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Can You Beat an Adaptive Computer at Rock-Paper-Scissors?

First Watson, now Rock-Paper-Scissors? Can't our flawed, spontaneous and nonsensical brains catch a break? The New York Times hosts a rock-paper-scissors computer that attempts to use patterns and frequent tendencies to beat its human foe. We tried reasoning our way through the game like we would with a human, but the results were crushing. Once we started clicking randomly, though, our inconsi...

Stumbles Prevent Robo-Sprinter From Spreading Abject 'Terminator' Terror

The T-1000 shape-shifter robot in 'Terminator 2' serves as a terrifying upgrade over its Arnold predecessor. But, that intimidation doesn't arise from its morphing capabilities, because the robot truly horrifies us when it breaks into -- with those disturbing swinging arms -- an emotionless, unflinching sprint. Well, finally, an engineer has decided real robots should possess those same stupefyin...

Geek Programs a Gift-Bot That Just Keeps on Giving

Apparently ignorant of the inevitable robot apocalypse, determined and lonely nerds persistently attempt to create friendly companion droids. Paul Hunkin, a Ph.D. student form New Zealand, has engineered an impressive software bot whose personable and generous capabilities far exceed those of other physical robotic companions, though. Hunkin's cyber-spawn, inspired by an xkcd webcomic, only exist...

U.K. Lab's Robots Care for Elderly -- Second Sign of Robocalypse, Check

As our fearless Jon Chase noted mere days ago, the robots will conquer the world by first earning the trust of our children and old folks. As befits the country that brought smallpox to our northeastern shores, a laboratory in Bristol, England is developing the race of robo-nurses that will inevitably turn hospices into hostage situations. A joint project between the University of Bristol and t...

Computer Defeats Japan's Top-Ranked Human Shogi Player

Computers have been beating humans at games for a while now. Remember IBM's Deep Blue, which beat chess champ Gary Kasparov way back in 1997? More recently, IBM developed a supercomputer that could defeat a human at 'Jeopardy.' Despite these advances, computers haven't overthrown the human race -- yet. But, according to The Mainichi Daily News a computer dubbed Akara 2010 recently defeated Jap...

NELL, the Learning Computer, Teaches Itself from the Web

When separate groups of university scientists recently demonstrated the frightening capabilities of elusive, deceptive robots, the expected nerdly and ominous hyperbole immediately followed. Well, get ready for even more apocalyptic 'Terminator' doomsday references (particularly the "My CPU is a neural-net processor -- a learning computer" line). According to the New York Times, researchers from ...

'Intelligent' CCTV System Highlights Soccer Hooligans, Rocker Rowdies

Public events in the U.K., including football games (which we call soccer here in the good ol' U.S. of A.), may be getting a little security help from smart cameras. New CCTV systems called Smart Eyes use software to scan crowds, and identify anything out of the ordinary. The software is able to flag areas of a concert audience, allowing security personnel to better focus their monitoring efforts...

Japanese 'HRP-4' Bendy Bot Has Better Balance Than Most Bipeds

Earlier this week, Kawada Industries and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) revealed the HRP-4 robot, a 5-foot-tall worker bot designed to help out around the workplace. In the video after the break, the blue-and-white bot squats, twists at its waist, strikes a pose on one leg, gives a thumbs-up and just looks generally cool. At 86 pounds, the HRP-4, w...

Robots Taught to Deceive by Georgia Tech Engineers

The inescapable and unstoppable robots from DARPA and Boston Dynamics frequently incite nerdy references to Skynet and the destruction of humanity. But, two groups of university eggheads -- who realistically should know better -- are apparently engaged in a competition to produce the most horrifying, nightmarish robots ever to grace (and eventually destroy) the planet. One-upping their contemp...

Swiss Researchers Develop Mind-Reading, A.I.-Enhanced Wheelchair

Last year, Toyota proudly announced the development of a new mind-controlled wheelchair, which was reportedly capable of interpreting a user's brain waves within a few milliseconds. Now, a group of Swiss scientists have taken the prototype one step further, by adding an extra A.I. touch to a new brain-controlled wheelchair. As Engadget reports, researchers at Switzerland's École polytec...

Peter Molyneux's Milo, the Virtual Child, Gets Shown Off at TED

You might not know this, but Peter Molyneux is a genius (well, according to Managing Editor Leila Brillson, since they are best friends). The man behind 'Black & White' and the 'Fable' series isn't content to hand gamers a controller, and tell them to mash buttons until the baddies are gone. He wants you to empathize with the characters, engage emotionally with the game, and consider the mora...

AIMEC Robo-Kid Keeps Childless Couple Company, Tells Jokes

A U.K. inventor has developed a 4-foot-tall plastic robot child for he and his wife that, believe it or not, is creepier than Haley Joel Osment in 'Artificial Intelligence: AI' (way to be redundant, Spielberg). According to The Daily Mail, Tony Ellis and his wife, Judie, don't have any kids or pets, but they do operate a toy robotics company called Conceptioneering (which is almost as bad of a na...

Telenoid R1 Bot Ensures We Never Sleep With the Lights Off Again

In case you're not familiar with him, Hiroshi Ishiguro has made a name for himself by creating the creepiest humanoid bots this planet has ever seen. But, whereas his past creations have been uncanny stand-ins (albeit horrifyingly soulless ones) for their human counterparts, his latest creation, the Telenoid R1, looks like it crawled out of the fiery pits of the nether-world to feast upon our fle...

Meet AJ, the Ford Fiesta That Tweets

AJ is a lime green, decal-bedecked 2011 Ford Fiesta. Like HAL from '2001,' he has his own man-made intelligence, and thus the gendered pronoun. He's been making his way around the country, sending messages to anyone who will listen. You see, AJ is a car that tweets. Ford engineers gave AJ (short for American Journey 2.0) the ability to connect to the Internet by outfitting him with a Dell com...

A.I.-Produced 'Black Allegheny' Album Mixes Composition and Coding

Perhaps no art form has remained more consistently at the vanguard of technology's advance than music. And we're not talking about this ridiculousness, either. By the time bands like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer totally freaked out the youth of the '70s, those bizarro synth sounds had already been used to much fuller, and weirder, effect nearly 20 years prior -- back when Dean Martin and Han...