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Automation


Latest significant advancements in automation. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of improvements in automation on society and humanity.

How Selfish Are You? It Matters for MIT’s New Self-Driving Algorithm

Our personalities impact almost everything we do, from the career path we choose to the way we interact with others to how we spend our free time. But what about the way we drive—could personality...

New Battery Lets Electric Cars Go 200 Miles on a 10-Minute Charge

Electric vehicles could decarbonize one of the most polluting sectors of our economy, but they're bedeviled by one major problem: range anxiety. A new battery design that can charge in just 10 minutes promises...

Flying Cars, Aerial Ridesharing, and the Not-Too-Distant Future of Transport

In 2018, for the sixth straight year, Los Angeles earned the dubious honor of being the most gridlocked metropolis in the world, where the average driver spends 2.5 working weeks per year trapped in traffic. And countless...

Driverless and Electric, or Car-Free? The Cities Cutting Out Cars, and Why

It’s common consensus in the tech industry that the days of cars as we know them—powered by gas, driven by humans, and individually owned by all who want and can afford one—are numbered. Imminent...

MIT Future of Work Report: We Shouldn’t Worry About Quantity of Jobs, But Quality

Robots aren't going to take everyone's jobs, but technology has already reshaped the world of work in ways that are creating clear winners and losers. And it will continue to do so without intervention,...

Bargain-Hunting Robocars Could Spell the End for Downtown Parking

Imagine a scene from the near future: you get dropped off downtown by a driverless car. You slam the door and head into your office or appointment. But then where does the autonomous vehicle...

You’ll Hail Your First Flying Taxi Within a Decade

Not too long ago, the notion of flying cars was most comfortably categorized alongside fusion power—a classic tech vision that seemed forever stuck just over the horizon. Then around five years ago something shifted. Flying...

Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think

Self-driving and electric cars just don’t stop making headlines lately. Amazon invested in self-driving startup Aurora earlier this year. Waymo, Daimler, GM, along with startups like Zoox, have all launched or are planning to...

Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs? Careful, It’s a Trick Question

The robots are coming, and they’ll probably take your job when they get here. Oh wait—have you heard that recently? As recently as, say, yesterday? In the news, or from a coworker, or in a...

This Chatbot has Over 660 Million Users—and It Wants to Be Their Best Friend

Your New Best Friend? Making a new friend is a complex business. You might begin with small talk: introductions, explorations. Perhaps you bond over something you have in common: shared tastes or interests. Gradually, you’ll...

As Cars Become Increasingly Driverless, People Are Already Seeking Analog Motoring Experiences

According to those in the industry, and researchers too, driverless cars will totally revolutionize the way we think about individual transport. They will change the way we work and rest. They could herald the...

3 Practical Solutions to Offset Automation’s Impact on Work

In recent years, the media has sounded the alarm about mass job loss to automation and robotics—some studies predict that up to 50 percent of current jobs or tasks could be automated in coming...

Where Is Amazon Headed With Its Self-Driving Car Initiatives?

The list of companies pursuing self-driving vehicles keeps on growing. On it, you find many companies that might initially come as a surprise—including Amazon. Amazon’s statement about its recent investment in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora...

The Great Myth of the AI Skills Gap

One of the most contentious debates in technology is around the question of automation and jobs. At issue is whether advances in automation, specifically with regards to artificial intelligence and robotics, will spell trouble...

The Promise—and Complications—of Domestic Robots

Every year, for just a few days in a major city, a small team of roboticists get to live the dream: ordering around their own personal robot butlers. In carefully-constructed replicas of a restaurant...

How Do We Teach Autonomous Cars To Drive Off the Beaten Path?

Autonomous vehicles can follow the general rules of American roads, recognizing traffic signals and lane markings, noticing crosswalks and other regular features of the streets. But they work only on well-marked roads that are...

