Robots

Teaching Robots to Love

Will our robots ever love us? And what does that question reveal about the true nature of this much-touted human emotion? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.

Retrofuturist Flashback: Robot Lawn Mowers

In the future, robots will mow the lawn...

Futuristic Surgical Blade Can Taste Cancer

Robert considered the a surgical instrument that can taste cancer cells.

My Canadian TV Childhood: ASTAR, Switchback

As listeners to the podcast probably know, I spent part of my childhood in Newfoundland, Canada. My fam only lived there for three years, but I must have watched a lot of TV in that time. Heck, I guess I watched a lot of TV the first two decades of my life. We only had the one channel of CBC to watch in the little town of Roddickton, but it introduced me to such treasures as Duran Duran's homoerotic, post-apocalyptic (and awesome) "Wild Boys" video and Michael Jackson's "Thriller." And then there were these distinctly Canadian gems...

Personhood: The Animal and Robot Edition

What exactly is personhood? Over time, the term "person" has evolved to include numerous concepts. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the nature of personhood and sticky concept of consciousness as applied to animals and robots.

Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to turn yourself inside out to travel the cramped tunnels of your own digestive track. Just swallow a pill-shaped camera-bot, grab a bowl of pop corn, then just sit back and watch the bot traverse the 39-foot highway that is your guts. So join Julie and I as they look into the world of capsule endoscopy - which in turn take a look inside the world of us.

So I think this bit of fan mail from our listener John sets up this week's episodes rather nicely: "Listening to Robots podcast and y'all keep mentioning Roombas, and I know you are cat people. We on a Skeptical Listserve were discussing Roombas last month, and a participant mentioned that a friend of his had a Roomba and a Cat. The cat crapped on the carpet, and the Roomba not-so-helpfully tracked the feces all over the house."

What's that buzzing around the room? A bird? A plane? Nope, it's just a robotic insect sent by some shadow government to spy on our every move. Yes, welcome to the age of the microdrone. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I check in on the current state of militarily drone technology, the rise of biomimetic bird-bots and just how the future may shake out.

Well I'm all grown up now. Yes, Julie and I have discussed the reality and inevitability of sexbots before on the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast and now Chinese developers have created sperm-collecting robots designed to stimulate human males and collect their genetic material. As you'll see in the following video, the whole thing looks like one of Doctor Who's Daleks, except with an unsettling-looking apparatus on the front instead of a death ray. The things debuted at China International Medical Equipment Fair in Shenzhen, China last month. Let's watch:

Machines, Morality and Sexbots

Can robots be programmed to behave ethically? It's possible that future robots may possess emotions like empathy or guilt. Join Robert and Julie as they interview Dr. Ronald Arkin, a leading expert on the study of robotic consciousness modeling.