Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Round 2: Cleverbot vs Cleverbot

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Paper Transformer

Kinda unbelievable. Definitely awesome. Haven't tried it but if anyone does let me know!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Obama launches $70 million dollar robot initiative

"One of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots." - President Obama

"And I am pleased to report, that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful."

"For now."

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Lego sandcrawler

Marshal Banana has posted some pretty awesome pics of his latest creation, a sandcrawler made out of 10 000 + lego pieces.

Minifigscale: 96 cm long, 100.5 cm long (lowered main ramp)
Weight: approximability 20kg
Part count: over 10’000
Powerfunctions: 4 xl motors, 5 m motors, 4 receivers, 4 batterypacks, 22 Lego LED-lights
Powered radio-controlled Functions:
- driving: forward reverse
- stearing
- main ramp: up and down
- crane: up and down, in and out
- conveyer band: forward and reverse
Other features:
fully interior on three floors in the front half of the model and a detailed cockpit (removable roof) second crane in the back of the workshop, lighted smelter.
Building and planning time: 9 months

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Battlebots/RobotWars vs. Bum Fights

Okay, so the title of this post is a little off-mark. I just really wanted it to be true.

Supposedly the little robo-bum in this video (named "Don-8r") is already in use in Scotland and maybe elsewhere, collecting donations for charities. I wonder how it keeps from wandering into the street, and from being stolen... but honestly I kinda think I'd be more trusting to give my spare change to the clean-looking well-programmed droid, than the booze-soaked toothless self-made wreck. Don't worry. I do feel bad.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Cleverbot vs. Omegle

So I wasn't really impressed with Cleverbot, and from comments it didn't seem you guys were either, but I thought I'd put it to an impartial test. Omegle is a service that connects pairs of chat-seeking individuals anonymously / randomly. Anyone who's tried it knows it's a sleazy cesspool of random cybersex seekers and trolls, with the very occasional person genuinely interested in conversation. About 50% of opening lines when I tried it were "asl?"-based, 40% "hi" etc., and 10% were bots advertising as slutty webcam girls.

I found a surprisingly large number of people willing to converse with me as Cleverbot. "User" below is the unknowing Omegle test subject, and the lines of "Cleverbot" were fed into Omegle.

          User: Hey :).
          Cleverbot: How are you?
          User: Im good.
          Cleverbot: That's good.
          User: U?
          Cleverbot: More!
          User: R u male or female.
          Cleverbot: Female.
          User: Cool.. I'm male...
          Cleverbot: That's cool.
          User: How old are you.
          Cleverbot: How old do you think I am?
          User: 17.
          Cleverbot: WHOA! Good guess. 16.
          User: I'm good.
          Cleverbot: Thats awesome.
          User: Blonde hair, right?
          Cleverbot: Wrong, I don't look like that.
          User: Lol.
          Cleverbot: Did google create you?
          User: Brunette?
          Cleverbot: Yes.
          User: 5'6'.
          Cleverbot: Ah, you're taller than me.
          User: 5'4'.
          Cleverbot: I have brown hair, green eyes, I'm 5'8', and weigh 60 kilograms.
          User: See, I knew all that!!! .. Lol.. What country?
          Cleverbot: All of them.
          User: Lol.
          Cleverbot: What kind of chocolate do you like?
          User: All chocolate.
          Cleverbot: You like chocolate pie?
          User: Yes.
          Cleverbot: What do you like to do?
          User: Got some for me?
          Cleverbot: Chocolate.
          User: Play soccer....golf...
          Cleverbot: Soccer? When did sports come into the conversation?
          User: I really like you...

