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“Get me my robot on Line 2. I need to tell it to add more chili peppers to my mapo tofu.”

posted by on 2009.08.02, under technology, video, wow
Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid (

Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid (


I’m actually late to note The New York Times story last week about robots and concern by scientists that they might become smarter than humans.

In one paragraph, reporter John Markoff explained that scientists, who met in California earlier this year, have

concern that technological progress would transform the work force by destroying a widening range of jobs, as well as force humans to learn to live with machines that increasingly copy human behaviors.

Markoff pointed to a June article in which he wrote about how a robot in Silicon Valley succeeded in opening 10 doors, going through them and connecting with 10 wall sockets.

Interesting, right?

But I’ve been thinking (aside from the articles and how robots are depicted in movies).

Someone at the Gray Lady is certainly fascinated by the machines. There’s not only a Times Topics section on robots but also one for artificial intelligence.

In a sense, who is not fascinated by them? I think we all are – and possibly in the same way bean curd can prompt you (or me, actually) to ask more questions.

The Gray Lady recently ran a story about robots in Japan and how they are not in demand as much because of the recession.

Many of us have seen Honda’s robot, ASIMO, which can exercise, carry a tray, greet people and push a cart. Take a look at the videos here.

I’ve written about an owl-like robot that is named TOFU.

Those who remember George Lucas’ first Star Wars movie know that the audience quickly warmed up to R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Humans have been enamored with R2-D2 so much that you can see the droid in the form of a mailbox.

And yes, there was Knight Rider, the television show from the 1980s that featured KITT. KITT was a black Pontiac Trans Am that talked with humans.

Another reason why I want to note the story is because the scientists held their conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey County, Calif.

It’s one of my favorite vacation spots because the buildings are low key yet the grounds, trees and Pacific Ocean are stunning.

Inside the recreation room, my family and I like playing ping pong or pool and just getting caught up with our reading.

On a side note, if you want to see a futuristic, technology-infused, semi-robotic clip from Tron Legacy, click here. I first saw it on The Stranger’s blog, the Slog.

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