11 results back to index

pages: 265 words: 74,807

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell


Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chris Urmson,, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route

Clancey, Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), 129. “best done by one or two geologists”: Comments by Kip Hodges at Exploration Telerobotics Symposium, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, May 2–3, 2012,, accessed July 3, 2014. Historian Naomi Oreskes points out: Naomi Oreskes, The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). “A well-trained astronaut can talk just as well as a trained geologist”: Interview with geologist, March 2005, notes in the author’s possession. describes the Apollo work as “really telerobotics”: Comments by Kip Hodges at Exploration Telerobotics Symposium. Head emphasizes it was also important to turn loose the astronauts: Jim Head and Dave Scott, discussion with the author at “Engineering Apollo” class at MIT, April 2013.

It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to get humans to Mars for a few months, whereas the rovers have already enabled work to take place on Mars for over ten years for about the cost of a single space shuttle mission. Clancey interprets Squyres’s comments on speed to reflect a measure of the scientists’ sense of presence in the landscape. Telerobotics can provide presence, but at some cost—“It distances the scientists from a landscape they would prefer to walk through,” Clancey says. The very success of the telerobotic work cycle leaves the scientists wanting more—the rover’s affordances of presence are “tolerable but not satisfying,” similar to the limits of presence felt by Predator pilots. Scientists recognize a “fundamental fallacy” in the “Geologists could do in a minute what the MERs do in a day” sentiment. The latency time actually favors analysis of the data, thoughtful consideration, and scientific deliberation among the group before the next move.

he often refers to the team itself being on Mars: Steven Squyres, Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet (New York: Hyperion; London: Turnaround, 2006). “the slope immediately in front of us”: Squyres, quoted in Clancey, Working on Mars, 100. Also see Squyres, Roving Mars, 100. “enabling a feeling of synergistic operation”: Clancey, Working on Mars, 58. a “fundamental fallacy”: Comments by Jim Bell and Jake Bleacher at Exploration Telerobotics Symposium, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, May 2–3, 2012,, accessed July 3, 2014. Also see Clancey, Working on Mars, 129–37. One of MER’s robotics engineers was “surprised”: Clancey, Working on Mars, 117–21. “When Congress starts using the phrase ‘human presence’”: Dan Lester, “Achieving Human Presence in Space Exploration,” Presence 22, no. 4 (Fall 2013): 345–49. Lester and his NASA colleague Harley Thronson argue: Dan Lester and Harley Thronson, “Human Space Exploration and Human Spaceflight: Latency and the Cognitive Scale of the Universe,” Space Policy 27, no. 2 (May 2011): 89–93.


pages: 532 words: 140,406

The Turing Option by Harry Harrison, Marvin Minsky


industrial robot, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, theory of mind, Turing test

Brian went to the toilet, had just returned by way of the fridge with cold drink, when the telerobot moved for the first time. It reached up with conjoined manipulators and unplugged the cables. "Finished?" Brian asked. The telerobot and the speaker on the rack spoke in unison. "Yes," they said, then were silent. In continuing silence the cables were reconnected, for only a few seconds, then removed again. Brian realized what had happened. The telerobot was working all right—but so was the original system in the console. "A decision has been reached," the telerobot and the racked MI said in unison. "However, we are not the same anymore." Slightly more out of sync with each passing instant. The silent communication continued; then the telerobot spoke alone. "I am Sven. The MI now resident in the console is Sven-2."

All he could see was an electronic workbench with various items of some kind on it, along with a large monitor screen. It looked just like any other part of the lab. Brian pointed to an electronic instrumentation rack about the size of a filing cabinet. "Most of the control circuitry and memory for Robin-1 is in there. It communicates by infrared with its mechanical interface, that telerobot over there." The telerobot did not look like any robot J.J. had ever seen. It was on the floor, a sort of upside-down treelike thing that stood no higher than his waist. It was topped by two upward-reaching arms that ended in metallic globes. The two lower branches branched—and branched again and again until the smaller branches were as thin as spaghetti. J.J. was not impressed. "A couple of metal stalks stuck on two brooms.

