Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

May 4th, 2012

Robots: Robopocalypse

In this episode we talk to New York Times best selling author Daniel Wilson about one of his latest books, Robopocalypse.

Daniel H. Wilson

Daniel Wilson is a roboticist turned novelist. His PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University set him on a path to success, with inside knowledge about robot capabilities leading him to write his first book in 2005 about How to Survive a Robot Uprising. In this interview he gives us an update on his more recent books since we talked in 2007. In particular, we dive into his latest thriller recently released in paperback, Robopocalypse. Here is the plot from Wilson’s website:

Not far into our future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. Controlled by a childlike—yet massively powerful—artificial intelligence known as Archos, the global network of machines on which our world has grown dependent suddenly becomes an implacable, deadly foe. At Zero Hour—the moment the robots attack—the human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back. This is the oral history of that conflict, told by an international cast of survivors who experienced this long and bloody confrontation with the machines. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly detailed, Robopocalypse is an action-packed epic with chilling implications about the real technology that surrounds us.

It’s the robots’ world, we just live in it…for now.

The novel is currently being adapted to the big screen by Steven Spielberg, and is scheduled for release on July 4th 2013. Daniel’s next novel, Amped, will be released by Doubleday on June 5th, 2012. In the mean time, you can already follow its main character, Samantha Blex, on Facebook and twitter.

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December 17th, 2010

Robots: Science Fiction II

In this episode we dive into the world of famous science fiction writer Greg Bear. Christine then takes us on an audio journey through one of his books, Mariposa. Finally don’t forget to send us your YouTube holiday videos featuring robots.

Greg Bear

Greg Bear is a famous writer, author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy. Over the years he’s been awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction and has been called the “Best working writer of hard science fiction” by “The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.” His expertise in science has gotten him writing about topics from evolution to robotics, owing him reviews in Nature. One of his books, Darwin’s Radio even provided useful insights to biologists.

Regarding robotics, we’ll look at self-awareness, robots as mirrors for the human condition and the extent at which AIs should be given responsibility. We then dive into Isaac Asimov’s work, since Bear is an expert after writing a sequel to the foundation series. He tells us a few of Asimov’s secrets to make popular science fiction and how Asimov’s rules should be applied to robotics, if we don’t want to loose control.

Finally, Bear gives us his vision of the world and tells us how his talent in bringing pieces together within one story has gotten him helping the U.S. Army, the CIA and Homeland Security.

To give you a taste of his work, Christine will read an excerpt from Mariposa describing the early Mind Design artificial intelligence called Jones, which leads to the AIs in Queen of Angels, Slant, and Moving Mars. Check out the Promo for his latest book below.


Holiday Videos

To get into the holiday mood, what better than watch some crazy robot videos. Make a holiday video featuring any robot, real or not, and put it on YouTube. Send us a link and we’ll feature it on our dedicated playlist and on our website!

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Latest News:
For a video of the anthrophomorpic running robot’s first dash, or to request a gig of “The Trons” for your XMas or New Year’s celebration, have a look at the Robots Forum.

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October 8th, 2010

Robots: Futurama

In today’s episode we speak with David X. Cohen, the head writer and executive producer of Futurama!

David X. Cohen

In addition to becoming one of TV’s best known writers, David X. Cohen has always had a vested interest in the sciences, receiving his Bachelor in Physics from Harvard University and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Berkeley. During graduate school David started writing for television, eventually writing for The Simpsons with creator Matt Groening. From their collaboration was born Futurama.

Futurama portrays society in the 31st-century. The show provides a very funny account of the ever increasing incorporation of technology into our lives. True to science-fiction tradition, the future is filled with robots albeit those with terrible personalities and odd responsibilities including growing replacement hair for humans.

In this episode, Cohen tells us about how he creates robots for television and describes his vision of the future of human society.

Contest

Describe a robotic character you would like to see on Futurama in the comments section below. Make your character funny, moving, crazy or sad and as graphical as possible! If we like your character most, we’ll send you a Futurama DVD of your choice. The contest ends on the 22nd of October.

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Latest News:
More information on this week’s news (the thought-controlled rat wheelchair and the new field of robot anesthesia) can be found in the Robots forum.

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July 30th, 2010

Robots: Science Fiction

In today’s episode we’ll be diving into the world of Science Fiction with an interview of Patrick Gyger, director of one of the major Science Fiction Museums in the world called Maison d’Ailleurs. To celebrate the genre, we then bring you the Selkies stories written by Jack Graham without any interruptions.

Patrick Gyger

Patrick Gyger is the Director of the “Maison d’Ailleurs” or “House of Elsewhere” which is one of the major museums of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary journeys in the world.

A couple months ago, we had the chance to visit this extraordinary museum where Gyger was giving a guided tour of a new exhibition about Galactic Hits. Over the past 10 years, 30 temporary exhibitions have been held or created there. We then wandered through alleys of shelves, since the museum owns a large, fabulous collection consisting of more than 50’000 books (in French, English, German and even Ouzbek, and many more), some of which are very old and/or rare. There are also nearly 20’000 documents and items related to science fiction and its imagery such as posters, toys, works of art and much more. This makes of the Maison d’Ailleurs a top research center for scholars, students or journalists from around the world who come for their theses, personal research and/or image research.

In this interview, we’ll be looking at the history of robotics in science fiction. Gyger tells us how science fiction can give ideas as to how robots can be used in our society or to mirror the human condition. We then discuss how scientists and science fiction writers can contribute to each other’s field. Finally, in a surprising development we discuss the worries of Science Fiction writers about technology advancing so fast (singularity), that it becomes difficult to write stories about the future.

Selkies

A while back, science fiction writer Jack Graham in Cambridge MA wrote the “Selkies” story for us which was featured in a four-part series in 2008. To celebrate the Science Fiction genre, we decided to rerecord the story so that you could hear it in one-shot. We’ve also added some nice sounds to allow you to immerse yourself into this world of waste, where seal-like robots strive to clean up the oceans.

Jack Graham has an amazing blog called Lonesome Robot which showcases his work in science fiction and role playing games.

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Latest News:
For more information on CMU’s Ranger and QinetiQ’s Zephyr robots, have a look at the Robots Podcast Forum!

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July 6th, 2007

Talking Robots Podcast LogoTalking Robots: How to Survive a Robot Uprising
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In this episode we talk to Daniel Wilson about his Rave Award winning book on “How to Survive A Robot Uprising”. With his humor in pocket, Daniel walks us through the worst Sci-Fi and Hollywood robot attacks. Luckily, his PhD in robotics and army of CMU colleagues are full of resources when it comes to detecting the weak points of their robot protégés.

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