telepresence robot

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pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Identifying wanted items on grocery shelves, for example, is an immensely more complicated challenge, and today it still exceeds the capability of the best robot programmers. However, at the Page party, the Yaskawa robot had no apparent difficulty finding the party favor boxes, each of which contained a commemorative T-shirt. Ironically, humans had packed each of those boxes, because the robot was not yet able to handle loose shirts. The Industrial Perception arm wasn’t the only intelligent machine at the party. A telepresence robot was out on the dance floor, swaying to the music. It was midnight in Woodside, but Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, was controlling the robot from New Hampshire—where it was now three A.M. This robot, dubbed a “Beam,” was from Suitable Technologies, another small start-up just a couple of blocks away from Industrial Perception. Both companies were spin-offs from Willow Garage, a robotics laboratory funded by Scott Hassan, a Stanford graduate school classmate and friend of Page’s.

Both companies were spin-offs from Willow Garage, a robotics laboratory funded by Scott Hassan, a Stanford graduate school classmate and friend of Page’s. Hassan had been the original programmer of the Google search engine while it was still a Stanford research project. Willow Garage was his effort to build a humanoid robot as a research platform. The company had developed a freely available operating system for robotics as well as a humanoid telepresence robot, PR2, that was being used in a number of universities. That evening, both AI and IA technologies were thus in attendance at Page’s party—one of the robots attempted to replace humans while another attempted to augment them. Later that year Google acquired Industrial Perception, the box-handling company, for Rubin’s new robot empire. Scott Hassan’s Willow Garage spin-offs once again pose the “end of work” question.

This presents a host of new and interesting ways for humans to interact with robots. The iPod and the iPhone were the first examples of this transition as a reimagining of the phonograph and the telephone. Augmented reality would also make the idea of telepresence far more compelling. Two people separated by great distance could gain the illusion of sharing the same space. This would be a radical improvement on today’s videoconferencing and awkward telepresence robots like Scott Hassan’s Beam, which place a human face on a mobile robot. Gary Bradski left the world of robots to join Abovitz’s effort to build what will potentially become the most intimate and powerful augmentation technology. Now he spends his days refining computer vision technologies to fundamentally remake computing in a human-centered way. Like Bill Duvall and Terry Winograd, he has made the leap from AI to IA. 8|“ONE LAST THING” Set on the Pacific Ocean a little more than an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz exudes a Northern California sensibility.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Yet, military pilots located in the western United States routinely operate drone aircraft in Afghanistan. By the same token, it is easy to envision remote-controlled machinery being operated by offshore workers who provide the visual perception and dexterity that, for the time being, continues to elude autonomous robots. A need for face-to-face interaction is another factor that is assumed to anchor a job locally. However, telepresence robots are pushing the frontier in this area and have already been used to offshore English language instruction from Korean schools to the Philippines. In the not too distant future, advanced virtual reality environments will likewise make it even easier for workers to move seamlessly across national borders and engage directly with customers or clients. As offshoring accelerates, college graduates in the United States and other advanced countries may face daunting competition based not just on wages but also on cognitive capability.

The suits lease for just under $2,000 per year and are already in use at over three hundred Japanese hospitals and nursing homes.21 Other near-term developments will probably include robotic walkers to assist in mobility and inexpensive robots capable of bringing medicine, providing a glass of water, or retrieving commonly misplaced items like eyeglasses. (This would likely be done by attaching RFID tags to the items.) Robots that can help track and monitor people with dementia are also appearing. Telepresence robots that allow doctors or caretakers to interact with patients remotely are already in use in some hospitals and care facilities. Devices of this type are relatively easy to develop because they skirt around the challenge of dexterity. The near-term nursing-care robotics story is primarily going to be about machines that assist, monitor, or enable communication. Affordable robots that can independently perform genuinely useful tasks will be slower to arrive.

