How Teaching Robotics Fosters Tech and Soft Skills — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Students who compete in robotics competitions learn STEM skills, but equally important are the social skills they gather

Group of 5 young students with their projects for robotics competition

Excerpt:

Beginning on May 17, Fausto and his teammate’s on the Owlbots 3028x will compete at the first-ever Live Remote VEX Robotics World Championship. The event runs through May 29 and is hosted by The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and VEX Robotics.

 

Walmart is pulling plug on more robots — from wsj.com by Sarah Nassauer
Retailer has been phasing out automated pickup towers as curbside services have become popular

Excerpt:

At Walmart Inc., the robots are losing their jobs.

The retailer is phasing out the hulking automated pickup towers that were erected in more than 1,500 stores to dispense online orders. The decision reflects a growing focus on curbside pickup services that have become more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic and continues a broader retreat from some initiatives to use highly visible automation in stores.

 

This is an abstract picture of a person's head made of connections peering sideways -- it links to Artificial intelligence and the future of national security from ASU

Artificial intelligence and the future of national security — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is a “world-altering” technology that represents “the most powerful tools in generations for expanding knowledge, increasing prosperity and enriching the human experience” and will be a source of enormous power for the companies and countries that harness them, according to the recently released Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

This is not hyperbole or a fantastical version of AI’s potential impact. This is the assessment of a group of leading technologists and national security professionals charged with offering recommendations to Congress on how to ensure American leadership in AI for national security and defense. Concerningly, the group concluded that the U.S. is not currently prepared to defend American interests or compete in the era of AI.

Also see:

EU Set to Ban Surveillance, Start Fines Under New AI Rules — from bloomberg.com by Natalia Drozdiak

Excerpt:

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behavior, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

Also see:

Wrongfully arrested man sues Detroit police over false facial recognition match — from washingtonpost.com by Drew Harwell
The case could fuel criticism of police investigators’ use of a controversial technology that has been shown to perform worse on people of color

Excerpts:

A Michigan man has sued Detroit police after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely identified as a shoplifting suspect by the department’s facial recognition software in one of the first lawsuits of its kind to call into question the controversial technology’s risk of throwing innocent people in jail.

Robert Williams, a 43-year-old father in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, was arrested last year on charges he’d taken watches from a Shinola store after police investigators used a facial recognition search of the store’s surveillance-camera footage that identified him as the thief.

Prosecutors dropped the case less than two weeks later, arguing that officers had relied on insufficient evidence. Police Chief James Craig later apologized for what he called “shoddy” investigative work. Williams, who said he had been driving home from work when the 2018 theft had occurred, was interrogated by detectives and held in custody for 30 hours before his release.

Williams’s attorneys did not make him available for comment Tuesday. But Williams wrote in The Washington Post last year that the episode had left him deeply shaken, in part because his young daughters had watched him get handcuffed in his driveway and put into a police car after returning home from work.

“How does one explain to two little girls that a computer got it wrong, but the police listened to it anyway?” he wrote. “As any other black man would be, I had to consider what could happen if I asked too many questions or displayed my anger openly — even though I knew I had done nothing wrong.”

Addendum on 4/20/21:

 

A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
Officers’ use of Boston Robotics’ Digidog intensifies concerns about militarization of the police.

A robot dog is pictured here.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK CITY councilmember Ben Kallos says he “watched in horror” last month when city police responded to a hostage situation in the Bronx using Boston Dynamics’ Digidog, a remotely operated robotic dog equipped with surveillance cameras. Pictures of the Digidog went viral on Twitter, in part due to their uncanny resemblance with world-ending machines in the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror.

 
 

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2021 Awards — from digitaltrends.com

Excerpt:

CES 2021 proved that the technology industry is uniquely suited to carry on in an all-digital environment. These are the companies that invented half the tools, after all. Press conferences went off without a hitch, companies shipped us prototypes to play with, and Digital Trends’ unique CES Experience Center made it possible to virtually come together as an editorial team and share our impressions with you, even from afar.

Oh, and the gadgets. Companies rose to the occasion with the usual spate of outrageous conceptsCOVID-fighting devices to meet the moment, and new technologies we’ve been waiting ages for. So naturally, we had to pick the best of the best. Here they are.

6 Key Themes Driving Headlines At CES 2021 — from forbes.com by Daniel Newman

2021 Trend: Pandemic Tech — from web-strategist.com by Jeremiah Owyang

CES 2021: Home health havens — from intelligence.wundermanthompson.com by Emma Chiu

Addendums on 1/18/21:

 

What does Innovation look like in robotics? See the SVR 2020 Industry Award winners — from robohub.org by Andra Keay and Silicon Valley Robotics

What does innovation look like in robotics? See the SVR 2020 Industry Award winners

 
 

23 Greatest Engineering Highlights from 2020 — from interestingengineering.com by Christopher McFadden
These are some of the greatest engineering highlights from 2020.

