Charlie's Diary

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Fri, 21 Mar 2003

Dog Bites Robot

Researchers at Sony's AI lab in Paris attempted to get an AIBO to pass the canine equivalent of a Turing test. It succeeded, and was soundly bitten for its temerity in approaching the dog's food bowl ...

We are conducting a series of exploratory studies on animal robot interactions in collaboration with the ethology group of the University of Eotvos (Hungary). The purpose of these experiments is to investigate, from an ethological point of view, how much dogs see AIBO as a conspecific. The questions adressed are: what is the influence on the dog's reactions of movement, smell, presence or absence of eyes, sounds, etc.

Two kinds of situations are tested. In the first one, puppies and adult dogs interact freely with the robot. In the second one, we organise a situation of implicit competition in which the dog has to defend a piece of meat against the arrival of the robot. Comparative studies are done with a remote control car and a real puppy. The results are being analysed and will be published in the near future.

... The horrible screams that you hear at the end of this film were made by the experimenters, who were startled to see the dog attack the AIBO.

This was the first time that the AIBO was attacked, but it was not the last. During the course of the experiment, the AIBO was sometimes knocked over, bitten and chewed. It is still in perfect working order, and shows no visible signs of damage.

Nevertheless, we strongly advise you not to try anything similar with your AIBO. AIBO is strongly built, but it contains many delicate components that could be easily damaged. Your warranty will not cover you if AIBO is damaged in this way.

(Warning: horribly slow site! Apparently it's been boingboinged.)

[ Link ] [ Discuss singularity ]

posted at: 17:37 | path: /toys | permanent link to this entry

The speed of sound underwater ...

... Is about 3000 kilometres per hour. Which is why this report on a supercavitating projectile test (in a flow chamber, not the open ocean -- it's an experiment, see) that broke the sound barrier underwater is rather significant.

Supercavitation is the big new thing in torpedo and submarine design; the Russians are already offering for sale the Shkval-E underwater rocket, an unguided torpedo that runs at upwards of 200 knots, but much more exotic stuff is on the horizon. (There's a longer and more accessible summary here.) One fun implication is that sonobuoys will not be effective at detecting supersonic torpedoes aimed at carriers. Another is that a torpedo swimming at mach one can cover ten kilometres in about eight seconds -- not much time for defenders to take action. Is this going to mean the early demise of those honking great aircraft carriers the US Navy (and Tony Blair) are so fond of?

More alarmingly, it suggests the possibility of building something not a million miles away from an underwater equivalent of Project Pluto -- fast, nuclear-powered, devastating, and as completely immune to a space-based anti-ballistic missile system as only a submarine "flying" at mach two half a kilometre under the ocean can be. Which would probably be an incredibly unlikely technological development, except the combination of the Bush doctrine (unilateralism) with the development of space-based weapons, and the fact that 70% of the planet's human population live within a hundred kilometres of the sea, makes it kind of inevitable.

Ain't progress wonderful scary? (<strangelove>Mein fuhrer, I can walk!</strangelove>.)

[ Link ] [ Discuss ww3 ]

posted at: 17:21 | path: /toys | permanent link to this entry

Demonstration time

Took a few hours off from proof-reading to go on today's anti-war demo in Edinburgh. At the peak I think there were around five thousand people marching along Prince's Street, en route from Parliament Square to the foot of the Mound, and then finally to Charlotte Square and a loud if good-natured heckle outside the official state residence of First Minister Jack McConnell. Jack's in trouble; the next Scottish election is due in just six weeks, and he's not exactly endeared himself to a large segment of the public with his existing track record -- the war is less popular north of the border than in England, and he's between a rock and a hard place (that being Tony Blair's disapproval).

There was one incident that nearly turned violent -- a bunch of four English thugs of the probably-BNP persuasion (very muscular, wearing England football shirts, shaven heads, bad attitude, not part of the demonstration) got into a parked car and tried to drive through the crowd. Luckily they weren't quite crazy enough to run people down and the police intervened fairly rapidly to remove them (shouting something about the need to bomb ragheads in Baghdad). Other than that, relations between the crowd and the police were fine.

There's due to be a big demonstration in Edinburgh on Saturday. This was a little one -- one of three that intermittently shut down the city centre for most of the day. It's very interesting to see the systematic BBC underreporting of the demos -- far as I can tell, they're on the low side by a factor of at least two.

There's a lot of government spin going on right now, and I have a bad feeling that the BBC news has been nobbled, probably at director-general level -- the bias is fairly subtle compared to CNN or Fox or similar, but that only makes it worse, given the BBC's reputation for journalistic integrity.

Next time I'll try to remember to take a camera.

[ Discuss Iraq invasion ]

posted at: 00:23 | path: /wartime | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

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Boing!Boing! ]
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Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
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Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
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This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

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(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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