early diagnostic results, which allows them to take action before its too late.”...MORE
Three Farm Robots We’d Like to See
1. Social Media Bot
Frankly, there are not enough cute animals on the Internet to satisfy our demands. If farmers can’t take time out of their busy day to Instagram each baby duckling — no judgment — why not have a friendly drone to fly about the premises and shoot hi-res pics and vids of all the little darlings? The SEO-expert drone would keep tabs on your social media accounts, and followers could subscribe to an emergency SMS system the next time a baby goat begins to prance....MORE
Electric sheep is also the name for a fractal animation project and for the LED sheep of Wales which we visited in "Robots: Yes But Is It Art?":