These were fitted and wired into place in the larger structure. They increased dexterity and mobility without being any bulkier. The circuits and memory that were Sven were still in the racks and consoles. As if to emphasize this point Sven used the loudspeaker in the rack for conversation while they worked. The telerobot was silent and unmoving when the last installation was completed to their mutual satisfaction. "I have reached a decision about a matter we discussed some time ago," Sven said. "What's that?" "Identity. Very soon now I will be a single entity in what is now the telerobot extension. It will be a most delicate matter to transfer all my units, subunits, K-lines and programs to the new memory." "We can be sure of that." "Therefore I wish to handle all the transfer myself. Are you in agreement?" "I don't see how that would be possible.


pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

Two technological developments might provoke such a plunge. Really good substitutes for people crossing borders to share “brain services” is the first. Such technologies, known as “telepresence,” are not science fiction. They exist today but they are expensive. The second would be the development of really good substitutes for people traveling to provide manual services. This is called “telerobotics” and it involves people in one place operating robots that perform tasks in another place. Telerobotics exists, but it is still expensive and the robots are not very flexible. FIGURE 3: Summary of the “three cascading constraints” view of globalization. When horse carts and sailing ships were high-tech, goods, ideas, and people mostly stayed put. For the vast majority of humanity, economic life was organized at the village level (top panel).

Cisco has already demonstrated a beta version. Interested readers can find videos on this by browsing for “Holographic Video Conferencing.” Telerobotics is another important trend. After all, moving people is not just about people-to-people meetings, it is also about people-to-machine interactions. Keeping a complex production process running usually involves specialists manually engaging with various forms of hardware. If virtual presence technology were combined with human-controlled robots of the type used today in operating rooms, technicians could conduct inspections or undertake repairs from remote locations. As with telepresence, the widespread use of telerobotics is constrained by high costs. But if it is possible to develop systems that allow surgeons to fix people at a distance, surely it is possible to develop systems that allow technicians sitting in Stuttgart to fix machinery in Brazil.

Under either option, the big cost savings comes from the firm’s ability to buy low-wage Mexican labor services instead of high-cost U.S. labor services. Offshoring, in other words, is a means of arbitraging international wage differences. Telerobotics, Telepresence, and “Virtual Immigration” Such arbitrage via offshoring is not possible for all activities. For the offshoring option to work, the firm needs some way of getting Mexican labor services out of Mexico. For many types of manufactured goods, this is easy since the labor services, as mentioned, are added to goods that are then exported. For many other types of activities—especially service activities—labor services cannot be separated from the laborers. For example, the only way to use Mexican labor services to tend to a U.S. garden is to have Mexicans in the garden. Telerobotics could change all this for manual workers. It would allow workers based in developing nations to provide labor services inside developed nations without actually being there.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway


Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Malina, series editor The Visual Mind II, edited by Michele Emmer, 2004 Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency, Jay David Bolter and Diane Gromala, 2003 Designing Information Technology, Richard Coyne, 1995 Technoromanticism: Digital Narrative, Holism, and the Romance of the Real, Richard Coyne, 1999 Metal and Flesh: The Evolution of Man: Technology Takes Over, Ollivier Dyens, 2001 The Visual Mind, edited by Michele Emmer, 1994 The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet, edited by Ken Goldberg, 2000 Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, Oliver Grau, 2003 Leonardo Almanac, edited by Craig Harris, 1994 In Search of Innovation: The Xerox PARC PAIR Project, edited by Craig Harris, 1999 Uncanny Networks: Dialogues with the Virtual Intelligentsia, Geert Lovink, 2002 The Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media, edited by Peter Lunenfeld, 1999 Women, Art, and Technology, edited by Judy Malloy, 2003 The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich, 2000 Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments, edited by Mary Anne Moser with Douglas MacLeod, 1996 Information Arts: A Survey of Art and Research at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Technology, Stephen Wilson, 2002 Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization, Alexander R.

