I lust for a Roomba

I'm just listening to Helen Greiner's presentation of Roomba. She actually has one that she is running on the table, and the #etech -channel is filled with geeks declaring their instant love at the tiny little home robot.

Can't say I'm much different.

I seriously, seriously want one. Like now.

Update: Joi snapped a photo of me, relaxing outside :-)

Update2: I'm now a bit less enthusiastic. IRobot does in addition build the PackBot, which is a military bot. We were shown a cool video in which the ~PackBot is thrown in through a window to a building, drives off the roof, and drives directly into a river; surviving all this stuff. It was apparently used during the Afghan war as well. It's just a matter of time before they strap it with guns. And yes, she is talking seriously about "autonomous fighting robots" and "unmanned ground vehicles", with the enthusiastic glee of Susan Calvin.

Relevant quote from IRC:
20:31 < Tantek> this is perhaps the scariest presentation i have ever seen

The obvious question from the audience was: "What are the ethical constraints?" - and she really has no answer. She explained in a roundabout way about "this being the answer to the suicide bombers that don't care about being killed", and then skipped the issue with "but the conference must go on, so thank you for the questions."

What utter fucking bollocks.




Comments

What, a weapons manufacturer doesn't want to comment on the ethical issues? Why, that's unheard of!

I share your anger, though.

--Mikki, 10-Feb-2004


Yes, we face the same problem with biological weapons research and nano technology. And if you add to this mix the id tagging of products with radio tags (where these nanites and robots could track you from your shirt or cell phone) it gets real interesting.

And ethics are no the only area coming up short. It's also interesting to realize that neither laws nor patents are able to deal with these issues. Just look at what at lousy job the courts do with software/patents.

--24.4.112.168, 11-Feb-2004


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