October 27, 2014

2:00 PM | The Co-Robots In 'Interstellar' Are Gorgeous--And Silly
When humans finally set foot on an alien world, they’ll be joined by robots. That’s not a bold prediction. It’s a statement of the obvious. Machines have already beat us to Mars and proven their worth as tireless scouts, surveyors, and sample collectors. A manned expedition will no doubt include at least one bot, if not a whole fleet of them. What’s less obvious, though, is the form these robots will take. Some might take familiar shapes, like wheeled or tracked […]

October 07, 2014

4:09 PM | Rethinking The Turing Test
How Can I Help You? In the 2013 film, Elysium, critical jobs have been outsourced to intractible, inadequate machines, like this automated customer service rep. Image Courtesy of Elysium: The Art of the Film © 2013 Tristar Pictures At a competition in June, a chatbot named Eugene duped a group of human judges into believing it was a Ukrainian teenager. The judges hailed it as the first time a machine passed the Turing Test—that hallowed measure of […]

October 06, 2014

1:51 PM | The Quest To Harness Wind Energy At 2,000 Feet
Altaeros' Buoyant Air Turbine Last year, Altaeros tested a prototype of the turbine at a height of 500 feet in Maine, where it flew in 45mph winds. courtesy Altaeros Nothing about the grooved, inflatable body taking shape inside Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, resembles a wind turbine. It looks more like a jetliner's emergency ramp, or something you'd tie behind a boat and cling to desperately while bumping across the surface of a lake. But the […]
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