JAPANESE ROBOTS: AIST’s Planned Supercomputer to Design Robots...Portending Singularity?

JAPANESE ROBOTS: AIST’s Planned Supercomputer to Design Robots...Portending Singularity?

Editor’s Note: 
Focusing specifically on Japanese robotics coverage, AkihabaraNews has begun a cross-publishing effort with the highly regarded, nationally syndicated Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (Daily Business & Technology Newspaper). Selected works from MR. RENO'S ROBOT SOCIETY, a bi-monthly, Japanese-language column by AkihabaraNews managing editor and flaming robotics nerd Reno J. Tibke, are re-published here in English. We hope you enjoy! ー IMAGE: “Ancestor,” Computational Vacuum Tubes from a 1950s UNIVAC Computer; Photo by the Author.

• • •

With the recent announcement of its AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) project, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has vigorously reinforced the notion that we humans need, or at least want ever more powerful computers.

Intended to operate at a peak speed of 130 petaflops (130 quadrillion calculations per second), ABCI will represent a broad generational leap beyond China's Sunway TaihuLight, currently the world’s fastest at 93 petaflops. The project has a healthy budget of ¥19.5 billion yen (US $173 million), and the system is scheduled for completion in late-2017.

Brain Building?

In the context of social robotics, interest point #1 here is the notion that the Sunway TaihuLight, those made by Cray and IBM in the U.S., and the eventual ABCI system are the kind of machines that one day could, or, more realistically stated, probably will power minds far more intelligent and capable than our own...maybe.

[RELATED]
RIKEN Institute's Next Supercomputer: EXAFLOPS by 2020

The Technological Singularity Requires Such Machines

It’s a complicated and controversial idea, but at its essence, Technological Singularity is a theoretical point in human technological development where we create machines of an intelligence equal to our own. They will in turn rapidly create machines smarter than themselves, and at that point, technological progress becomes impossible to predict; we cannot know the motivations of such minds, or whether they will have motivations at all. Maybe they’ll be nice, maybe not. Maybe they’ll spontaneously “wake up” into consciousness, maybe not.

Right along side everything we just don’t know, we do know that these considerations are not limited to sci-fi. While there is plenty of dissent, a great number of serious, sober experts in computational science wholly accept that sufficiently powerful computers, provided with the right instructions, will eventually result in an artificial mind...again, maybe.

...Which Matters: ABCI is Going to Design Robots

Tying things together here, interest point #2 revolves around the stated purposes for the ABCI computer system: medical research, software development for driverless cars, and designing robotics stuff. Given that last point, one wonders: could Japan’s future king of computing someday play a role in achieving Technological Singularity and then copy/paste the instructions for true, super-human artificial intelligence into a robot?

Yeah, ummmm, pretty unlikely. 
But hey...maybe.

• • •

For those who read Japanese, the original article is published on Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun’s NEWSWITCH technology website: ロボのまち・さがみの奇妙で希望に満ちた宣伝アニメ

[MORE] 
JAPANESE ROBOTS: Should Japan Ban Robot Romance?

[EVEN MORE]
JAPANESE ROBOTS: Robot Town Sagami’s Strange Yet Surprisingly Hopeful Anime Promo

Read all Our Japanese Robotics Coverage Here!

Source: 

Related Articles

Lego MINDSTORMS EV3 Guy!

They once had little to do with actual robotics, but two product iterations and 15 years later, about to release their 3rd-generation kit, Lego is at the top of educational, DIY, and plain old fun robot building. MINDSTORMS EV3 is coming, and the robo-geekosphere is buzzing. And whirring.

• • •

Legos, Robots, and Education

Reno J. Tibke - June 07, 2014

JTFF - Japanese Technology from the Future Friday! - AkihabaraNews.com

This week it’s octopedal Japanese electronics conglomerate OMRON getting its

Reno J. Tibke - June 22, 2014

SCENE IN TOKYO: Tokyo Toy Store - AkihabaraNews.com
Long before Michael Bay, and even before Hasbro's incarnation, Transformers were Takara Tomy's Microman and Diaclone, and Nintendo's Super Mario, long a global phenomenon, was first a game for Nintendo's Japan-only Famicom console.
Headless Robot Chasing a Laser Pointer (is so dang cute) - AkihabaraNews.com
We hate to use the word ‘cute’ when discussing robotics, but… Come on now...just have a watch and tell us that ain’t the case. You can’t. Unless you’re mean, uptight, and cold, cold of heart.

Reno J. Tibke - August 30, 2014

Japanese Robots: Pepper Gallery!

LISTEN INSTEAD OF READING

Why Does Japan Get Dyson's New 360 Eye Robo-Vacuum First? - AkihabaraNews.com
The steadily plodding iterations of iRobot’s Roomba and its legion of copycats are old hat, and the collective We aren’t really impressed anymore. While the 360 Eye performs the same task, it stands out, and just kinda has that new robot smell. The talking points/broad strokes/things to know are:
Robots in 2014 - AkihabaraNews.com

Contributor Sean P. Bullock is a materials manufacturing professional, robotics nerd-enthusiast, citizen scholar, and manager of the unofficial DARPA Robotics Challenge Facebook page.

• • •

SCENE IN TOKYO: Robotic Helper Climbs Stairs in Shinjuku Station (Weekend Flashback)
While Japanese train stations have evolved considerably over the years, e.g., markedly fewer smoking areas and newspaper stands and a lot more ramps and elevators, there remain innumerable platforms and station services closed off to wheeled vehicles or those unable to negotiate stairs...

Murata Manufacturing recently unveiled a team of 10 robots called the Murata Cheerleaders, which dance in formation while balancing on top of balls.

The Murata Cheerleaders are Murata’s fourth generation of robots, following the bicycle-riding MURATA BOY in 1991, the second MURATA BOY in 2005, and the unicycle-riding MURATA GIRL in 2008. All of these robots incorporate Murata’s proprietary core technology.

Just Saying
Yes, it matters that they're Korean!
...because, of course, AkihabaraNews.com is "Japan & Asia Tech • Cool and Cultural News." So, we saw this cool robot news, could hear in the accent that these researchers are actually from Korea, and boom: justification! (in fact, according to their MIT profiles, they both studied at Yonsei University in Seoul)

Sharp Launching Robot Smartphone "RoBoHoN"
A robot-style smartphone "RoBoHoN" will be released in early 2016. It's invented by Sharp and a robot genius, Tomotaka Takahashi. In addition to provide basic smartphone features, RoBoHoN is able to talk, walk, dance, and recognize human faces. It can also become a projector.
Hello!MiP is a two-wheeled robot controlled with human hand gestures. You can control Hello!MiP just by using hand gestures without touching it - called Control Mode. There are other modes through which you can enjoy the robot as well, such as Dance Mode.

Pages