., 37 Teamsters Union, 17 techno-feudalism, 204n, 266 technological change/progress economic growth and, 65 productivity and, 33 S-curves of, 66–67, 68 skill biased, 48 welfare of American workforce and, x technology disruptive, xviii, 66 golden era of, 51 graying workforce and, 220–223 historical narrative of modern, 51–58 investment in labor-saving, 227–228 manufacturing jobs and, 55 relationship between employment and, 175–176 unskilled worker wages and, 208–209 Tegmark, Max, 229, 237 telepresence robots, 119–120, 157 Terminator movies, 22, 157n Tesla, 3 textile industry, US, 8–9 Thatcher, Margaret, 258 “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” (Feynman), 241 Thiel, Peter, 64, 236 thinking machine, 229–233. See also Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) 3D printing, 176, 177–181 three-dimensional chips, 70, 70n Thrun, Sebastian, 132, 133, 134, 135, 139, 182, 256 Time (magazine), 111, 160, 191, 235 Tokyo University entrance exam, creating artificial intelligence system to pass, 127–128 Toys “R” Us, 17 tragedy of the commons problem, 265 Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (Kurzweil & Grossmann), 235 Transits—Into an Abyss (Iamus), 111 translation tools, 89–90, 120–121, 130 Triple Revolution report, 30–31, 250 trucks, automated, 190–191 Tunisia, 46 Turing, Alan, 80, 230 TurtleBot, 7 “21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act,” 242 Twitter, 114 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 157n Uber, 191, 209n Udacity, 133, 134–135, 142 underemployment, xvi, 49, 126 unemployment consumer behavior and, 211 education/job retraining and, 249–250 environmental effects of fear of, 283–284 long-term, ix, xvi, 45–46, 211, 280 machines and, ix–x rates of, 33, 41, 44–45, 172, 211–212, 249, 250, 276 youth, 221 unions, decline in power of, 57–58 United Auto Workers, 193 United States college graduates overqualified for occupations in, 251 consumer spending in, 54 economic stagnation in, 65 elder care in, 155 health care as precent of economy, 146 immigration policy and automated agriculture in, 26 income inequality in, 46–48 job-market polarization in, 49–51 taxpayer funding of basic information technology research in, 80–81 textile industry, 8–9 universal health coverage, 279 universal translator, offshoring and, 121 University of Akron, 141 University of Alabama, 141 University of California system, 140 University of California, Berkeley, Labor Center 14 University of Michigan, MOOCs and, 133, 137 University of Missouri, 141 University of Pennsylvania, MOOCs and, 133–134 University of Wisconsin, 138, 142 Urban Institute, 46 Urmson, Chris, 183–184 U-Systems, Inc., 152 value-added tax (VAT), 272–273 Vardakostas, Alexandros, 12–13 VAT.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

When petted, it responds by cooing and cuddling up to any person touching it. Thousands of Paro units have been sold globally, and they have proven particularly useful with advanced dementia patients in reducing levels of violence and improving mood. Recognizing the market need for elder-care robots, iRobot (maker of vacuums and killer bots) has opened a new division specifically to serve seniors. One of the fastest-growing types of elder-care bots are telepresence robots—machines that allow people to “move virtually through a distant building by remotely controlling a wheeled robot equipped with a camera, microphone, loudspeaker and screen displaying live video” of the person’s face controlling the bot over the Internet. Robots such as the MantaroBot and the EU’s GiraffPlus allow children to “beam in” from thousands of miles away and remotely drive a wheeled bot with an iPad-type face in order to interact with aging parents.

It’s not just worried adults who are using telepresence bots to check in on their parents; increasingly, they are becoming mainstays in hospitals as well. iRobot’s RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant) is allowing doctors, particularly specialists, to appear at their patients’ bedsides and diagnose them without having to be physically in the same room. With the push of a button on an iPad, a doctor across town or around the world can direct the robot to the patient’s bedside, zoom in on his pupils, and even have a nurse place a stethoscope on his chest to remotely hear his heartbeat. Whether robots have better bedside manner is yet to be determined. Businesses too are starting to realize the value of having telepresence robots in the office, allowing employees to abstract their physical presence through remotely controlled devices. Companies such as Suitable Technologies and Double Robotics have models that cost around $3,000 and allow employees to work from home while their robotic alter egos wander the hallways at the office, walk up to colleagues at their desks, or catch up on all the latest gossip in the lunchroom.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