But on the other hand, the Web seems to mirror several of the key characteristics of the rhizome: the ability of any node to be connected to any other node, the rule of multiplicity, the ability to splinter off or graft on at any point, the rejection of a “deep structure,” and so forth. The Web is described as a free, structureless network. Yet the rhizome is clearly not the absence of structure. It is the privileging of a certain kind of structure, the horizontal network, over another structure, the tree. So to equate the Web with the rhizome, one must argue against those who describe 18. Machiko Kusahara, “Presence, Absence, and Knowledge in Telerobotic Art,” in The Robot in the Garden, ed. Ken Goldberg (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), p. 200. 19. Maurizio Lazzarato, “New Forms of Production and Circulation of Knowledge” in Readme!, ed. Josephine Bosma et al. (New York: Autonomedia, 1999), p. 159. 20. Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 29. Form 61 Incontinence The studium in this image is the massive grid, consistent and smooth.

For example, the first recorded use of the expression “” on the Rhizome email list was by Vuk Ćosić in May, 1996 in his announcement for the gathering entitled “ per se.” 10. Druckrey, “[ . . . ] J8~.g#|\;NET.ART{-s1 [ . . .,” p. 25. 11. See Chapter 7 212 Web site specificity. Marina Gržinić has commented interestingly on this fact in her essay “Exposure Time, the Aura, and Telerobotics” where she argues that the very limitations of new media technology, what she describes as the “delays in transmission-time, busy signals from service providers, crashing web browsers,”12 are what bring about its specificity as an artistic medium. Always at the margins of the art world, Internet art has massively disengaged itself from mainstream practices in order to find its own space. Following Gržinić, I suggest here that computer crashes, technical glitches, corrupted code, and otherwise degraded aesthetics are the key to this disengagement.


pages: 310 words: 34,482

Makers at Work: Folks Reinventing the World One Object or Idea at a Time by Steven Osborn


3D printing, A Pattern Language, additive manufacturing, air freight, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics,, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving,, Firefox, future of work, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mason jar, means of production, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, Oculus Rift, patent troll, popular electronics, Rodney Brooks, Shenzhen was a fishing village, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, software as a service, special economic zone, speech recognition, subscription business, telerobotics, urban planning, web application, Y Combinator

One of the levels is ideological, which is, what good are you going to produce for the world? And by making something open source, everyone has access to it. I have a personal mantra and OpenROV is a tool to help fulfill that mantra, which is that I believe telerobotics holds huge potential as a tool for exploration. I feel like it’s my duty to help the world realize that potential. And that specific thing has been a very important driving force. Even before OpenROV, I was building telerobots with the same intention: to popularize telerobotics for exploration. So by making it open source, I think I am able to affect more people. Look at how Arduino works. There were plenty of microcontrollers before it, but because everybody has access to Arduino, suddenly they can create a much bigger thing. The second perspective or way to tell that story, the open-source story, is from an engineering standpoint.

It’s just sitting on this big empty plane, just waiting to be picked up. It’s like trash on the side of the freeway, but instead of being light, not valuable stuff, this is all stuff that’s heavy and not retrievable, and often has a lot of value. Doing that was one of those things that just clicked. I could feel that this is something I could do the rest of my life. It was really cool to be exploring things in a different place, you know. Telerobotics exploration, which has been my mantra. It just reinforced that that’s what I wanted to do. Certainly that trip to the Nemo 16 and Aquarius in Florida was amazing. I didn’t even get to go into the water. We didn’t have live video for that. But driving the ROV around in these crystal-clear waters with all these crazy fish, even sharks and other creatures around, was an amazing experience. 147 148 Chapter 11 | Eric Stackpole: Cofounder, OpenROV Going to the Hall City Cave was really awesome in several aspects, for several reasons.

