The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

When Fiction No Longer Is Fictional

Technology is developing at a break neck speed as computer technology continues to develop at what seems to be a faster pace each year.  Just “the other day” I thought I was totally cool when I installed a 20 MB hard drive in my advanced XT system!  LOL.  Now I’ve got some images on my computer that are bigger than that. The technological leaps and bounds are making pretty neat things possible.

rubiks robot The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

There’s a robot called “Rubot” that solves the Rubik’s Cube and when he’s done, he puts the cube down.  It’s pretty simple but is that the start of self awareness, when he knows he’s done?  Nah, just a subroutine designed to recognize that all sides of the cube are now the same color.

As a programmer myself, I can tell you that the outline or premise of such a set of conjoined programs is not that hard to write.  What takes the time are the nuances of getting everything to work together.  Shape recognition.  Object manipulation.  Decision tree responses.  Well, you get the point.

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robot cars The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now
The Tartan Racing Automated Vehicle

Forget K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) held a contest called The DARPA Urban Challenge where companies like the one I work for compete for the top award and find out whose car can navigate an urban environment loaded with robot and human-occupied cars on simulated roads.

grand challenge The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

These cars are set to go and the only control the scientists have are emergency-stop overrides just in case the automobiles go rogue.  The Stanford car took 2nd.  The Tartan Racing GM truck won this particular contest that these images came from.

Notice the big time sponsors on these vehicles?  Everyone is in on it.  And despite the big cash prize, I’m betting that DARPA then hired the winning team for future projects that civilians won’t be privy to for some time.  Just my guess, but trust me, it’s a well educated guess.

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robot fish The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

Here, we have robot fish that were set loose and programmed to come together and swim together in a school.  Like real fish do by instinct.

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Speaking Of Instinct:

dog tipping The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

This robot “dog” was programmed to walk, and retain its balance.  In the above image, the man just gave the robot a pretty good shove with his foot and the ‘bot is adjusting its legs to retain its balance.

This machine is “taught” to stay upright, and through various subroutines, uses its legs in a combination of predetermined moves to keep it upright.  If I stretch my imagination towards the doomed future we see in the movies, then for something like this to go awry wouldn’t take to much work for a disgruntled employee to insert a subroutine that says:

If man comes at me
..determine if he will kick me
….if man is going to kick me,
……kick man first

And suddenly, we have troubles at Boston Dynamics.

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  1. So you are a smartass robot head that doesn’t want to live for ever… Interesting juxtaposition there 790.

    Domo Arigato Mr Roboto..sorry 790 and anyone else who gets that..bad 80′s quote…

  2. @JESSIE: Thanks for the kudos. Appreciate it. It was fun to write…

    GREENKNIGHT333: Don’t you DARE diss one of my favorite bands!! Grr, Argh… … ouch, I think I just hurt myself.

  3. Eh too, Kahless,,,
    Aarrrgghhh. ;-)
    Who wants to live forever (electronically) on this rock ???
    Lol, Styx reference. ahhh,,, come sail away with me lad!!!
    Its a Starship ,,,

  4. I guess we’re all just “Renegades” with “Too Much Time on our Hands.” LOL. :P

  5. Welcome to the Grand Illusion, Andy…

  6. Oh lord. What have you started? My brain hurts.

  7. As I found myself oddly humming the lyrics to Come Sail Away, I remembered a Navy friend of mine told me that (the Navy) has a completely automated battleship. Of course its controlled by humans on shore but if supposedly if its attacked it can act on its own and is really pretty much controlled by a powerful on board AI system. Its big too, Destroyer size.

  8. My father (R.I.P.) used to ride solo shotgun if F102 Delta Daggers just to be in the cockpit in case anything went wrong from the ground.

    Do the math on that one, as I blast myself with Half-Penny, Two Penny.

  9. 790( you renegade) you may not want to live forever electronically but I’ll be Rockin the Paradise from AD 1928 until someone SHows Me the Way with a Crystal Ball how to download myself to a hard drive.. I know I’m fooling myself but I’m an angry young man.. :)

    Geez that was bad but I think we have quoted all of Styx’s best songs anyway

    Love the band too Bruce!! Don’t let it end…

    ANyway I’ll stop now because I’ve got too much time on my hands!!

    I promise that’s it!!

  10. LMAO GK333, very clever,,,

    These are the Best of times,,, however nothing ever goes as planned. Some say I’m the great white hope but I’m Ok, I’m just a blue collar man. Living on borrowed time, Working for the pieces of eight.
    Gotta go see my lady, before I get heavy metal poisoning. I’m already leading a double life and she cares,,, :-)
    Show me the way, crystal ball…
    I just want to say why me this is all GK333′s fault!!

  11. Excellent article Bruce.
    what I am curious about Is
    Will the human mind be able to interface with computers one day?
    Today, Computers are minaturized .
    They can fit into your cellphone.
    Computers have mastered the external world.
    The internal world is next .

  12. Just wanted to clarify ,
    the BMI Technology was kind of what I was talking about but I
    was really thinking about interface with a massive computer system.
    Like Skynet ,but we would be interacting with each other.
    BMI does have some intruiging possibilties though .
    would we someday be able to transfer human consciousness into a robot body?
    or at least imprint a human personality onto a robot?

  13. @Gary I think that’s a big YES to your question. The air force already uses neural interfacing.

    Just today I was reading about a company called “Proteus Biomedical” that has developed a edible microchip that’s activated by stomach acid and uses exterior equipment to monitor medication levels in the body…

    The problem with the technology is that its developing too fast. A lot of this technology, in the long run could cause heath damage. We have yet to see the full impact of cell phone use on teenage women…
    Cigarettes weren’t considered unhealthy for years…

  14. 790,
    interesting about the Air Force and the use of neural interface .
    DEFINITELY Moving too fast .

  15. Interesting Gary yeah I’ve never been interested in that field but I’m sure they’re working on it in some underground lair.
    I read some info on James Cameron’s Avatar film and there’s some of that tech in the story.
    (Don Fontane voice impersonated)
    “In the future mankind uses technology to create clones and then downloads the memories of other people into them…”
    Avatar,,, rated PG-13 !!!!!!

    Personally with the way things are headed I’m not sure that ordinary people are going to see that benefit as long as elites run things. The treatment would be more than liky kept under military secrecy.

  16. Yeah gary the Air force has some exotic stuff that is controlled by neural implants. As the human brain is the perfect quantum computer… Yeah Borg!!!

  17. This is so wicked! I love robots, technology and stuff!!!