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Alex Garland’s Robot Thriller Ex Machina Drops This First Clip

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For a long time, we only heard bits and pieces about Alex Garland’s directorial debut, Ex Machina, which already sounded promising enough to grab our attention. Then there was a brief flurry of activity as it found a distributor, announced a release date, unveiled some artwork, and unleashed a trailer in a relatively short span. After getting our first real glimpse, it became one of our most anticipated movies of 2015. It looks stunning and tense and moody, and all of that is on display in this new clip for robotics thriller.

This may be Garland’s first time in the big chair, but his track record as a writer includes the likes of 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd, among others. The difference is, this time he gets to bring his words to life exactly as he wants, without filtering them through another artist. And from the look of things, he’s done a bang up job.

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Harvard Researcher Invents A Robot To Help Kids Learn Coding

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AERobotRight now there’s a big push to get kids interested in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) — which sounds awesome, except for the math part, though better them than me. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says we don’t have to do anything to turn kids on to science; rather, we have to make sure we don’t turn them off (check out the adorable clip at the bottom of the post for Tyson’s advice to a first grader about how she can help the Earth). Still, not everyone’s content to let kids follow their curiosity into science. Some people, such as Harvard researcher Mike Rubenstein, wants to fill middle and high school classrooms with programmable robots and let kids have a go at them.

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The Work That Invented The Term ‘Robot’ Remains As Relevant Today As Ever

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RURRobots are so prevalent in the media and in the real world that it seems they’ve always existed, though of course that’s not the case. Even before Isaac Asimov and his laws of robotics, there was Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). Capek, a writer from Czechoslovakia, wrote the play in 1920. The term “robot” came from the Czech word “robota,” which means drudgery or forced labor. The term actually dates back to Czechoslovakia’s feudal past — “robota” meant the two or three days per week that the peasants had to leave their own fields and work, for free, on the fields of the nobles. Even though this play is approaching its 100th birthday, the ideas in it — namely, that our robotic servants could rise up and overthrow us — remain more relevant now than ever.

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Meet Jibo, The Real-Life Rosie The Robot

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JiboWe have robots that make coffee, robots that help teach autistic children, and robots that want to hang out with your grandma to keep her from feeling lonely. And now there’s Jibo, the “family robot.”

MIT’s Personal Robots Group founder, Cynthia Breazeal, created Jibo. The robot, which recently raised over $2 million on Indiegogo, invokes R2D2, Short Circuit’s Johnny Five, and the Jetson’s robot maid, Rosie. Just under a foot tall, weighing six pounds, and made of aluminum, plastic, and glass, he’s a helpful little bugger—and the video insists that Jibo’s a “he,” not an “it”—taking video and photos on command, and has tracking capabilities so he won’t be capturing images of the wall. He also engages in conversation; reads aloud incoming texts and emails, as well as reminders; provides a number of different interactive and education applications; and serves as a conduit for telepresence.

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This Boston Dynamics Designed Robot Is One Step Closer To Learning Karate

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In science fiction it’s a rather well established fact that robots and artificial intelligence are going to take over the world and either wipe us off the face of the Earth or enslave us and use us for some nefarious purposes. Those evil bastards. And now, as you can see in this video, they can do karate, or at least a damn fine impression of the crane technique from Karate Kid. The balance is impressive. And terrifying. But no robot will ever replace Ralph Macchio.

Just a heads up, there’s a super shrill, obnoxious mechanical whine in the background of this footage, so you might want to watch it with the sound off, or at least pre-turn it down. This guy is not particularly stealthy, at least not yet, and isn’t going to be sneaking up on anyone anytime soon.

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This Autonomous Robot Creates Interpretive Works Of Art

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robot paulOne of the abilities that distinguishes humans from animals is the ability to create art. Sure, animals do some cool stuff, but there’s usually a practical reason, rather than an aesthetic one (with the exception of the Kraken). Until fairly recently, humans figured that the desire and ability to create art separated us from robots too, but robotic musicians and other art-generating robots call this once-unique ability into question. Still, most of those robots are programmed to play, and it’s not as though they’re mechanical Beethovens, applying what they’ve learned about musical theory to their own skills to create unique scores. Recently, artist and roboticist Patrick Tresset decided to create a robot that can autonomously create artwork inspired by its own interpretation of its environment.

Tresset has been making robots for a while—namely, upgraded versions of a robot he calls Paul, which he calls a “creative prosthetic,” originally designed when he had a terrible case of painter’s block. A few years ago he created Paul and Pete (I have to wonder if there’s a Mary on the way), robots that sketched human faces using facial recognition technology and showed off their stuff at London’s Tenderpixel gallery. Now, many iterations later, Tresset has developed Paul-IX in an attempt to explore the question of whether robots can autonomously create “artifacts that stand as artworks”—specifically, artworks that comment on the human condition.

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