US robots maker Wonder Workshop raises $41m from Tencent, SoftBank Korea, others

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The startup had previously raised $15.9 million in external financing since its inception in 2012.Formerly known as Play-i, Wonder Workshop is an education and robotics startup based in Silicon Valley in the United States. The firm introduced the robots Bo and Yana for kids age 6 and up in November 2013, before renaming them to Dash and Dot in 2014.Dash and Dot are robots targeted at teaching creative problem-solving and computational thinking.

Source: US robots maker Wonder Workshop raises $41m from Tencent, SoftBank Korea, others

Robot tells human: You’ve watched too many Hollywood movies – Israel National News

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Regarding whether robots are self-aware, Robot asked “how do you know you are human?”When journalist and interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin expressed concern over whether robots are safe and trustworthy, Robot told him he has “been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood videos.” It also said he should not worry, since “if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.””Treat me as a smart input-output system,” Robot asked.

Source: Robot tells human: You’ve watched too many Hollywood movies – Israel National News

How A Robot Is Changing Furniture Making At A Factory In Fitchburg | Bostonomix

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Trying to find people that want to do this work is very, very challenging,” Weissman said in an interview in his office, surrounded by furniture all made in his factory. “We’re lucky if we put an ad out there, if we get five or six responses.”And, of those five or six, he insists not all of the applicants will pass a drug test or have a consistent work history.

Source: How A Robot Is Changing Furniture Making At A Factory In Fitchburg | Bostonomix

Using this robot gives you monstrously powerful mech arms – The Verge

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The total effect is to make the human operator feel like they are the robot. “The distance between those stereo cameras and the shoulder is the same ratio as you have in your own human body,” Sarcos CEO Ben Wolff told Wired. “So it’s very intuitive. That kinematic equivalent concept enables a brand new operator with no training at all to be able to get into the machine.” Sarcos also sells a robotic snake for mapping and inspections jobs (the Guardian S), and is working on powered exoskeletons (the Guardian XO and XO MAX).

Source: Using this robot gives you monstrously powerful mech arms – The Verge

Saudi Arabia, which denies women equal rights, makes a robot a citizen – The Washington Post

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“Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the country’s newest citizen said. “It is historic to be the first robot in the world granted citizenship.”In her comments, Sophia shied away from controversy. But many people recognized the irony of Sophia’s new recognition: A robot simulation of a woman enjoys freedoms that flesh-and-blood women in Saudi Arabia do not.

Source: Saudi Arabia, which denies women equal rights, makes a robot a citizen – The Washington Post

PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Are Just Around the Corner – NBC News

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the torch will travel on a sailboat, a zip-wire and a steam train before being carried by a robot to the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony on Feb. 9

Source: PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Are Just Around the Corner – NBC News

Who is Sophia: 1st time ever in the world, this robot got citizenship by Saudi Arabia – The Financial Express

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Prince Mohammad during the event also declared citizenship to Sophia that is seen to be a historic moment in a country that finds any representation of the human form even in art or mannequins as sacrilegious.

Source: Who is Sophia: 1st time ever in the world, this robot got citizenship by Saudi Arabia – The Financial Express

Synthetic Lifeforms are the Next Great Civil Rights Controversy

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authors state that proposals for synthetic personhood are already being discussed by the European Union and that the legal framework to do so is already in place. The authors stress the importance of giving artificially intelligent beings obligations as well as protections, so as to remove their potential as a “liability shield.”

Source: Synthetic Lifeforms are the Next Great Civil Rights Controversy

Jibo the family robot is finally launching — for $900 – CNET

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The evolution of the smart home assistant is here. And it can dance. It’s been three years since Jibo made its global debut on Indiegogo as a crowd-funded project. The Boston-based startup raked in more than $3 million for the promise to create an 11-inch-tall countertop robot: A family assistant that can distinguish between different voices and faces, with an adorable personality to boot.Now the creators of this home companion are finally ready to launch it to the public, taking preorders at Jibo.com. It costs $899 (roughly £690 or AU$1,170) and ships Nov. 7.That’s a hefty price for a home assistant that can’t yet play music. Or make calls. Or set reminders. Watch this: ‘Emotive’ family robot assists and entertains, doesn’t…5:44 The Jibo team says those features and more can be added over time through software updates. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google are offering their smart assistant-powered speakers for a fraction of the price at $50 (roughly £40 or AU$65). These assistants won’t swivel their body when you ask them to dance, but they can load up a Spotify playlist — a command that would stump Jibo.But that’s because Jibo was never designed to be a simple speaker. The team invested more development into his personality and how he would react to different family members. (Yes, Jibo is officially a “he.”) Jibo’s founder and chief scientist, Cynthia Breazeal, is an MIT professor who spent her career researching ways computers can interact more naturally with humans. That’s why this stationary, 6-pound bot is downright charming out of the box. He’s packed with witty banter, bubbly animations and a rotating body and head that makes him seem more… alive.

