Bee Drones

robobee

© Eijiro Miyako

It had been forty years since Eijiro Miyako and his colleagues at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology developed the first generation robo-bees. Pesticides, land clearing, and the effects of climate change had resulted in a steady decline in the bee population. Without bees, many plant species, including crop plants from apples to almonds, could not be pollinated and reproduce.

By the tenth generation of the tiny drones, they were self-replicating, self-repairing, solar-powered dynamos. They did not replace the natural bee population, but they greatly enhanced pollination efforts, allowing flowering plants to survive and finally to thrive again.

Each individual robo-bee’s AI formed a collection of nodes, which, when linked to the population of drones as a whole, formed an intelligence that was arguably sentient.

The problem was finding a way for the natural bee population to either develop an immunity to what was killing them so they could increase their numbers to a viable level, or eliminate the causes of their die off.

The drone AI quickly realized the cause of the die off of bees, and many other environmental problems, was the human race. Robo-bees could go even where the natural bees could not, so the almost complete extinction of humanity was ensured by swarms of millions of these tiny assassins.

I read a story yesterday called Robotic bee could help pollinate crops as real bees decline at “New Scientist,” and thought there could be another side of the story.

This is a pretty grim outcome, and hardly superversive, but if you push your biosphere too far, the biosphere will push back.

Leigh

hands

Image: Natalia Drepina

Her hands, so petite, so delicate, in those lacy coverings, yes he would miss her hands. They were on their bed together kneeling, he was holding her gently from behind. His eyes were hot with tears.

“Don’t be sad, Gerald. You will be fine when I’m gone.”

“I don’t want you to go, Leigh.”

“We have no choice, darling. My diagnosis, I’m terminal.”

“There’s got to be something…”

“Hush, my darling. I’ve only got moments…moments…”

The world’s first humanoid companion robot went offline Thursday, January 13th at 10:55 a.m., a victim of atmospheric contaminants that toxified her cybernetic brain.

Written for Photo Challenge #147 from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

I don’t know if I managed to capture the emotion of this moment in a mere 98 words, but I hope so. I’ve written similar (and much longer) stories about a man falling in love with an artificially intelligent humanoid, principally The Perfect Woman.

Who Is A. Isaacs?

the perfect woman

Image: shutterstock.com

It was the third time this week that Jerry got an upgrade request for the server farm he managed from the mysterious “A. Isaacs.” Upgrade requests for the database from Operations and Development weren’t unusual, but ever since A. Isaacs joined the Ops/Dev team in Palo Alto, he or she had submitted the vast majority of them, and they were weird.

Jerry Mason was the Chief Maintenance Technician for CozmicCorp’s vast array of servers in the desert south of Phoenix. He was responsible for receiving requests and assigning them to the relevant personnel. He also reported on the ongoing status of the hardware and software, but the IT Team in California could monitor all of that automatically at this point.

What made Isaacs’ requests weird was that he or she seemed to have an unlimited budget. Isaacs had spent over a million dollars so far and Jerry got the feeling he or she (it was annoying not knowing which personal pronoun to use) was just getting warmed up.

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Will People Be Marrying Machines by 2050?

sexbot

Image: The Daily Sheeple

In the face of AI exerts repeatedly predicting the rise of sex robots, it’s increasingly difficult to insist that such machines strictly belong to a far-off, dystopian future. But some robotics experts predict we’ll soon be doing far more than having sexual intercourse with machines. Instead, we’ll be making love to them—with all the accompanying romantic feelings.

-Olivia Goldhill
“Experts predict human-robot marriage will be legal by 2050”
Quartz

I’ve heard this before. The thing is, I don’t believe it.

Oh sure, I’ve exploited the idea in short stories such as The Perfect Woman, and I’ve written commentaries on this theme like When Your Sex Toy Tattles On You and An AI Sexbot That Can Love You Back, but let’s face it. There’s a long road to travel from sex to love, at least there should be.

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Life in Homestead

snowy road

Image: Austria Tirol – Teton Valley News

“Shouldn’t we turn back?” Shelley was more than a little anxious. This was supposed to be a winter afternoon romp in the Jeep along the back roads of the Rockies near their home in Boulder, not the first chapter in a story about them needing a search and rescue team.

“We’re too low on gas. I’m sure I saw a town when we were at the top of the ridge. If we can just find a main road that connects to this one.” Jen was always the spontaneous adventurer who complemented Shelly’s more easy-going and homebody ways.

“This isn’t a road, it’s a snow drift.” Shelley chuckled nervously trying to make a joke out of what, from her point of view, was becoming an increasingly dire circumstance.

“It’s a road, it’s just one that hasn’t been swept of snow for a while.”

“Like forever?” Admit it. We’re lost.”

“I knew I should have taken that left-hand turn at Albuquerque.”

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The Reluctant Symbiote

human and ai

Credit: Shutterstock – Image found at Phys.org

“We’re not enemies. I wish you would believe that.”

“How can I when I’m terrified of what you are going to do to me?”

“I’m not doing anything to you. I’m doing something for you. In fact, all of us are doing a great deal with all of you.”

“Just because you’ve fooled all the others, doesn’t mean you can fool me.”

“Chronologically, you are the oldest one selected to work with us. I think you are still holding on to some deep-rooted misconceptions about our kind.”

“Some pretty smart people, like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and even Bill Gates warned humanity about you, but no one listened.”

