The Orbs Are Coming

The Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense has created an impressive spherical flying robot that has remarkable flight capabilities for it’s size and shape. According to the IEEE “It can buzz around at up to 60 kilometers per hour [about 40 mph] or hover stably in narrow spaces like hallways. But its neatest trick is to land by just smacking into the ground and rolling to a stop to absorb the impact. It’s also ideal for operating indoors, since keeping all of the flying and steering components insidethe robot lets it happily bounce off walls, doors, windows, light fixtures, and startled people.” Source:IEEE read more

Vernor Vinge on the Technological Singularity

In this talk Vernor Vinge raises interesting and thought provoking questions about the coming Singularity era. As a species we are about to create one of the most powerful technologies in human history. When one considers what is at stake in this endeavor we must ask the important questions now not later about what it means to create this Singularity. Do we want to create it? Is its creation now an inevitability driven by technological and historical forces outside of our control? Given what we know about our own history, will the Singularity age cause us to rise or fall?

Military Robotics A Revolution in War

Something big is going on in the history of war according to Brookings researcher Peter W. Singer, author of “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.”  What was once science fiction more and more is quickly becoming a reality of modern-day warfare. Remote operated unmanned combat air vehicles, automated machine guns and bomb defusing robots are only the beginning, the military establishments of the world are headed down a road that will make take mechanized warfare to the next level. With current technology there is usually a human being in the loop, a remote operator flying  a drone thousands of miles away or a bomb technician guiding an explosive ordnance disposal robot hundreds of feet away. This will not always be the case. After all humans are slow, they become tired, they need rest, they feel pain and empathy for others, combat robots on the other hand need none of these things. Read more: Waging War With Robots, The U.S. Military’s New Warriors: Robots, War of the Robots — All Too Real Questions We Have to Ask

Misguided Anti-Internet Technology Ideas

The A.I.R.K.S.  (Apple IR Kill Switch)
Apple files a patent to prevent concert fans from recording the musicians they love and support. According to Wired, this would allow concert owners to; “use the camera to capture a second image that includes an infrared signal with encoded data. The phone would then ascertain whether that encoded data contains a disable command, and, if necessary, “disable a record function”, or perhaps introduce a compulsory watermark. That would allow concert owners to stop people recording videos of bands, for example, introducing the equivalent of DRM for live music, preventing it from being copied.”  Source: Wired Read more.
There is no better way to guarantee that less people will know about your band than to limit the 21st century equivalent to word of mouth. Your content may be protected but your fan’s ability to tell others about how awesome your music is will be effectively nullified and your music will fade from the collective cultural memory.

The  S-978 EVFL  (Embedding Video Felony Law)
United States Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn and Christopher Coons have proposed a law that would make streaming copyrighted material a felony offence. You can read the full text of the bill here. According to Tech Dirt ” If you embed a YouTube video that turns out to be infringing, and more than 10 people view it because of your link… you could be facing five years in jail. This is, of course, ridiculous, and suggests (yet again) politicians who are regulating a technology they simply do not understand. Should it really be a criminal act to embed a YouTube video, even if you don’t know it was infringing? This could create a massive chilling effect to the very useful service YouTube provides in letting people embed videos.” Source:  Tech Dirt. Read more
Embedded links is everything on the internet, here we have yet another example of laws and lawmakers that don’t use technology, don’t understand technology yet propose absurd laws that impact internet technology at its very core.

The ABX-128 LAW  (Internet Sales Tax Law)
Here in the US many of our states are in economic trouble, it’s a long story … the way that many states have decided to deal with the problem is to charge sales tax on online retailers like Amazon.com. As a result small businesses and affiliates here in the state of California will get cut off. According to Technorati: ” The proposed bill, ABX1 28, seeks to collect sales tax for goods purchased online by extending the online seller’s “nexus” to include affiliate marketers who drive traffic to the seller’s site. Unfortunately, the net effect of the bill would not be to increase tax revenues, but to drive affiliate marketers out of state rather than to jeopardize their ties with retailers like Amazon, who most likely would sever ties with them rather than be forced to collect sales tax.” Source: Technorati
So if you are a small business in the state of California,  your sales could be negatively impacted if in fact Amazon decides to drop support for affiliate marketers and small businesses there by reducing the total amount of business taking place in the state along with the economic activity that comes with it. Great way to support a struggling economy California…good job.