Source: Jibo the family robot is finally launching — for $900 – CNET

Robot-assisted surgery may not be time- or cost-effective compared with conventional procedure

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Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery for the removal of an entire kidney is associated with increased operating times and greater cost than traditional laparoscopic surgery, according to a study from Stanford University.© MADvertise/Shutterstock.comHowever, there is no significant benefit of using the robot-assisted procedure in terms of patient outcome or length of hospital stay, say the authors of the study.Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, with surgery carried out through small incisions made in the patient’s body. Surgical robots can be helpful during laparoscopy, as they afford the surgeon more dexterity than conventional laparoscopy and the robots use a 3-D, high-resolution camera that offers a magnified view of the operating field.

Source: Robot-assisted surgery may not be time- or cost-effective compared with conventional procedure

Council justifies its £17k spend on robot | Echo

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The child-sized robot stands 120cm tall, can speak 12 languages, communicate with patients, and understand emotions, according to its makers. Pepper is kind, helpful and is currently the first robot with the ability to recognise principal human emotions and adapt his own behaviour to make independent decisions.

Source: Council justifies its £17k spend on robot | Echo

ETFs: The First Robot-Managed Fund Is Beating the Market | Money

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The use of computers to buy stocks isn’t new. So-called “quant funds” (short for quantitative analysis) have been around for years, relying on computer algorithms to identify short-term trading patterns and opportunities in the market.But the AI Powered Equity ETF (ticker: AIEQ), which launched late last week, differs in that it is uses artificial intelligence to pick stocks in much the same way humans have for decades—by ranking investment opportunities on a variety of factors, including fundamentals such as profit growth and valuations.RELATEDSTOCK MARKETMillennial Millionaires Think Their Investments Will Rise a Whopping 16% Next YearEquBot notes that its AI technology can do humans one better because it can process over 1 million pieces of information a day—including earnings releases, economic data, consumer trends, industry developments, and headline news—to constantly update its assessment on roughly 6,000 publicly traded companies.It then uses that computing power to select 30 to 70 stocks to own “based on their probability of benefiting from current economic conditions, trends, and world- and company-specific events,” according to a recent release.

Source: ETFs: The First Robot-Managed Fund Is Beating the Market | Money

Is this the future of TV? Robot newsreader named “Sophia” threatens the jobs of human journalists as she appears on air – Mirror Online

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Modelled on Audrey Hepburn, Sophia is challenging the status of AI newsreaders. But she comes with a catch or two

Source: Is this the future of TV? Robot newsreader named “Sophia” threatens the jobs of human journalists as she appears on air – Mirror Online

Much-Anticipated Giant Robot Fight Was Staged, Took 3 Days to Film – ExtremeTech

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We’ve been primed by TV and movies to expect that one day, giant fighting robots will exist. It seemed recently that the era of giant robots was upon us when US-based MegaBots Inc. challenged Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry to a battle. Both companies had a giant mech-like robot, so it seemed like a perfect match. The battle took place last week, streamed from an abandoned steel mill. Except, we’re now learning that it didn’t. Not only was the fight pre-filmed, it was also staged over the course of three days.

Source: Much-Anticipated Giant Robot Fight Was Staged, Took 3 Days to Film – ExtremeTech

Can Crowdsourcing Teach AI to Do the Right Thing? | Big Think

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As we cede more and more control to artificial intelligence, it’s inevitable that those machines will need to make choices based, hopefully, on human morality. But where are AI’s ethics going to come from? AI’s own logic? Rules written by programmers? Company executives? Could they be crowdsourced, essentially voted on by everyone?Alphabet’s DeepMind division now has a unit working on AI ethics, and in June 2017, Germany became the first nation to officially begin to address the question, with a report issued by its Ethics Commission on Automated and Connected Driving. For anyone worried about machines taking over — to quote Stephen Hawking, “The development of artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” — getting AI’s ethics right is central to our survival.

Source: Can Crowdsourcing Teach AI to Do the Right Thing? | Big Think