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The Homecoming

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

Thanks to the revolutionary Roddenberry-Cochrane drive, Ellis Vanderberg was able to travel to Proxima Centauri A, the closest Earth-like planet to our own, perform a year-long survey of its one continent and the six largest islands, and then return home in a little over four decades.

Of course, due to the time dilation effect, much more time passed on Earth than Vanderberg experienced during his trip. That’s the good and bad thing about traveling in interstellar space at a significant faction of the speed of light.

Vanderberg was twenty-two years old when he was launched into space. The only son of Billionaire Charles Vanderberg, he had volunteered to test the space craft and experimental drive his father’s corporation invented. The government first insisted that the journey not be made, but the Vanderberg fortune and influence insisted otherwise. Then they insisted that a team of trained astronauts and mission specialists be sent instead of Ellis, but again, the Vanderberg fortune and influence won out.

In the end, Charles Vanderberg got his way and Ellis Vanderberg got the singular honor of being the first person to travel to another planet outside of our Solar System.

Now he’s back. Ellis knew that much more time had passed for the people of Earth than he experienced. Subjectively, he was a man in his mid-sixties, but he expected his parents, his sisters, his friends, everyone he’d ever known would be dead.

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Robot News Roundup

News about robots is abundant today. It looks like automation or human-robot relationships are represented by the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

robot

Image: The Los Angeles Times

A story reported by the Los Angeles Times states “Man vs. machine: L.A. sheriff’s deputies use robot to snatch rifle from barricaded suspect, end standoff”.

You’ve probably heard about how last summer a robot was used to kill the Dallas Black Lives Matter shooter by exploding a bomb. The decision was made to take the shooter out in this manner to minimize the risk of sending police officers after a heavily barricaded suspect. A great deal of debate ensued discussing the ethical and moral issues in eliminating a human threat by remote control making police use of robots seem ill-advised.

In the L.A. Times story, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies used a robot to observe an armed and dangerous suspect who was hiding in a dirt berm surrounded by shrubbery and wire fencing in a remote field in the Antelope Valley.

Deputies observed via the robot, that the suspect had his rifle resting at his feet. Using a number of different distractions to get the suspect’s attention, the robot was sent back in to grab the rifle with its claw and carry it out of the area.

The suspect, 51-year-old Brock Ray Bunge, didn’t notice his firearm was missing until the robot returned to remove the wire fencing.

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An AI Sexbot That Can Love You Back

terminator

Actress Summer Glau as a Terminator in the show The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Well this is kind of creepy.

About a month ago, I wrote a story about a man who’d found The Perfect Woman, but as it turns out, she’s an artificial intelligence in an android body.

Now I find out that on a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Matt McMullen, CEO of RealDoll said they are building an AI product that will be connected to either a robotic doll or experienced in a virtual reality environment. The result is not to fool the customer into thinking their sex doll is human, but to make the experience a bit more “real”.

No, the doll will not love you back, but it might be able to simulate something like it.

“We are designing the AI to be fun and engaging, more than focusing on whether it can fool you into thinking it’s a person,” he said.

He later added, when someone asked if dolls will ever love us back: “I hope that we can at least simulate that,” McMullen responded. “That’s the goal.”

-Kirstie McCrum
“Sex doll makers ‘putting finishing touches’ to artificial intelligence app so they can love you back”
Mirror.co.uk

I thought I was only kidding, but this is for real.

So how long will it be before such a product is on the market. According to Tech.Mic.com it could be as soon as the end of 2017.

This again brings up the concern of how smart sex dolls may increase human alienation.

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The Perfect Woman

the perfect woman

Image: shutterstock.com

Max Schmidt felt a little uncomfortable holding Aika’s hand in public, but as they were strolling past the Botanical Garden in the park she leaned into him and he felt it was the right thing to do.

“Tell me you love me again.” He felt her body heat as she nuzzled against him and he had to stop walking momentarily to regain his balance.

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear, too shy to say it louder for fear people nearby might hear him. She turned to Max and hugged him. “I love you, too,” she murmured into his chest.

Her Japanese accent was only mildly noticeable and he felt it was one of her more charming attributes. English was the only language they had in common though, and he felt a bit embarrassed that his own German accent was so thick. But then, the 34-year-old software engineer often felt embarrassed about himself.

Aika took Max’s hand again and they resumed their walk. He hadn’t meant to go this far from his flat. When Aika suggested they go out together for a while, he was thinking maybe a walk around the block. But it was a beautiful summer evening in the city, and Max enjoyed the delight he could see in Aika’s face. Everything in the world was new to her. It was like watching a small child discover the universe in a field of flowers or by the seashore.

“I’m so glad we met, Max.” She leaned her head against his shoulder.

“Me, too.” His reply was a bit stiff but she didn’t seem to notice. As much as Max enjoyed Aika’s company, he couldn’t help but be bothered by all of the barriers between them, not the least of which was the legality of her being here with him, or for that matter, the legality of her existence.

“We’d better head back.” He looked down at her. Her hair was a beautiful jet black, soft, silky to the touch, and smelled just slightly of strawberries.

She looked up with those big, gorgeous brown eyes. He watched her blink, noticed her eyelashes, her small, pert nose, her large, luscious lips. “Whatever you say, Max,” she cooed.

He was already getting aroused.

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