A couple weeks ago, I went to a robotics competition. (I was doing a free-lance job for the local paper.) Going into it, I had a miniscule knowledge about robotics. Leaving, well, let’s just say robots won me over.
Since that day, I’ve been thinking about robots. What can they do for us? How will they change our lives 5 years from now? 20? 50? 100? Furthermore, I’ve been wondering what I can do to get into the field of robotics. At that competition, high schoolers (primarily freshman) were showing me the ropes—how to design the parts on Inventor, how to animate/test it on 3DS Max, how to “print” the model using a 3-D Printer. It’s a crazy process really, and it baffled me that kids ten years younger knew how to do it all. Some of the kids even knew how to raise money for making their robots. One kid helped his team raise $50,000. Think about that for a minute. A 15-year old raising $50G.
At that competition, I also met a professor from Rose Hulman, Dr. David Mutchler. He and I discussed the future of robots. He essentially said that robots are ready to revolutionize the way we do things—that is, we have the technology already there—we just aren’t ready socially for their entrance into everyday life. He did point out that we have artificial intelligence mechanisms already in products all around us, like anti-lock brakes, blind-spot warnings in newer cars, mechanical arms in our factories, etc.
The miniscule knowledge I mentioned earlier had to do with a report I heard on NPR awhile back (before the competition). In it, the reporters said Google’s robotic cars had just been legally approved to drive on the roads in Nevada. At the competition, Dr. Mutchler and I discussed this report, and I shared with him an idea. I had thought of a way to make robots more socially acceptable.
Now, I’m trying to refine the specifics of that idea. And the whole time, all I hear in the background is a Coldplay song, “Twisted Logic”—hundreds, of years in the future, it could be computers, looking for life on earth. The song has a strong, eerie sound that then turns into a rage-like pounding. I can’t get away from it, just like I can’t get away from this idea. So, I’ll keep pounding it out, and in the meantime, you can get the song stuck in your head: TWISTED LOGIC .