23 Greatest Engineering Highlights from 2020

 

The Journal 2020 Award Winners

THE Journal 2020 New Product Award Winners

For THE Journal’s first-ever New Product Award program, judges selected winners in 30 categories spanning all aspects of technology innovations in K–12 education, from the classroom to the server room and beyond. We are proud to honor these winners for their outstanding contributions to the institution of education, in particular at this time of upheaval in the way education is being delivered to the nation’s 50 million students.

 

From DSC:
In the future (or is it already here!?), I wonder…will we see more 5K runs/races/walks, as well as marathons and half-marathons be done virtually?

If a secured network/solution could be leveraged, such machine-to-machine communications would be interesting. Each time a runner/walker gets to the 5K mark, their machine submits their time to a Global Time Keeping System. Who knows, maybe this will run on a blockchain-type of environment.

 

Virtual 5Ks and Virtual Marathons -- perhaps blockchain based over a secure network to allow M2M communications.

 

From DSC:
Now I just need to get *some type of exercise!* Geez.


And speaking of emerging technologies, also see:


Addendum on 12/19/20:

#CYBATHLON2020GlobalEdition winners of the functional electrical stimulation bike race (with interview) — from robohub.org by Daniel Carrillo-Zapata

#CYBATHLON2020GlobalEdition winners of the functional electrical stimulation bike race (with interview)

Addendum on 1/15/21:

 

DC: You want to talk about learning ecosystems?!!? Check out the scopes included in this landscape from HolonIQ!

You want to talk about learning ecosystems?!!? Check this landscape out from HolonIQ!

Also see:

Education in 2030 -- a $10T market -- from HolonIQ.com

From DSC:
If this isn’t mind-blowing, I don’t know what is! Some serious morphing lies ahead of us!

 

Walmart just started delivering stuff with drones — from futurism.com by Victor Tangermann

Excerpt:

Walmart just kicked off its own drone delivery pilot, a collaboration with drone delivery company Flytrex. The pilot launched today in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is limited to select grocery and household essential items from the retailer’s local stores.

 

Let's keep the drone armies out of the skies please.

From DSC:
It starts off with an army of drones from Walmart joined by another army of drones from Amazon.

Drones from Amazon Prime. Let's keep them out of the skies please.

 

Then company XYZ chimes in. Then company ABC chimes in. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Then the armies of drones change to more powerful, louder, more “capable” delivery vehicles that can handle bigger, heavier deliveries.

And suddenly, the skies are full of noise-making, sun-blocking pieces of human-made machinery that, for the most part, are convenient but not necessary. 

We need to think — and act — very carefully these days.

  • What kind of future do we want to hand down to our children and to our grandchildren?
  • What will the skies look and sound like in 2030 if such armies of drones and other types of airborne delivery vehicles are released?
  • Are we willing to say that our kids won’t mind paying the price?

Is this the future we want to create? Not me. I, for one, appreciate a quiet walk. I appreciate being able to look up at the skies, especially when they are clear. 

We have a responsibility to keep things this way.

To the relevant engineers and C-Suites out there:

  • Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.
  • Please take more responsibility for what’s being developed/brought to market.

Let’s shut this down — now — before the momentum gets started. Let’s follow Portland’s example by shutting down facial recognition/AI:

  • Portland adopts landmark facial recognition ordinances — from thehill.com by Chris Mills Rodrigo
    Excerpt:
    “What makes Portland’s legislation stand out from other cities is that we’re prohibiting facial recognition technology use by private entities in public accommodations,” Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said during Wednesday’s deliberations. “This is the first of its kind of legislation in the nation,” he added.
  • Why Amazon tried to thwart Portland’s historic facial recognition ban — from salon.com by Matt Rozsa
    Amazon reportedly lobbied in secret to weaken Portland’s ban on private use of facial recognition technology

 

 

Radar trends to watch: August 2020 — from oreilly.com
Trends in COVID-19, AI, data, robotics, programming, VR, technology and society, and security.

Excerpt:

A promising new voice separation model allows voice recognition to distinguish up to five voices speaking simultaneously without knowing the number of speakers in advance.

 

From pizza to transplant organs: What drones will be delivering in the 2020s — from digitaltrends.com by Luke Dormehl

Excerpt:

From drone racing to drone photography, quadcopters and other unmanned aerial vehicles rose to prominence in the 2010s. But in the decade to come they’re going to become an even bigger thing in the next 10 years. Case in point: Deliveries by drone.

Who should you be watching in this space?


From DSC:

While I appreciate Luke’s reporting on this, I am very much against darkening the skies with noisy machines. Again, we adults need to be very careful of the world that we are developing for our kids! If items could be delivered via a system of underground pipes, that would be a different, quieter, not visible, more agreeable approach for me.

Just because we can…

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian