Want to help design a moon robot? NASA needs you.

A NASA-sponsored competition asks participants to improve the design of a bucket drum for moon excavation.

  • NASA wants your help redesigning the bucket drum system for its RASSOR excavator.
  • The Moon's weaker gravity and the excavator's light weight pose unique design challenges.
  • RASSOR will one day excavate regolith so it can be processed into the resources necessary for sustainable lunar exploration.
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Ask Sophia the Robot: What can AI teach humans?

Through experiencing time in a nonlinear way, can artificial intelligence provide us more perspective?

  • Is Sophia the Robot, of Hanson Robotics, conscious? Not quite, she says. Instead, she reflects the consciousness of humans in the same way the moon reflects the light of the sun.
  • While we don't know if humans possess free will, she advises us to act as if we do. We can benefit from this.
  • So, what can humans learn from robots? Artificial intelligence can view the world in a way that's more objective, being present while still able to look toward the future and the past.

Ancient animistic beliefs live on in our intimacy with tech

Our social emotions are now being hijacked by robots.

Carsten Koall/Getty Images

When Alexa replied to my question about the weather by tacking on 'Have a nice day,' I immediately shot back 'You too,' and then stared into space, slightly embarrassed.

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Automation apocalypse: Too many robots? More like not enough.

Ezra Klein offers good reasons to take a skeptical look at automation apocalypse theories.

  • Ezra Klein, editor-at-large and cofounder of Vox, doesn't buy into automation apocalypse theories. The data is not there to support those predictions.
  • "In many cases, part of the problem in our economy is not that we have too many robots but that we don't have enough robots," says Klein. "If we were being able to do a better job automating things ... we would be getting richer faster and we would be able to share those gains faster."
  • Klein doesn't believe greater automation will leave us with a useless class of jobless people. Humans excel at assigning value to jobs, unrelated to their actual use or dignity, he says. Humans will imbue new jobs with both social capital and money as the future pushes forward.
  • Check out new episodes of Klein's podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, every week.
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Researchers build living robots from frog cells

Scientists envision a new type of organism ready to assist humans.

Image source: Kriegman, Blackiston, Levin, and Bongard
  • Computers designed, and scientists have constructed, programmable living robots.
  • Study announces potentially self-healing, biodegradable, purpose-build automatons.
  • Two "xenobots" are already bumbling their way around dishes of water in a lab.
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