Tag Archives: robots

Are you a replicant? 

In honour of Blade Runner 2049 coming out today, here’s your chance to see if you are a replicant with this:

You say: I don’t need to take the test because I’m not a replicant. Some replicants believe that. ūüôā Better take the test.

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Some thoughts on the end of the CBC mail robots

mail robot
According to Haydn Waters, a writer at CBC, the mail robots at the corporation are being discontinued. Instead:

Mail will be delivered twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) to central mail delivery/pickup locations on each floor.”

What gets lost in alot of discussions of robots, AI, etc., taking all the jobs is that the drivers for the decisions is not technology but economics. If there is no economical need for robots and other technology, then that technology will not just appear. There is nothing inevitable about technology, and any specific technology is temporary.

Of course there will be more use of robots and AI and other technology to replace the work people may currently do. The key to finding work will be to continually improvise and improve on the tasks one has to do to remain employed. That’s something humans do well, and technology will struggle with for some time in the future, AI hype not withstanding.

34 good links on AI, ML, and robots (some taking jobs, some not)

If you are looking to build AI tech, or just learn about it, then you will find these interesting:

  1. Artificial intelligence pioneer says we need to start over РAxios Рif Hinton says it, it is worth taking note
  2. Robots Will Take Fast-Food Jobs, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes | Inverse Рtrue. Economists need to stop making such a strong link here.
  3. Artificial Intelligence 101: How to Get Started | HackerEarth Blog Рa good 101 piece
  4. Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself Chess in 72 Hours, Plays at International Master Level РMIT Technology Review Рthe ability of tech to learn is accelerating.
  5. Now AI Machines Are Learning to Understand Stories РMIT Technology Review Рand not just accelerating, but getting deeper.
  6. Robots are coming for your job. That might not be bad news Рgood alternative insight from Laurie Penny.
  7. Pocket: Physicists Unleash AI to Devise Unthinkable Experiments Рnot surprisingly, a smart use of AI
  8. AI‚Äôs dueling definitions – O’Reilly Media¬†– this highlights one of the problems with AI, and that it is it is a suitcase word (or term) and people fill it with what they want to fill it with
  9. A Neural Network Playground Рa very nice tool to start working with AI
  10. Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News¬†– there is no doubt in places like Foxconn, robots are taking jobs.
  11. 7 Steps to Mastering Machine Learning With Python¬†– don’t be put off by this site’s design: there is good stuff here
  12. How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race РBloomberg РAmazon made a smart move with that acquisition and it is paying off
  13. When Police Use Robots to Kill People – Bloomberg¬†this is a real moral quandary and I am certain the police aren’t the only people to be deciding on it. See also: A conversation on the ethics of Dallas police’s bomb robot – The Verge
  14. How to build and run your first deep learning network – O’Reilly Media¬†– more good stuff on ML/DL/AI
  15. This expert thinks robots aren’t going to destroy many jobs. And that’s a problem. | The new new economy¬†– another alternative take on robots and jobs
  16. Neural Evolution ‚Äď Building a natural selection process with AI¬†– more tutorials
  17. Uber Parking Lot Patrolled By Security Robot | Popular Science¬†– not too long after this, one of these robots drowned in a pool in a mall. Technology: it’s not easy ūüôā
  18. A Robot That Harms: When Machines Make Life Or Death Decisions : All Tech Considered : NPR Рthis is kinda dumb, but worth a quick read.
  19. Mathematics of Machine Learning | Mathematics | MIT OpenCourseWare Рif you have the math skills, this looks promising
  20. Small Prolog | Managing organized complexity РI will always remain an AI/Prolog fan, so I am including this link.
  21. TensorKart: self-driving MarioKart with TensorFlow Рa very cool application
  22. AI Software Learns to Make AI Software РMIT Technology Review Рthere is less here than it appears, but still worth reviewing
  23. How to Beat the Robots РThe New York Times Рmeh. I think people need to learn to work with the technology, not try to defeat it. If you disagree, read this.
  24. People want to know: Why are there no good bots? Рbot makers, take note.
  25. Noahpinion: Robuts takin’ jerbs
  26. globalinequality: Robotics or fascination with anthropomorphism Рeveryone is writing about robots and jobs, it seems.
  27. Valohai Рmore ML tools
  28. Seth’s Blog: 23 things artificially intelligent computers can do better/faster/cheaper than you can¬†– like I said, everyone is writing about AI. Even Seth Godin.
  29. The Six Main Stories, As Identified by a Computer РThe Atlantic Рagain, not a big deal, but interesting.
  30. A poet does TensorFlow – O’Reilly Media¬†– artists will always experiment with new mediums
  31. How to train your own Object Detector with TensorFlow’s Object Detector API Рmore good tooling.
  32. Rise of the machines Рthe best Рby far! Рnon-technical piece I have read about AI and robots.
  33. We Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What It Found. РI was super impressed what Buzzfeed did here.
  34. The Best Machine Learning Resources ‚Äď Machine Learning for Humans ‚Äď Medium¬†– tons of good resources here.

