Five for Friday: Fast-Moving Frontiers

Happy Friday! We're looking forward to a big week next Tuesday and Wednesday when we host the Virtual Policy Forum at Robotics Alley. If you love robots, future-looking policy, and discussing the workforce implications of technology, do we have an event for you! Best yet, you don't even have to leave your desk--learn more about what we're up to including how to live-stream the Legislator Panel and speaker interviews.

Before we're off to immerse ourselves in robotics, we bring you this week's news round-up including controversies in this universe and beyond.

science and technology frontiers
  1. From Computerworld - Uber's being accused of stealing Google's LiDAR technology, which is the technology that powers autonomous movement in vehicles, accounting for obstructions, and working around them. You can read the full statement from Waymo (a Google/Alphabet company) on Medium. The whole thing sounds pretty nasty and Uber definitely didn't need any more bad publicity this week. Will be interesting to keep an eye on this and how it unfolds.

  2. From Mashable - Ford is going all-in on fully autonomous vehicles because humans are, well, human. Many of us think 'Tesla' when we think of self-driving cars, but Tesla is still in the semi-autonomous game when it comes to their cars. Ford is leap-frogging everyone and moving to what's known as Level 4 automation, where a car is fully autonomous except for extreme situations in which a human can intervene. Why? Because they're worried a complacent driver (one who trusts the vehicle more and more as he doesn't have to interact with it) is an unsafe driver. There were rumors engineering testers were even falling asleep, but Ford denies this.

  1. From the New York Times - There was big news from NASA this week about a few relocation options for those of us hedging our bets, but the headline that really caught my eye was about a cosmos controversy. I don't mean to brag, but I did take a pass/fail class in college on Cosmology, so I'm pretty up on theories of the universe and this sounds like a doozy. Basically, there's discussion that the universe is expanding faster than we previously thought, and, if proven correct, could lead to what's cutely being dubbed 'new physics'. Wake-up from testing a self-driving car and ponder what that means for science as we know it.

  2. From Refinery 29 - It's Black History Month and it's about time we all learned the names of some great female scientists. This article gave me actual chills. Not to be missed.

  3. From The Onion - Yes, I know it's not real news but, like Shakespeare's fools, the bigger message sometimes is real. In this case, it's hitting on the fear of robots taking over our jobs and our lives. Elon Musk said this week that humans need to 'merge' with machines, which sounds kind of fun but is also an interesting perspective on how we're going to have to evolve to keep up with the technology we're creating. Whatever emotion this ignites for you, be it fear or excitement or an eye-roll, logon to next week's Virtual Policy Forum live-stream and hear what's happening in the here and now to work with changing times and tech. We'll be live-tweeting/posting/streaming/and blogging from next week's event so stay tuned to our social and web feeds for news and highlights from the frontier of robotics!

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