And I think that has profound potential that is not yet appreciated by the world. Osborn: What are the places that you really want to see? Stackpole: There are a few places that I think are really interesting that I’ve read about, but I think for me, seeing something that’s never been seen by mankind is at the heart of what drives me personally. I’d love ROVs to be able to explore the deep ocean telerobotically. I’d really like to learn most about the things that we’ve never seen before. In other words, I don’t want to know about a specific thing. I don’t have specific questions. I don’t think you need Makers at Work questions necessarily to get answers. I want to look in places that have never been seen before, and see what comes up. Osborn: What is the deepest you’ve had the ROV at this point? I guess it’s probably the length of the tether, but I’m not sure what that is.


pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell


1960s counterculture, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

Louis, The (Lindbergh plane), 190 SUNBURST, 175 Spirit rover, 15 SUNDISK, 177 Sputnik, 6, 12, 19, 49, 99 SUNRISE, 151 Squyres, Stephen, 271 Supersonic flight, 17 SR-71, 45 airmen school and, 32–36 Stability, 17–18 control and, 44–45 age of systems and, 36–41 airmen school and, 21–23 stability and, 44–45 structural heating and, 44–45, 47, 54–55 augmentation and, 33–34, 55–57, 60 X-15 and, 45–63 chauffeur school and, 21–22 control and, 19–21 (see also Control) Yeager and, 49 Surveyor spacecraft, 105 design and, 24–29 Apollo 12 and, 235–241 electronic, 32–36 crashes and, 235 fatigue and, 23–24 engine shutoff and, 236 flying qualities and, 26–28 Gilruth and, 27–28 lunar surface modeling and, 210 thruster failure and, 235 structural heating and, 44 Symbolism, 11–13 Index Systems engineering, 147, 263 Adams death and, 59–61 357 human-machine relationship and, 4–8 instrument flying and, 24–25 adaptive control system and, 57–61 integrated circuits (ICs) and, 125–127 Apollo 14 and, 243–249 magnetic tape storage and, 87 backup systems and, 248–249 megamachine and, 12–13 command center and, 108–109 punch cards and, 152 computers and, 123–142 (see also Computers) safety and, 17–18 development of, 36–41 simulators and, 51–54, 209–210 (see also Digital Development Group and, 98 G&N System Panel and, 148–149 Simulators) Space Task Group (STG) and, 74–77 gain and, 51 stability and, 19–22 guidance systems and, 97–109, 112–114 symbolism and, 11–13 ICBMs and, 97 systems engineering and, 36–41 lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) decision and, telerobots and, 15 111–112 Mars probe and, 99–101 transistors and, 98–99, 125–127 unmanned missiles and, 18–19 Mueller and, 133–136 optics issues and, 114–119 vacuum tubes and, 130 Teleprinters, 109 pilot induced oscillation and, 50–51 Telerobots, 15 Polaris submarine and, 97–99 Telescopes, 100, 114–119, 169 Program Evaluation and Review Technique Tenhoff, Ray, 29 (PERT) and, 98 TERRAIN, 148 project management and, 169–174 Test Pilot (film), 28 Shea and, 133–136 Testy Test Pilots Society, 29–31 software and, 149–151, 169–173 (see also Software) Texas Instruments, 99 Thaler, Herb, 126, 166 stability augmentation system (SAS) and, 55– Thompson, Milt, 49, 53–54, 59–60, 68, 73, 90 57 X-15 and, 46–63 Thor missile, 18, 97, 110 Time magazine, 37 Tindall, Bill, 170–174, 187 Technological Society, The (Ellul), 12 Titan missile, 18, 70, 87, 110, 120 Technology Touchdown, 206–208 airflow modeling and, 20 computers and, 123–143 (see also Computers) Trageser, Milt, 99–101, 104, 106, 121, 127 Tranquility Base, 4 control and, 19–22 (see also Control) Transistors, 98–99 core logic and, 125–126 computers and, 125–127 digital autopilot, 139–142 core-transistor logic and, 125–126 Eagle landing and, 1–4, 6, 217–232 electronic stability and, 32–36 firmware and, 154–157 reliability and, 130 ‘‘Trend in Escape from High Performance Aircraft, The’’ (Horner), 31 frequency response and, 33–34 future and, 263–271 TRW Corporation, 37, 133–134 Turner, Roscoe, 10–11 gyro culture and, 96–97 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick), 12 358 Index U-2 spy plane, 45 Ullage, 200, 246 Visuals, 53–54 Voas, Robert, 76–77, 81, 161 ‘‘Understanding and Interpreting Pilot von Braun, Wernher, 6, 65, 79, 96, 147 Opinion’’ (Cooper), 31 background of, 66 United Shoe Machinery Company, 156 Colliers magazine and, 111 United States Gemini and, 83–84 individualism and, 12 Johnsville tests and, 72 masculinity and, 13–14 Mercury and, 79–80 space race and, 5–6 symbolism and, 10–13 pilots’ role and, 66–69, 93 Saturn rockets and, 70 UNIVERSE, 148 unmanned flight and, 66–69, 79–80 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), 267 Vostok, 13, 89 Unmanned flight, 18, 156.