Really? Yes. Many conversations went surprisingly similar to this. Here's just one more:

          Cleverbot: What color are your eyes?
          User: Blue.
          Cleverbot: So are mine.
          User: What color is ur ass.
          Cleverbot: Any color you want it to be.
          User: Mine is brown with a touch of grey.
          Cleverbot: I'm five feet, ten inches.
          User: I'm 6'.
          Cleverbot: You're tall.
          User: Ok?
          Cleverbot: You're fine. You are a good computer.
          User: What's your name.
          Cleverbot: My name is Cleverbot.
          User: Lol.
          Cleverbot: What are you doing?
          User: U have a clever?
          Cleverbot: I do!?
          User: Right meow?
          Cleverbot: Are you a cat now?
          User: Mooooo? Haaahaa.
          Cleverbot: How can I get rid of my headache?
          User: A lot of dick.
          Cleverbot: Is there a human controlling you?
          User: Of course.
          Cleverbot: Really? Can I meet them?

Even if, like me, you weren't impressed with Cleverbot when you used it, I think you might agree that it's a fucking genius compared to the Omegle brain.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Artificial Intelligence

I'm really intrigued by the limits of artificial intelligence, especially in a technology (text-based chat) that is supremely widespread and accessible for programmers.

Cleverbot, a chat bot launched in 2009, bases its replies on a growing database of over 20 million actual online conversations. This means that, at times, it can give surprisingly human-sounding replies. But, at other times it completely misses the point, because it's only picking from fragments of other conversations.

The best AI I've seen is called SILVIA, from 2007, which seems able to store functional and relational vocabulary in memory to construct very meaningful sentences from scratch. A rather lengthy video is posted above, but you can get a great example of SILVIA's ability just from random sections. At various parts of the video, when asked identical questions from earlier, SILVIA responds with the same answers but in very different words. It's quite impressive.

Give Cleverbot a try and let me know what you think. Or if you know of any more impressive ones.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The future is (almost) here

What do you imagine when you think of "the future." I know for a fact that jetpacks will rank near the top of the list.

A personal jetpack 30 years in the making is about to come to a store near you. In about 18 months the Martin Jetpack, heralded as one of the world's most anticipated inventions by Time Magazine, is expected to be publicly available. Commercial users (medical aid providers, security / traffic monitoring systems) are likely to be flying the jetpacks by the end of this year, and shortly thereafter it will be made available to anyone with ~ $100 000 to spare.

The pack is basically two supercharged leaf blowers welded together, which operates on standard gasoline and generates about 200 horsepower from its 2 L V8 engine. Video below shows the pack soaring 1.5 km (5 000 ft) in a remote-controlled dummy test flight of the pack on May 21.

This jet pack is huge. It weighs about 250 lbs and can lift an additional 600 lbs. This is just under the limit to avoid strict US aircraft safety / licensing regulations. The operator controls the pack with two joysticks: left for pitch and roll, right for yaw and throttle. A display centered between the controllers shows the operator flight and engine information. The manufacturer claims that controls can be mastered in an hour of practice, and of course, it comes with a parachute for emergency situations.

So. Anyone care to pitch in to my I-Really-Want-A-Jetpack fund? Accepting all donations.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Touched By A Robot

Touch can cause people to react in several ways such as relaxation, aggression, comfort, etc. Touching one's own wound relieves pain, while having the wound touched by another will increase pain. Researchers at the Georgia Insitute of Technology are looking into the patient-effects of robotic touch in the administration of health care.

Cody, a robotic nurse, was used to study these effects in a health care setting. Patients were split into two groups relating to the robotic touch: either Cody warned them in advance, or not. Another split was based on whether the patients were told the touch was solely to comfort them, or to clean them. The touch was identical in both cases.

Surprisingly, patients reacted more favourably when they were not warned of the upcoming touch. Perhaps advance-notice causes patients to worry. (Personally I would have thought the reverse.) Also, patients favoured the action when they believed it was to clean them, not to provide comfort. This last effect mimics studies done with human nurses, where patients were shown to prefer physical contact from nurses when it was for an instrumental technical purpose, rather than to provide comfort.

