Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to survive in a world ruled by robots

required reading for our apocalypse farm

MSNBC: Just how realistic is the robotics technology seen in "Terminator Salvation?" We chatted with honest-to-god roboticist Daniel H. Wilson to find out.
By Winda Benedetti

"Let’s pretend it’s the not-so-distant future. There you are, standing in the pile of rubble that used to be your home, minding your own business, when suddenly you’re confronted by a hulking humanoid robot with glowing red eyes.
While this robot may not be shouting “Kill! Kill! Kill!” — thanks to its body language and the whirring saws it has where its hands should be, you’re about 99.999 percent sure that’s precisely what it has in mind.
The question then becomes, should you:

A) Punch the robot with your mighty human fists
B) Call it hurtful names like “lug-nuts-for-brains” or “rusty arse” or "inferior cybernetic unit with outdated software"
C) Throw mud in its eyes

If you chose answer C, then give yourself a pat on the back. You’re well on your way to surviving a robot uprising.
With the new “Terminator Salvation” film in theaters, robots running amok seem to be on everyone’s minds (or at least on my mind). And so I consulted one of humanity’s foremost experts on the subject — Daniel H. Wilson, an honest-to-god roboticist (who got his Ph.D. from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University no less) and the author of the book “ How to Survive a Robot Uprising.”
If the apocalyptic future depicted in “Terminator Salvation” were to actually come true, Wilson’s book contains all sorts of helpful advice — advice you'll find in sections titled “How to Spot a Robot Mimicking a Human” and “How to Fool a Thermal Imaging Target Tracker” and “How to Treat a Laser Wound.”
Surely John Connor and the crew from "Terminator Salvation" could have used a copy of "How to Survive a Robot Uprising." The book offers tips on how to do things like stop a giant walking robot.
While Wilson takes a cheeky approach to talking about robots overthrowing their meatbag masters, he does believe that humanoid robots will one day be used to fight our wars and his book offers an approachable look at real-world robotics through the looking glass of popular culture."

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