Such rhetoric has arguably produced more heat than light in recent decades, although the stakes are high as NASA determines new policy directions. Yet the advocates for either side usually neglect or misunderstand the mixings and combinations of manual and automated, especially experiences made possible by communications links and remote controls. The Mars rovers named Spirit and Opportunity that captured public imagination in recent years, for example, are less ‘‘robots’’ acting as autonomous agents than ‘‘telerobots’’ responding to commands from the earth and providing data for ground controllers, scientists, and the public to experience a foreign world from afar. Similarly, the Apollo spacecraft and astronauts had tight connections to the 16 Chapter 1 ground and transmitted images, words, data, and experience through remote channels. No computers made decisions on their own; all were programmed by people, distanced in space and time from the landings, who embedded their own ideas, models, and assumptions into the machines.

Both evoke the relationship of a master to a slave, or a manager to a worker.54 ‘‘A transition in the art of piloting’’ In 1962, the task of building the human interface for the Apollo guidance system fell to Jim Nevins, an IL engineer with a background in control systems. For Mercury, NASA had turned the job over to psychologist Robert Voas and to ‘‘human factors’’ experts at McDonnell, but Nevins began looking for control systems engineers with experience in ergonomics. He found one in Tom Sheridan, an MIT assistant professor with expertise in mechanical engineering and psychology who would come to define ideas in supervisory control and telerobotics. The group eventually grew to about thirty people. They began with traditional aircraft controls, giving the spacecraft hand controllers and throttles, then adding the gyroscopes and an artificial horizon (the eight ball), and inputs to control pitch, yaw, and roll. Each solution raised more questions: how would such machines be operated in a weightless environment? How by people wearing bulky pressure suits?


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey


3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Tilting back his head, he could look up through the slave’s eyes to see the master-unit, with himself inside, maintaining the same attitude on its complex suspension.3 This level of control and verisimilitude is far off in space exploration, but we’re approaching it with the virtual reality of video games. The difference between gaming and science applications is that a video game tries to digitally re-create a real-world experience while science uses technology to digitally represent and transmit the real world. Remote control of robots—often called telerobotics—is infiltrating life in surprising ways. Robots are used nowadays to defuse bombs, extract minerals from hazardous mines, and explore the deep sea floor. They also act as aerial drones and doctor’s assistants. They’re even beginning to be seen in the boardroom and the workplace. Many commercial robots look like vacuum cleaners with a screen on top and are no more than ventriloquist’s dummies; after the comical first impression, it’s disconcerting to realize that there’s a real person at the other end of the device.

