Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Rise of the Robot.


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Robots are now everywhere. They mow our lawns, they sweep our carpets, and they clean our pools; they even want to drive our cars.

There are boffins tucked away in secret locations who do nothing but invent machines that will replace humans.

Already our factories are filled with Robotics, whilst able bodied (Luddites?) workers are relegated to a life of enforced leisure.

It wasn't so long ago that a ploughman and his horse would plough an acre a day. Nowadays a driver-less tractor can plough rake and sow as much as you like, day and night, and will also harvest the results some time later. The old style ploughman earned a few pence a week, but the Robotic tractor costs several millions, The economics never seem quite logical.

The most discussed, and probably most dangerous, of the newer inventions is the driver-less car. Already plenty of accidents have happened, and they're not even legally on our roads yet.

I remember back in the 1960's driving through Oxford on our way up to Wales. We were positioned behind a driver-less car which warned motorists of the fact. Behind us was another car that was controlling the one ahead by remote control. No doubt an interesting experiment at the time, but I'm not sure of the outcome.

I don't look forward to driver-less cars on our roads, in fact I'd rather each car had two drivers; one to handle the controls, and another to shout insults directions etc. Oh, hang-on, that reminds me of someone.



35 comments:

  1. I've been handspinning fleece this evening while watching "Endeavor" online on my computer. How's that for a mix of old and new technology?!

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    1. As long as one doesn't replace the other; that's OK. A robotic fleece spinner doesn't sound very bucolic.

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  2. There's something really frightening about the thought of a driverless car.

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    1. I agree. At least the one we saw back in the 60's was actually being driven by someone; albeit in separate car!

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    2. If my memory is good, I think there are about 19 driverless metros world wide. Vancouver, Detroit, Osaka, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Lyon in your France are quite well known.Maybe in Paris there are one or 2 driverless metro lines? As you may know in long flights the automatic pilot replaces very often the real one , even if he is present.

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    3. The underground trains run on rails, and are easily slowed-down, stopped, and started again. With driver-less cars there are all sorts of other problems. Cyclists, batty old people, drunks, dogs, and other drivers. As for 'plane auto-Pilot, there are always two human pilots on board too. No, let's keep humans in charge as much as possible.

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    4. Air France flight 447 2009 would have been safer with a robot in charge.

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    5. Can we not have an 'logic' on this page, please.

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    6. In Lyon and in Paris the automatic lines have no driver.

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    7. Robot tractors and combine harvesters are already available and farming will change yet again. It was once thought the horse would never be replaced.

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  3. There are some motorists out there who are far more dangerous than driverless cars.

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    1. They are a danger to driver-less cars.

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  4. The trouble with the driverless car scenario is that for it to work, all cars need to be driverless. A mix won't work unless there is separate infrastructure for the driverless.

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    1. That's right. Irrational human behaviour and soul-less robots don't mix.

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  5. When I had my prostate removed because of cancer in 1998 I was in hospital for 5 weeks after a then pioneering way of doing it. Now in Scotland we have two robots doing the operation by keyhole surgery and a friend was out and walked a couple of mile a few days after having the operation. That robotics for you.

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    1. Of course there are plenty of wonderful applications for robots. Most of our cars are made by them, and in medical care they will eventually become our surgeons.

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  6. I met a robot design engineer when I was on holiday a couple of years ago. He worked in the medical field of robotics. What can be done by robots in hospitals is very advanced and in many cases ready and just waiting for approval to go ahead.

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    1. I'm not sure which I'd prefer, to be operated on by a machine or a person.

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  7. If driverless cars come with a drinks cabinet I think most people would be reconciled to them....

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    1. At least you couldn't be prosecuted for 'drink and driverlessing'.

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  8. I think they should do driverless cars as F1. The Boffins could all sit in the pits and enjoy themselves. Sort of bigboys Scalextric?

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    Replies
    1. Don't mention this to anyone; it'll come true.

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  9. Funnily enough, today they are offering free rides along the Thames embankment in a driverless car. They are trying not to scare the horses, I think.

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    1. I'd like that; just to experience the panic!

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  10. Driverless cars, a brilliant idea until someone hacks the first one and makes it target pedestrians rather than avoid them.
    The obsession with robots is a very dangerous one for society. There is even talk of paying people not to work.
    One thing about human nature is certain having hundreds of millions of people with no direction or go as in life is a recipe for war and revolution.

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  11. Replies
    1. A lot was spoken about 'Universal payments' quite recently. I suppose it WILL come to that quite soon. After my time, I hope.

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  12. It is going to be different world very soon and for that reason I am glad that I am old.

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    1. Quite worrying for our grandchildren. I keep telling them to chose their career wisely.

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  13. I never go anywhere without her, the second driver that shouts insults and tells me when I'm off route.

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  14. There are two drivers in our car too. They take turns to drive.. him there, me back (guess why) he clearly believes I need his help on the way back as he says useful things like "you are coming up to some lights" As I say to him " really! thank god you're here, I would never have seen them without you" As you can see we are not ready to embrace the driverless car yet, in fact we could probably use a third driver as mediator.
    Gill

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    1. My wife says the same things, but she has an 'Advanced Back Seat Driver Certificate', so she's allowed to.

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  15. Replies
    1. Who knows John, you may soon be out of work!

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