In the future, all music will be death metal performed by robots

At least, that’s my takeaway from this story:

The robot band Compressorhead is a trio of hulking metallic machines designed to play real instruments. Stickboy, the four-armed, mohawked, headbanging drummer, who even has a mini-me on the hi-hat. The guitarist, Fingers, has 78 hydraulic fingers — wires stream out from the arms to trigger notes along the entire fretboard. Bones is on the bass.

“They have the poses of rock gods, those robots. The bass player’s definitely the most photogenic,” says Shar Try, who was up on the stage snapping shots of Compressorhead as they banged their heads and swished their hips.

The music video is also excellent. Between this and holographic 3D anime idols, what chance do us meatcreatures have?

Coprolalia, 12/27


– Some of the most innovative and unique art in the past twenty years has been the proliferation of new optical illusions. So go hallucinate.
– I’m more surprised that this isn’t in Japan; robot waiters: because they have a better service attitude than humans.
– The first time lightning has been captured by an x-ray camera. Lightning has a cool (but expected) beam rising to the heavens.
– An awesome collection of japanese graphic design.
– For you math nerds: Terry Tao has come across an interesting problem in control theory.

Coprolalia, March 7th

[Pictured: The Lion King]

Deep-sea bacteria form a long-range signaling network, just like in Avatar

DARPA: Where amazing happens

We’re getting a new penny

Where is rich in the USA?

Chasing the perfect chef

Robots totally rule, and don’t you forget it

Architecture review of Las Vegas by an extremely biased New Yorker

Homeless Chic: China’s coolest man

I’m pretty much a huge sucker for noir

Diplomacy can be confusing

A Yellowstone fox catches dinner

Too long have the British menaced our shores

New York City and Las Vegas, from far above

Bye bye, tuna rolls

Some more good advice on being a graduate student

Scene length in movies is converging on a 1/f distribution…like everything else in the world

The more things change, the more they will change

Well it’s that time of the year again – time to predict the decline of America. The two currently making the rounds are in The Atlantic and Foreign Policy. Everyone’s worrying about how China’s going to eclipse the USA soon, and the other members of BIC aren’t far behind. Of course, what should really matter is GDP per capita, where we’re realistically doing pretty darn well – though I still think these statistics are misleading (maybe a better calculation is here?). But in terms of world power, we’re unerringly headed down a much more multipolar path – especially if Europe can ever get its act together.

But as the Atlantic article points out, in a lot of ways we’re already doing pretty poorly. Take infrastructure, for instance; driving in San Diego often feels like you’re in a warzone with all the potholes, and the rest of California isn’t doing much better. Of course, part of this has to do with the time they were built. Go look at China’s shiny new highways in sixty years! But that’s also the problem – our infrastructure is old, and we’re not doing enough about it. And everything we need to do – improve education, stop discouraging immigration, improve our transit system – is being held back by conservative fears. Sometimes people have a hard time realizing they’re not as great as they think they are.

But nothing ever stays the same; everyone likes to talk about how people said the same things about Japan twenty years ago, and look how that turned out. Of course, they’re assuming that we’re not going to be the ones making the mistake this time, but on the broader point they’re right. The future is never how you predict it will be. There’s one thing that will remake the world in ways that we can’t imagine, and no one’s thinking about the consequences of it: artificial intelligence.

No, I’m not talking about the talking robot, super-intelligent type of AI. I’m talking about the kind we have now. The boring kind. The kind that can beat grandmasters at chess, clean your carpets, and find answers to your questions. How many people are really aware of how large of a paradigm shift this will be? What happens when we can automate intelligent work? Plenty of financial services are already done by computer – and can dominate slower, human-based stock investing techniques. There’s plenty of chatter about news aggregators that can read clips of information on the internet and actually write news stories – so long news journalists. People will still clearly be employed in the future, my point is that things are going to change so dramatically, how can we begin to predict what will be happening in the world in the next fifty years?

[Photo from here]

the baby is angry

baby_robot2

Giant robot babies that shoot fire?  Check.  Have I said recently that Japan is awesome?

Also, Honda has created some technology to control Asimo with your mind.  They use EEG, but the extra-cool bit of technology that they use is near-infrared spectroscopy which measures cerebral bloodflow.  This allows you to utilize to separate streams of information from the brain coming on different time-scales.  Apparently, Honda’s pretty lucky to be able to do this; they don’t have near-infrared spectroscopy available for scientific lab use yet.

asimo_waving