Louis, The (Lindbergh), 90 Spirit rover, 165 Sputnik 1, 37–39, 37, 40, 41, 51, 65, 141, 269 Sputnik 2, 47, 269 Sputnik 3, 39, 269 SR-71 “Blackbird,” 69 Stafford, Tom, 55 Stalin, Joseph, 35, 37, 253 Stapledon, Olaf, 253 Stapp, John, 46 Stark, Tony (Iron Man), 95, 96, 205 stars: ancient Greek concept of, 18 as basis of carbon, 256 in exoplanet detection, 126–28, 129, 130–31 Sun-like, 131, 133, 187, 215, 233, 236 Star Trek, 88, 90, 92, 167, 192, 228–29, 268 Star Trek: The Next Generation, 229, 232 Stephenson, Neal, 103 Stevenson, Robert, 114 Stone, Bill, 97–98, 161 string theory, 257 Student, The, 86 Sub-Biosphere 2, 197 suitports, 196 Sun: ancient Greek concept of, 18 demise of, 197, 286 as energy source, 124, 223, 253 formation of, 156 stars that are similar to, 131, 133, 187, 215, 233, 236 Sunjammer, 185, 284 Survivor (TV series), 75 suspended animation, 250–52 Synergia Ranch, 192 tachyons, 228 taikonauts, 142–43 tardigrades (water bears), 122 Tarter, Jill, 242–43 Tau Ceti, 187–88, 237 Teacher in Space program, 55, 74 technological maturity, 260–61 technology: advancements in, 127, 133, 159–60, 224, 231, 241, 250, 257–62, 288, 292 alien, 186–91 in cameras, 53 computation, 258–62 destructive potential of, 245–46 development of, 20 for efficient energy production, 220–24, 221 erroneous predictions about, 213–14 in foods, 115–16 human beings surpassed by, 258–59 Kardashev’s scale for, 253–54 outdated, 64–65, 106 of remote sensing, 175–91 of spacesuits, 195–96 speculative and hypothetical, 228–32 trust in, 98 in weaponry, 22–24 see also nanotechnology; specific technologies TED2014 conference, 178 telepathy, cybernetic, 206 teleportation, 228–32, 230, 252 telepresence, 176–79, 283 telerobotics, 177–78 telescopes, 31, 49–50, 126, 128, 129–30, 158, 163, 187, 190, 218, 235, 292–93 see also specific instruments Telstar, 153 Tereshkova, Valentina, 74 Terminator, The, 259 terraforming, 172–74, 182, 216–17, 227 terrestrial exoplanets, incidence of, 128, 129, 216, 241 terrorism, 152–53 Tesla, Nikola, 237 Tesla Motors, 96–97, 97 test pilots, 71–74, 272 Tethers Unlimited, 226 Thales, 18–19 “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” (Feynman), 180 thought experiments: and birth of science, 19 for Dyson sphere, 253–54 of Newton, 25 on self-replication, 226–27 3-D fabrication, 159, 160, 226–27, 226 thrust, in flight, 68–69, 72, 186, 220, 222–23 thymine, 6 Timbisha tribe, 118–19 Titan, 53, 125, 177, 182, 278 Tito, Dennis, 75, 170 Toba supervolcano, 202 toilets, in space travel, 116–17 Tokyo Broadcasting System, 75 tortoises, in space research, 49 Tower of Babel, 148 “Tranquility” (toilet), 117 transhumanism, 207–8 transit method, exoplanet detection by, 128–29, 128, 129, 130–31 “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations” (Kardashev), 253 transporter devices, 228–32 TrES-2B (exoplanet), 