The Other Type of Robot Battery

Picture1By Daniel Healow

While the words “robot” and “battery” are commonly used in the same sentence, these phrases are usually referring to electricity, not assault. Unfortunately, use of the latter definition is increasing in frequency due to an uptick in malicious human actions taken against intelligent robots undergoing real-world testing. As the number of independently-operating robots have multiplied in humans’ daily lives, so have instances of violence against them. Continue reading

Man or Machine? EU Considering “Rights for Robots”

robotBy Grady Hepworth

Isaac Asimov’s 1942 short story “Runaround” is credited for creating the famous “Three Laws of Robotics.” Asimov’s Laws, although theoretically fictional (and most recently featured in the 2004 motion picture I, Robot), require robots to i) not hurt humans, to ii) obey humans, and to iii) only protect themselves when doing so wouldn’t conflict with the first two rules. However, the European Union (“EU”) made headlines this month when it took steps toward making Asimov’s Laws a reality.
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Sorry, that isn’t actually Scarlett Johansson.

 

By Beth St. Clair

 What would you do if someone built a robot version of you?

 It happened to Scarlett Johansson. A graphic designer from Hong Kong spent over a year, and $50,000, to build a robot in her likeness. While the robot’s abilities are limited, it can respond to compliments and questions, laugh, bow, and blink its eyes. Most notable, however, is the fact that the designer used 3D-printing technology and silicone to make the robot look exactly like Johansson.

For some, the coquettish machine represents an objectification of women, “an utterly disappointing reflection of the way women are portrayed in society.” For others, it is an extreme example of fandom.

But because the programming and machinery needed to make very advanced robots are now so widely available that a person can create one at her own house, we will see more celeb-bots in the future. Those robots, especially female celebrity-inspired robots equipped with realistic features and the ability to mimic life-like movement, will continue to be controversial.

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Securing Dr. Robot

unnamed By Brooks Lindsay

Medical device robots present a number of cybersecurity, privacy, and safety challenges that regulation and industry standards must address in order to safely and rapidly advance innovation in the field.

The University of Washington’s Computer Science Department recently highlighted the problem. Computer Science Researchers hacked a teleoperated surgical robot called the Raven II during a mock surgery. The hack involved moving pegs on a pegboard, launching a denial-of-service attack that stopped the robot, and making it impossible for a surgeon to remotely operate. The researchers maliciously controlled a wide range of the Raven II’s functions and overrode command inputs from the surgeon. The researchers designed the test to show how a malicious attack could easily hijack the operations of a medical device robot. The researchers concluded that established and readily available security mechanisms, like encryption and authentication, could have prevented some of these attacks.  Continue reading