In China, Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds Apple’s iPhone, made news in 2013 when the skyrocketing demand for cell phones led to labor disputes, reports of harsh working conditions, even riots and suicides. In the aftermath of these reports, Foxconn’s president, Terry Gou, said he intended to replace one million workers with robots over the next three years.54 Besides replacing our blue-collar workforce, over the next three to five years, robots will invade a much wider assortment of fields. “Already,” says Dan Barry, “we’re seeing telepresence robots transport our eyes, ears, arms, and legs to conferences and meetings. Autonomous cars, which are, after all, just robots, will [start to] chauffeur people around and deliver goods and services. Over the next decade, robots will also move into health care, replacing doctors for routine surgeries and supplementing nurses for eldercare. If I were an exponential entrepreneur looking to create tremendous value, I’d look for those jobs that are least enjoyable for humans to do. . . .


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

Telepresence has been around for many years in the form of videoconferencing. Although videoconferencing was quite a hassle in the past, an organization can now leverage services such as Skype and Google Hangout, which are fast, easy to use and available on every device. Telepresence enables employees to work proactively from any location and interact on a global scale, reducing travel costs and improving well-being. Even greater improvement comes from Telepresence robots such as Beam, from Suitable Technologies, and Double Robotics, which leverage the user’s tablet. These robots even allow the user to be on multiple locations at once, which can greatly impact how to conduct business. While Telepresence lets people interact in a real environment, virtual reality allows interaction, collaboration, coordination and even prototyping in a virtual world. Philip Rosedale’s Second Life is one of the best-known examples: “One of the things about Second Life was that it enabled somebody like IBM to basically set up a big get-together with a thousand people from around the world,” he says.


pages: 337 words: 93,245

Diaspora by Greg Egan

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conceptual framework, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, Fermat's Last Theorem, gravity well, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, stem cell, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing machine

Moving about in public 5-scapes still made Orlando intensely self-conscious, less out of any fear of falling flat on his face than from a strong sense that he could take no credit for the fact that he didn't. His 5-body came equipped with numerous invaluable reflexes, as any real macrospherean body almost certainly would, but relying on these alien instincts made him feel like he was operating a telepresence robot programmed with so many autonomous responses that any instructions he gave it would be superfluous. He glanced down at the bottom of the window. The most trivial details in a 5-scape could still be hypnotic; the tesseract of the window met the tesseract of the floor along, not a line, but a roughly cubical volume. That he could see this entire volume all at once almost made sense when he thought of it as the bottom hyperface of the transparent window, but when he realized that every point was shared by the front hyperface of the opaque floor, any lingering delusions of normality evaporated.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

At MIT’s Media Lab, the students are required to show off their new projects on Demo Day, with an audience of interested spectators and corporate sponsors. For years the unofficial credo was “demo or die”: if your project didn’t work as intended, you died (much as stand-up comedians “die” on stage when their act bombs). I’ve attended a few of these events and watched as some poor student’s telepresence robot freezes up and crashes . . . and the student’s desperate, white-faced hand waving begins. When you walk around meditating on an idea quietly to yourself, you do a lot of hand waving. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face a real audience, as Weinberg points out, the hand waving has to end. One evening last spring he rented the movie Moneyball, watching it with his wife after his two toddlers were in bed.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

If the computer has access to data from the outside world, the simulation may contain some “real” items, for instance representations of other people connected via their own ­harnesses, or even views of the outside world, perhaps through simulated windows. One might imagine a hybrid system where a virtual “central station” is surrounded by portals that open on to views of multiplereal locations. While in the station one inhabits a simulated body, but when one steps through a portal, the harness link is seamlessly switched from the simulation to a telepresence robot waiting at that location. The technical challenges limit the availability, “fidelity,” and affordability of telepresence and virtual reality systems today – in fact, they exist only in a few highly experimental demonstrations. But progress is being made, and it’s possible to anticipate a time, a few decades hence, when people spend more time in remote and virtual realities than in their immediate ­surroundings, just as today most of us spend more time in artificial indoor surroundings than in the great outdoors.