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Robots Today and Tomorrow

Date: 02-10-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Glynis McCants, Steve Hammons, Daniel H. Wilson

Roboticist Daniel H. Wilson returned to the program to talk about the current state of robotics and how robots could be used to battle zombies, invading aliens, werewolves, and ninjas.

He detailed the latest evolution in robots that are in the marketplace today, like the Roomba vacuum and automated lawnmowers. According to Wilson, one of the keys to advancements in these "consumer robots" is the ability to have an "emergency stop," both to act as a human override and to assure consumers of safety. He also noted the increasing trend of people being forced to "structure their environment" to accommodate the robots working around them.

Wilson talked about some hypothetical or off-kilter uses for robots, as detailed in his latest book How to Build a Robot Army. One such scenario was a zombie outbreak, where he suggested that robots would be ideal since they are immune to becoming zombies, but must also be liquid-proof so that they can destroy their undead attackers. He said that the seemingly complex problem of robots identifying the difference between living people and zombies would actually best be addressed by keeping it simple and having people wear blue hats to act as a "distinguishing marker."

Other unique circumstances where robots would be beneficial to human survival included a potential alien invasion, where nanobots could act as germs to take down the ETs. Infrared technology could be used by robots to hunt or fend off werewolves. And, if the robots were doing battle with ninjas, they could use a method of "learning by demonstration" to be able to match wits with skilled martial artists.

Stephenville UFO Controversy

In the first half hour, journalist Steve Hammons elaborated on his American Chronicle story about reporter Angelia Joiner leaving the Stephenville Empire-Tribune over her coverage of the Stephenville UFO sighting.

Ian's Numerology

Glynis McCants joined Ian in the second half hour to share insight about his 2008 numerology calendar. Ian said he planned to utilize the calendar throughout the year to see how well it works.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Sunday February 10, 2008

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