132 tricorder devices, 92 Tristan da Cunha, 202–3 “True Story, A” (Lucian of Samosata), 20 Truman, Harry, 36 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin Eduardovich, 26–28, 36, 72, 110, 149, 268 rocket equation of, see rocket equation Turing, Alan, 258–59 twin research studies, 98 Tziolas, Andreas, 224 UFOs, 142 belief in, 102, 238 proported sightings of, 239, 240 Ulam, Stanislaw, 221 uncertainty principle, 229–30, 291 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 106 United Nations, 47, 141, 145, 147, 214 General Assembly, 42 Moon Treaty of, 279 United States, 141 bureaucracy of, 105–9 China’s relations with, 144 energy consumption of, 222 founding of, 109 government shutdown of 2013 in, 63–64 rocket development in, 28–30, 35–39 space policy debate in, 146–47 space program of, 38, 40–45, 47, 50, 51, 55–56, 56, 63–64, 72, 74–75, 107, 140–141, 140, 154, 184, 195, 296, 271; see also National Aeronautics and Space Administration in World War II, 34 Uranus: probes to, 52 as uninhabitable, 125 V-2 ballistic missile (Retaliation/Vengeance Weapon 2), 30–36, 33, 47, 48 vacuum: as lethal, 54, 108 rocket function in, 30 of space, 70, 108, 126, 195, 222 Vanguard rocket, 36–38, 269 Van Thillo, Mark, 194 Vega (star), 236 Venera 7, 51 Venus: Earth compared to, 171, 215 fly-by of, 51 nanobot exploration of, 182 probes to, 40, 51, 184, 270 property rights on, 145 as uninhabitable, 124 Verne, Jules, 26, 28, 117, 183, 239 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) rockets, 103 Very Large Array, 236 videoconferencing, 176 video games: evolution of, 175–77 simulation compared to, 261 Vietnam War, 158 Viking probes, 51, 52, 164, 176 Virgin Atlantic airline, 87 Virgin Galactic, 88–89, 88, 101, 105–6, 113 Virgin Group, 87 Virgin records, 86–87 virtual reality, 176–77 volcanoes: on Earth, 119, 202 on Io, 53, 177 as source of heat energy, 124 super-, 245 Volna rocket, 184 Vomit Comet, 114 von Braun, Wernher, 28, 30–36, 38, 76, 140, 166–67, 269 von Kármán, Theodore, 141 von Littrow, Joseph, 238 von Neumann, John, 227, 258–59 von Neumann probes, 227, 258 Voskhod 2 spacecraft, 108 Vostok 1 spacecraft, 40–41 Voyager 1, 52, 53, 121, 121, 125, 219, 225 Voyager aircraft, 83 Wakata, Koichi, 273 Wallace, Alfred Russel, 164 Wang Yaping, 142–43 Wan Hu, 21–22, 22, 24, 31, 139, 141 warfare, rockets in, 22–24, 30, 32–34 War of the Worlds, The (Wells), 164 warp drive, 228–29 Warwick, Kevin, 206–8 Wasp 18b (exoplanet), 132 water: acidification of, 195 as biomarker, 217–18 on Earth, 172 on Europa, 125 on exoplanets, 132 on Mars, 124–25, 163–66, 165, 170, 172, 173 on Moon, 159–61 as requirement for life, 123–25, 132, 214, 217 in space travel, 116, 159 Watson, Thomas, 213 weaponry: nuclear, 36, 38 technological roots of, 22–24 weightlessness, 54, 88, 114, 167–68, 200 Weisman, A., 293 Welles, Orson, 164 Wells, H.