A great primer on self driving trucks that everyone should read. (Really!)

This piece, 1.8 million American truck drivers could lose their jobs to robots. What then? (Vox) is a great primer on self driving trucks and how they are going to have a major impact sooner than later.

If you are interested in IT, AI or robots, it really shows one of the places where this technology is going to have a significant impact.

If you are interested in economics, politics, or sociology, then the effect of robots replacing all these truck drivers is definitely something you want to be aware of.

If you drive on highways, you definitely want to know about it.

In any case, it’s a good piece by David Roberts. That is his beat and I find he always does a great job of breaking down a topic like this and making it easier to understand and relevant to me. I recommend any of his pieces.

It’s not A.I. or robots that are taking away jobs. It’s you.

A year or so ago, a parking lot I use had a human in a booth to take tickets and provide other  services. That human booth was replaced by the thing in the photo above.

It’s not a robot and it’s not A.I., but it is replacing humans.

Stories about A.I. or robots taking over work makes them interesting. It’s also secondary to the real story. What is really¬†taking people’s jobs is a willingness of others¬†to use technology, and a willingness of companies to replace people with technology. People are not afraid to use technology. If anything, sometimes they¬†prefer to deal with technology. This makes it easier for companies to go with technology as compared to using people, and if companies can save money or make money, so much the better.

It is happening in all sorts of industries, from food to sportswriting. The technology isn’t the driver of this: it’s the willingness of people to prefer technology that is the driver.

Thinking critically about robots. (Hint: think vending machines)

The following is anuncritical and hyped-up analysis of robots, from Wired (On Cyber Monday, Friendly Robots Are Helping Smaller Stores Chase Amazon). A key quote from it is this (highlighting by me):

…¬†(Amazon) is relying on more than 100,000 temp workers this holiday season to supplement¬†its already massive warehouse workforce, the advantages of offloading more of that work onto machines are easy to see. Robots don‚Äôt slow. They don‚Äôt tire. They don‚Äôt get injured or distracted or sick. They don‚Äôt require paychecks or try to unionize.

Now check out this robot:

Once you get over the word “robot”, you can see it¬†resembles alot of the other machines you see in workplaces. Machines like high speed¬†printers, scanners and even vending machines. ¬†All of those things don’t slow, don’t tire and don’t unionize. They don’t get sick, but they break down alot, which is just the same. They don’t require a paycheck, but they do cost the organizations that use them. Sometimes they perform their function so poorly that people bypass them altogether. ¬†As well, robots need others to take care of them. An army of robots just doesn’t show up: there is an entire process of testing, deploying, fixing and replacing them that is costly and non-trivial. There is a process for deploying human resources, too, but to say that that is costly and the process of deploying robot resources is not costly is wrong.

Robots will take over some functionality in workplaces, be that function¬†blue collar or white collar. But that is no different from alot of other machinery already in place. The difference with robots will be that they are mobile. That’s it. We should get over the notion of robot as some magical creature and just accept them as another machine.

Forget self driving cars – the first big thing will be self driving trucks

While there is lots of discussion about self driving cars, it’s much more likely that self driving trucks will become standard and accepted first. Here¬†are two stories that support that. First this:¬†How Canada‚Äôs oilsands are paving the way for driverless trucks ‚ÄĒ and the threat of big layoffs. Second, over at Vox, is:¬†¬†This is the first licensed self-driving truck. There will be many more. Key quote from Vox:

Last night at the Hoover Dam, the Freightliner company unveiled its Inspiration Truck: the first semi-autonomous truck to get a license to operate on public roads.

The Inspiration is now licensed to drive autonomously on highways in Nevada. It works a bit like a plane’s autopilot system: a driver will get the rig on the highway, and can take control at any time once it’s there. But the truck will be able to drive itself at high speeds, using cameras to make sure it stays within its lane and doesn’t get too close to the vehicle in front of it.

Self driving trucks are already up and operational. Additionally, the business case and the hurdles to overcome with self driving trucks will be easier to achieve than that of self driving cars in urban areas. Sooner than you think, you will commonly see self driving trucks on highways, especially during the hours when most highways are 80-90% trucks.

Transportation is changing. Self driving trucks are going to be leading that change. Self driving cars will be a distant second.