Our Voting System Is Hackable. Here’s How to Secure It

The November 6, 2018 midterm elections are being widely regarded as a referendum on President Trump, but they will also serve another, less obvious purpose. The integrity of our election infrastructure is being tested....

Building a Moral Machine: Who Decides the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars?

You’re driving along the highway when, suddenly, a person darts out across the busy road. There’s speeding traffic all around you, and you have a split second to make the decision: do you swerve...

This Robotic Warehouse Fills Orders in Five Minutes, and Fits in City Centers

Shopping is becoming less and less of a consumer experience—or, for many, less of a chore—as the list of things that can be bought online and delivered to our homes grows to include, well,...

No Safety Driver Here—Volvo’s New Driverless Truck Cuts the Cab

Each time there’s a headline about driverless trucking technology, another piece is taken out of the old equation. First, an Uber/Otto truck’s safety driver went hands-off once the truck reached the highway (and said...

China Is Building a Fleet of Autonomous AI-Powered Submarines. Here Are the Details

A fleet of autonomous, AI-powered submarines is headed into hotly-contested Asian waterways. The vehicles will belong to the Chinese armed forces, and their mission capabilities are likely to raise concerned eyebrows in surrounding countries. According...

In the Future, We’ll Know Everything—Thanks to This Tech

We’re rapidly approaching the era of abundant knowledge—a time when you can know anything you want, anywhere you want, anytime you want. An era of radical transparency. By 2020, it’s estimated we’ll have 50 billion...

Bot vs. Bot: Will the Internet Soon Be a Place Without Humans?

The internet, as it stands, is a global system of interconnected computer networks that allows humans to interact with each other, do business, gain knowledge, and be entertained. Google allowed us to find everything...

The Smart Road Tech That’s Making Driving Faster, Safer, and Just Better

From autonomous cars to flying taxis to electric-powered aircraft, technological innovations in transportation vehicles seem to be moving faster than Elon Musk’s express loop underneath Chicago. But when it comes to regular roads and...

What if Autonomous Vehicles Actually Make Us More Dependent on Cars?

Cities across Europe are taking steps to become increasingly car-free. London Mayor Sadiq Khan is aiming for 80 percent of all trips to be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by...

How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?

As technology has progressed, humans have become ever more powerful. With this power comes great opportunity and great risk. Nowhere is this clearer than in the potential of artificial intelligence. But a new report...

Chinese Port Goes Full Robot With Autonomous Trucks and Cranes

By the end of 2018, something will be very different about the harbor area in the northern Chinese city of Caofeidian. If you were to visit, the whirring cranes and tractors driving containers to...

Self-Driving Cars Navigate Unmapped Country Roads With New MIT System

Self-driving cars are now a regular fixture in some American cities, but they are heavily reliant on high-precision 3D maps of the roads. That means they can’t tackle the vast majority of the country...

3 Major Shifts Are About to Transform Manufacturing as We Know It

We are on the verge of transforming one of society’s most fundamental building blocks: manufacturing. As new technologies enable manufacturers to customize everything, these same agents are quickly turning consumers into inventors. Following the agricultural revolution some 5,000 years ago,...

Your Next Pilot Could Be Drone Software

Would you get on a plane that didn’t have a human pilot in the cockpit? Half of air travelers surveyed in 2017 said they would not, even if the ticket was cheaper. Modern pilots...

Robot Cities: Three Urban Prototypes for Future Living

Before I started working on real-world robots, I wrote about their fictional and historical ancestors. This isn’t so far removed from what I do now. In factories, labs, and of course science fiction, imaginary...

$10 million XPRIZE Aims for Robot Avatars That Let You See, Hear, and Feel by 2021

Ever wished you could be in two places at the same time? The XPRIZE Foundation wants to make that a reality with a $10 million competition to build robot avatars that can be controlled...

How We Can ‘Robot-Proof’ Education to Better Adapt to Automation

Like millions of other individuals in the workforce, you’re probably wondering if you will one day be replaced by a machine. If you’re a student, you’re probably wondering if your chosen profession will even...

