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Articles on Robots

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Robotic orchestra conductor ‘Yumi’ performs on stage with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Lucca in Italy in 2017. Laura Lezza/Getty Images

Why improvisation is the future in an AI-dominated world

Machines have been getting better at mimicking improvisation. But can this distinctly human process serve as a bulwark against the mechanization of life and art?
The term ‘killer robot’ often conjures images of Terminator-like humanoid robots. Militaries around the world are working on autonomous machines that are less scary looking but no less lethal. John F. Williams/U.S. Navy

An autonomous robot may have already killed people – here’s how the weapons could be more destabilizing than nukes

Sci-fi nightmares of a robot apocalypse aside, autonomous weapons are a very real threat to humanity. An expert on the weapons explains how the emerging arms race could be humanity’s last.
A drone flies above search and rescue personnel at the site of the Champlain Towers South Condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

An expert on search and rescue robots explains the technologies used in disasters like the Florida condo collapse

At building collapse sites, aerial drones and ground robots can extend the eyes and ears of search and rescue personnel to places people can’t go – above and inside the rubble pile.
Tube worms, anemones and mussels clustered near a hydrothermal vent on the Galapagos Rift. NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011/Flickr

Explorer Robert Ballard’s memoir finds shipwrecks and strange life forms in the ocean’s darkest reaches

Oceanographer Robert D. Ballard, who is best known for finding the wreck of Titanic, has written a memoir recounting his biggest discoveries and calling for more ocean exploration.
Factory robots could soon acquire a range of skills, including the ability to choose how to make things. studiostockart/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Artisan robots with AI smarts will juggle tasks, choose tools, mix and match recipes and even order materials – all without human help

Custom fabrication involves taking measurements, choosing tools, deciding on sequences of steps and ordering from a menu of materials. AIs under development promise to take humans out of the loop.

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