Future Tech: Featuring boat-docking automation & powerful text generation.
A fleet of robotic valets begin work at an international airport
After a few years of testing its robot valets, Stanley Robotics will officially put its fleet to use at France’s Lyon-Saint-Exupéry airport. If you plan to park in the robot-lot anytime soon, you’ll leave your car in a special garage-like box. One of Stanley’s robots will literally pick up your car and deliver it to a spot. When you return, the system will use your flight information to determine when to bring your car back to a box, where you can pick it up and drive off. As the company says, that should mean no waiting or searching the parking lot.
These self-driving, robo-valets look like large, rectangular boxes, about the width of a small SUV. They essentially act as a forklift, sliding metal arms underneath your car to lift it by the tires. Stanley Robotics said the system is much more efficient at parking than humans are — though that’s not exactly a high bar. The robot valets can fit 50 per cent more cars in the same area, by parking them closer together and a few cars deep.
For now, Stanley Robotics will cover 500 parking spaces, but the company said it eventually wants to service 6,000 spots. There’s no word yet if the company will launch this at other airports, but it has held trial runs at Düsseldorf International Airport in Germany and Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
This automated system docks boats all on its own
From Popular Mechanics:
It’s a familiar sensation to anyone who’s ever helmed a boat: You’re maneuvering toward the dock when you realize that the tide is taking you one way and the wind another, and you’re not entirely sure whether you’re going to sidle up smoothly or do an impromptu re-enactment of the final scenes from Speed 2: Cruise Control. Inevitably, there are at least 100 people standing around watching.
If you’re like me, you might suddenly remember there was something you needed to do out in the ocean, then jam it into reverse and motor away. Sorry everyone! We’ll get fuel some other place. Or run out, maybe. Either way, it’ll be better than suffering the indignity of an ugly docking.
Raymarine has a solution in the works: DockSense, an automated system that uses stereoscopic cameras to help bring your boat to the dock without embarrassment or massive property damage. I tried out a prototype system on a 33-foot Boston Whaler Outrage at the Miami Boat Show, and it’s awe-inspiring.
Should we be concerned about this powerful text generator?
From CBC News:
A new text generator driven by artificial intelligence is apparently so good that its creators have decided not to make it publicly available. The tool was created by OpenAI, a non-profit research firm whose backers include Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman and which was founded with the mission of “discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.”
But now OpenAI is concerned that something these well-intentioned researchers built could easily be misused, fearing that it would be dangerous in the wrong hands. Trained on eight million web pages, OpenAI’s new system — called the GPT-2 — is billed as the next generation of predictive text. The AI is said to write authentic-sounding prose that could fool humans, which has dangerous repercussions when it comes to the mass production of disinformation.
Feed it sample content — be it a few words, or a few pages — and the AI will write what comes next, with a coherent, plausible passage that matches both the subject and the style of the source material. “The model is chameleon-like — it adapts to the style and content of the conditioning text. This allows the user to generate realistic and coherent continuations about a topic of their choosing,” the researchers wrote in explaining why they weren’t releasing the tool.
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