Trends: Cold Water on Robots; Cool Clocks

In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond, lover of all things robotic, reports on an interview with roboticist, Noel Sharkey, about why he thinks robots will never have enough of a nuanced response to fight wars or take care of elderly or ill people (via New Scientist)

Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions QlockTwo, one of a growing number of clocks that display time in unusual ways.  She wonders whether it’s just that we have so many embedded, functional clocks, that we know crave clocks as art. (Via Michael Surtees’ DesignNotes blog)

5 Responses to Trends: Cold Water on Robots; Cool Clocks

  1. I remember when programmers began to create chess computers programs.
    The prophecies were that while they would be strong, they would take eons to compete with the positional understanding of top grandmasters. Now it is clear they can compete at the highest level. Yet people do not want them to compete–they use them for endgame analyses or post-mortems on games. Indeed, the main use of computers in chess is not to “play the game” but to facilitate internet play by others who use the computer only to access the website, not to suggest moves.

    My wife’s first cousin is a successful sundial artist in Arizona. It’s an impressive set of mathematic exercises he uses to create a sundial, with an awareness of longitude and latitude and pin-point calculations. His sundials are in demand in various locales, each of which must be extensively calibrated. Still, the resulting sundial is imprecise by clock standards. Yet it is the “visual tactile nature” of the sundial that inspires.
    Something about the sun “making time appear” before us speaks to some innate time “thing” within, I think. There is a showmanship about time, whether it is the grandfather clock, the cuckoo, the hourglass, or even the little light on my five dollar digital from a discount store. Clocks provide a kind of ambient entertainment we do not understand, but almost all experience.

  2. What does it say about us when our need to know the time of day down to the picosecond spills over from all of our “embedded, functional clocks” into our art?

    Great show ladies! Any pics of the Bilca corn?

    Cheers!

  3. Yeah, Cathi. We want to see the corn!!

  4. Pingback: The Sniffer » Blog Archive » Trends: Pushy Drivers and Cool Carpools

  5. Oh no the Bilca corn! Nora you took that hideous photo of me chomping on it didn’t you? But please whiten my teeth first.

    That Bilca corn was amazing. I’m still dreaming about it. The Bilca School of Agriculture and Journalism. Come and sleep in the cock fighting coop and learn the secrets of the sun.