Robot Evolution

A story in the NYTimes about sailboat drones caught my eye this morning. The boats can gather all kinds of ocean related data regarding things like the eating habits of seals, the presence of sharks, sea surface temperatures, water salinity and so on. Measuring 15' from stem to stern they have 20' tall masts and are designed to withstand tropical storm conditions. All very cool as you can see below:

Loitering at the sailboat drone video after it ended, YouTube began playing other videos it thought I'd find interesting. This led to videos showing a robotic donkey that could be used by soldiers to carry loads into combat and then a mechanical cheetah that can jump obstacles randomly placed in front of it:

All very cool, but the small voice in my head whispers that government policies are the only things preventing the killer robots of Terminator from becoming a part of our reality.

The evolution of robots is running parallel with accelerating evolutions in networking and artificial intelligence. I use the word evolution rather than revolution because these developments have taken on a logic and momentum of their own and we humans are unable to stop ourselves from pushing things forward. Already in some ways, thanks to algorithms, the artificial beings we're creating are becoming become creators themselves. This trend will likely continue and true evolution of independent electronic beings may become a reality sooner than we think.

I have no idea what the future will look like. But a world where simultaneously, Luke Skywalker is friends with R2D2, John Connor is gunning for Terminators and all of us are living eternally in some form of Matrix doesn't seem far fetched anymore.

Meanwhile, Dan and I are working to close a deal on a better way to cook french fries!

- Mike Marks

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