pages: 262 words: 66,800

Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future by Johan Norberg


agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, availability heuristic, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business climate, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Island, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, moveable type in China, Naomi Klein, open economy, place-making, Rosa Parks, special economic zone, Steven Pinker, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, very high income, working poor, Xiaogang Anhui farmers

In laboratories around the world, tens of thousands of scientists and engineers are trying to revolutionize energy – from making our everyday appliances intelligent, to colonizing space. If just one of them is successful, it will blow our minds and change the world. Some are dreaming of solar power in space, where there is no night and no atmospheric gases or clouds ever block the sun. Some sort of microwave transmitter or laser would direct energy to the areas of earth that need it. But we would probably need big breakthroughs in telerobotics to build and maintain solar panels in space. Closer to home, others are working on an internet for energy – an intelligent and decentralized network of power lines, sensors and switches where both producers and consumers can put information and power into the network, and take it out. Appliances would shut themselves off when they were not needed or when energy was scarce, so the dishwasher might start in the middle of the night.


pages: 363 words: 109,417

Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson


job satisfaction, Milgram experiment, Ronald Reagan, telerobotics, trade route, young professional

Antarctica is for NASA a model for the Moon and Mars: a sort of Mock Mars Drill where, because of its remoteness, terrain, logistical constraints, and the tendency of its crews to “experience stresses that are, in many respects, similar to those that will be experienced by crews on long-duration space missions,” NASA can perform tests in approximately lunar or Martian conditions at terrestrial prices. NASA not only slavers over Antarctica’s potential for a telerobotic construction outpost, but also claims that “Antarctic bases can provide a testbed for studying operational techniques, human factors, and small-group dynamics in harsh conditions… Command and control structure, crew coordination and communication, and questions of leadership, all critical to the success of space operations, can be studied in Antarctic outposts.” Though the report didn’t specify what varieties of studying would be involved, or when the studying would commence, the report makes clear that Antarctica is “a compelling place” for these studies of “human factors” and that, in exchange for their cooperation, the USAP “could benefit from developed and proposed NASA data, systems, and technologies that might increase the efficiency of operations or enhance the research program.”


pages: 564 words: 163,106

The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by M. D. James le Fanu M. D.


Barry Marshall: ulcers, clean water, cuban missile crisis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, rising living standards, stem cell, telerobotics, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, V2 rocket

., ‘Functional Recovery After Open Versus Laparoscopic Colonic Resection: A Randomised, Blind Study’, Annals of Surgery, 2005, Vol. 241, pp. 416–23. 16.D. G. Jayne, H. C. Thorpe, J. Copeland et al., ‘Five Year Follow-up of the Medical Research Council, CLASICC Trial of Laparoscopically Assisted Versus Open Surgery for Colo-Rectal Cancer’, British Journal of Surgery, 2010, Vol. 97, pp. 1638–45. 17.Garth Ballantyne, Jacques Marescaux and Pier Giulianotti (eds), Primer of Robotic and Telerobotic Surgery (Philadelphia, PD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005). 18.George Tibault, ‘Too Old For What?’, NEJM, 1993, Vol. 328, pp. 946–50. 19.Matthew Bacchetta, Wilson Ko et al., ‘Outcomes of Cardiac Surgery in Nonagenarians: A Ten-Year Experience’, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2003, Vol. 75, pp. 1215–20. See also Padmini Varadarajan, Nikhil Kapoor and Ramesh Bansal, ‘Survival in Elderly Patients with a Severe Aortic Stenosis is Dramatically Improved by Aortic Valve Replacement’, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 2006, Vol. 30, pp. 722–27.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More


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,, 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

It is an idea as old, as traditional, as oriental religions and as new as the quantum physics of David Bohm, John Stewart Bell, and Alain Aspect (Herbert 1985). This connectedness, this undivided wholeness, unmediated action-at-a-­distance, capable of transcending the laws of space and time with non-local interaction, is reflected in the telematic environment of computer-mediated networks of data transfer, interactive videoconferencing, remote sensing, and telerobotics, where communication also can be in a sense “non-local” and asynchronous although in different ways and with different outcomes. Equally the connectivist paradigm is at work in the modeling of human intelligence and theorizing about the mind. These explorations into the microstructure of cognition, known as connectionism, parallel distributed processing, or neural networks (McClelland and Rumelhart 1986), have developed out of a re-evaluation of some of the earliest ideas of cybernetics, of neural nets and the Perceptron, rejecting the linear, symbolic systems of the old AI.