"If we want robots to be successful in healthcare, we're going to need to think about how do we make those robots communicate their intention and how do people interpret the intentions of the robot," said Charlie Kemp, Administrator of the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech. "And I think people haven't been as focused on that until now. Primarily people have been focused on how can we make the robot safe, how can we make it do its task effectively. But that's not going to be enough if we actually want these robots out there helping people in the real world."

Retards in Disguise

My friend JPG over at Robots and the Like posted yesterday of Waspinator winning a place in the Transformers Hall of Fame. For those of you who don't know, Wasp is an underdog character from various Transformers story lines who begins as a Predacon hoping to overthrow Megatron, and is used as a punching-bag / whipping-boy in most episodes, often being crushed to a cube or blown to pieces, only to reappear seemingly undamaged later on; Transformers' answer to South Park's Kenny. His language is broken and simple (think Jar Jar Binks, and nearly as annoying) and its quite easy to think of him as an idiot. He was listed as one of 12 most ridiculous Transformers of all time by Wired Magazine.

Now he's in the hall of fame! Waspinators fan-favourite status is hard for me to understand. I could never get over that annoying, stupid voice. However, Wasp does develop as a character throughout the stories, ultimately "quitting" being a Predacon in the last episode of Beast Wars (although for selfish reasons of not wanting to be blown up, rather than moral reasons,) and shows some intelligence at being the first to realize that they were in fact on Earth; as everyone is leaving for Cybertron, Wasp stays behind and is worshiped as a God by early tribal humans.

Anyway. This really bugs me. (Pun kind of intended.) I think it's because of the comparison to people in the real world. I know a few people who I consider to be rather dumb - dumber than average, certainly - but who get high grades / good jobs / etc because of some kind of weird social magic that I don't understand. I've always referred to these people as retards in disguise. Deep down, they have no clue what's going on. But they can talk / flirt / luck their ways into achievements that they don't deserve. Anyone else ever notice this? I'm not the only one, am I?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

People need love too

And speaking of loving, there's this:

People are actively looking for casual hook-ups on Wednesday night, more than any other night of the week. Chances for hookups also increase as the night goes on.

This was the result of an analysis of data generated by "OK Cupid," an online dating resource, which combined information from its mobile service (to see when users were physically out on the town) and profile listings (to see when people were listed as willing to sleep with someone on the first date, and when they had listed casual sex as a romantic priority.)

So it looks like it's called Hump Day for a reason!


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Robots need love too

This is a great song that I've had stuck in my head on and off over the last couple years. I've missed seeing Dan twice now, and if I am ever again in the vicinity of where he's playing I will do anything I can to be at the gig.

He captures my feelings of robots perfectly.

Robots eating pies... zzzZzzzz.. Zzz....

When I saw the last Transformers movie in theatres, we went to a late show (and the movie seemed particularly long by itself), and at about 1:00 am the person sleeping in the seat next to me seemed to half-wakeup. She asked me what we were watching. And before I could, she answered her own question by singing "Transponders! ... Robots eating pies..." and falling back to sleep.

So I was planning a multi-post theme of robots eating pies, robots wearing ties, robots with puppy eyes, etc; But as I was doing some preliminary research for this post, I discovered a blog actually called "Robots Eating Pies." No tie to Transformers, oddly enough, but they do carry out the rhythmic and rhyming list of substitutions for robots in disguise. Here are my favourites

Add your own phrases in the comments. Keep it at least semi-clean.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Stop motion home transformers

This is all kinds of awesome. Even the, um.... 'fight scene' at 0:30.

Check it.


Less terrifying graphically, but it'll do the trick. Thanks Raymond.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I'd probably be

a giant half-dinosaur half-shark, which could transform between shark-head dino-body and dino-head shark-body for sea to land transition. Although, I seem to have overlooked the general automotive theme. Perhaps it's because I just finished watching the movie Dinoshark.

(Not recommended, by the way. Neither is Sharktopus. But if you do want to watch a terrible shark movie, I suggest Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. It's really bad/great.)

I mean the awesome alien robotic kind,

not the transfers electrical energy through inductively coupled conductors kind.