Hyperloop and Flying Cars Are Battling It Out for the Future of Transportation

Tech titans are eager to reimagine how we will travel in the coming decades, but whose vision will win out? Last week Elon Musk and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi got in a back-and-forth on Twitter...

Silicon Valley Is Winning the Race to Build the First Driverless Cars

Henry Ford didn’t invent the motor car. The late 1800s saw a flurry of innovation by hundreds of companies battling to deliver on the promise of fast, efficient and reasonably-priced mechanical transportation. Ford later...

Why the Rise of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Actually Increase Car Ownership

It’s been a long time coming. For years Waymo (formerly known as Google Chauffeur) has been diligently developing, driving, testing and refining its fleets of various models of self-driving cars. Now Waymo is going...

The Biggest Tech Takeaways From the 2018 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland wrapped up last week. The WEF exists to improve the state of the world by fostering cooperation between governments, NGOs, and the private sector. In...

Machines Teaching Each Other Could Be the Biggest Exponential Trend in AI

“The easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens.” – James Burke, Science Historian During an October 2015 press conference announcing the autopilot feature of the Tesla Model S, which allowed the car to...

The 7 Hub Stories That Got the Most Social Media Love This Year

I bet you think 2017 was a hot mess, a relentless series of tragedies and catastrophes that exposed humanity for what little it's worth. Let us re-instill in you a sense of optimism with...

This Self-Driving AI Is Learning to Drive Almost Entirely in a Virtual World

I don’t have to open the doors of AImotive’s white 2015 Prius to see that it’s not your average car. This particular Prius has been christened El Capitan, the name written below the rear...

Robotic Materials Will Distribute Intelligence All Over a Robot’s Body

The classical view of a robot as a mechanical body with a central “brain” that controls its behavior could soon be on its way out. The authors of a recent article in Science Robotics...

The Farms of the Future Will Be Automated From Seed to Harvest

Swarms of drones buzz overhead, while robotic vehicles crawl across the landscape. Orbiting satellites snap high-resolution images of the scene far below. Not one human being can be seen in the pre-dawn glow spreading...

Amazon Is Quietly Building the Robots of Sci-Fi—Piece by Practical Piece

Science fiction is the siren song of hard science. How many innocent young students have been lured into complex, abstract science, technology, engineering, or mathematics because of a reckless and irresponsible exposure to Arthur...

To Uber or Not? Why Car Ownership May No Longer Be a Good Deal

Every day there’s more news about the inevitable arrival of autonomous vehicles. At the same time, more people are using ride-hailing and ride-sharing apps, and the percentage of teens getting their driver’s license continues...

These Autonomous Delivery Drones Will Soon Dot the Swiss Skies

As much as commodities and data have been digitized over the last few years, we still need to send an awful lot of physical items hither and thither. The logistics of doing so have...

These 7 Forces Are Changing the World at an Extraordinary Rate

It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who first said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” He was onto something. But even he would likely be left speechless at the scale and pace of...

Why Education Is the Hardest Sector of the Economy to Automate

We’ve all heard the warning cries: automation will disrupt entire industries and put millions of people out of jobs. In fact, up to 45 percent of existing jobs can be automated using current technology. However,...

The World’s First Autonomous Ship Will Set Sail In 2018

What A Norwegian container ship called the Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first electric, autonomous, zero-emissions ship. With a capacity of up to 150 shipping containers, the battery-powered ship will be small compared to...

These Pizza Robots Assemble Perfect Pies in Minutes

Oh pizza, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Your golden, flaky crust. Your salty-sweet tomato sauce. Your gooey, stretchy cheese. Your predictive algorithms and efficiently automated production line… Wait, what? Sounds like a...

Should Self-Driving Cars Make Ethical Decisions Like We Do?

An enduring problem with self-driving cars has been how to program them to make ethical decisions in unavoidable crashes. A new study has found it’s actually surprisingly easy to model how humans make them,...

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