DARPA Issues $2 Million Robot Challenge
The experimental wing of the Pentagon has issued a $2 million prize for a robot that can assist in disaster response. Tasks may include closing a leaky valve and driving a utility vehicle.
What's the Latest Development?
The Pentagon's experimental design department, known as DARPA, has issued a $2 million robot challenge, asking engineers to build a machine that can assist in disaster recovery. The winner will be determined by a competition in which the robot is assigned a host of tasks. One task may include driving a utility vehicle, requiring a complex visual system that effectively recognizes and responds to its environment. Improving robotic visual systems is surely one goal of the project since, according to James Donlon, program manager for DARPA’s Mind’s Eye program, today's systems still contain many errors.
What's the Big Idea?
While the robot need not take humanoid form, it will be asked to complete tasks that are otherwise carried out by humans, such as driving a vehicle, removing debris from a blocked entryway, locating and closing a valve near a leaky pipe and replacing a component such as a cooling pump. 'Roboticists say they may lead to the robotic equivalent of the Minotaur—a hybrid creature that might have multiple arms and not just legs but treads.' The technology will no doubt be used for military applications though such a robot could easily benefit civilians in a wide range of disaster recovery situations.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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- Technology has given humanity the amazing ability to fix almost any problem, conditioning us to search for technological remedies to what might be social problems.
- Alleviating social inequity is a problem that technology must necessarily attempt to solve, but technology alone cannot shape how humans assemble their societies.
- Only by emphasizing the primary place of individual identity, human dignity, and universal values like empathy and emotion, can we hope to solve global issues that, so far, technology has been unable to conquer.
Radical Transformational Leadership: Strategic Action for Change Agents
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
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