::: nBlog :::

For the last 200 years, people have been envisioning and building different kinds of robots, from household appliances such as Roomba’s automated vacuum cleaner to Kuka’s industrial arms speedily assembling industrial products.

Most of these inventions, including drones, are, bit religiously, built in some way to resemble humans or animals (or their body parts) – with pros and cons included from our current evolutionary form. This is natural, but at the same time very limiting what comes to technological development.

With global communications and computing resources now readily available, the concept of a robot must be completely overhauled. Evolution, while an accurate theory of our past, never gave us mobile networks or data centers, so it is no longer very good guideline for new designs. We might move from Anthropocene to Spimecene with accelerating pace.

A spime kind of robot exists mostly as a digital entity in an ever-changing computing environment, and accesses the physical world through things like 3D printers and temporary actuators only when required. It can also exist in multiple physical locations at the same time, while learning continuously using AI. It also seamlessly migrates to new technologies whenever that is more efficient.

Although people like Stephen Hawking (who is one of my biggest idols) warn about the dangers of AI while creating evolutionary digital systems, I believe that it is better to collectively design them well than trying to freeze technological progress. Although the world of these digital entities is still quite unknown to us, it will bring us completely new opportunities in making peoples’ lives better while keeping our planet sustainable.

(This was inspired by meeting Kuka people, and the memory of my radio-controlled robot car which I built in 1982 – whose brain was several meters away in a Commodore 64 with a relay controller. I always remember the reaction of my friends: ‘What’s fun with that – give me the controller, I want to drive it myself!’. But I loved it.)


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