Robot passports

MIT Technology Review recently reported on the need for “License Plates for Drones.”  The concept involves colored blinking lights which would help someone identify the drone on video or in the air based on the sequence of lights.  The may be a viable technique for drone identification, helping to determine responsibility in an event, but what about other kinds of robot devices?

Many have now written about the singularity, a time when robots are capable of making other robots and quickly exceeding the capabilities of mankind.  If robots were suddenly making other robots, how would we even know?  I mean, it’s hard enough to determine when other countries are manufacturing weapons underground.  Robots might be even more secretive.  And would you know that a new kind of robot is out there if you saw one?  It’s not like they come with license plates or passports.  Should they?

Should there be an online database of every kind of robot that has been made?  Without that, any robot can be squirming, flying, or walking around and we’ll have no idea whether they are a new kind of robot or not.

Are robots citizens of the country that they are made in or the country that owns them?  Are they citizens at all?  If so, then shouldn’t they carry passports like humans.  If not, shouldn’t they have a license plate or some other easy identification.

Granted, all this is speculative, but that’s why I’m a speculative writer.  I enjoy thinking about these kinds of things.  If you do to, you might enjoy reading my science fiction anthologies.

Robot Carrying Things clip art

Is Lucy dead on Extant?

Lucy is a humanoid robot (Humanics) soldier on the television series Extant.  I found it interesting that the programmers/developers of her mind thought it would not be possible for her to blackmail someone — see the video below.

This reminds me a bit of one of my short stories (“Like Mother, Like Son”) you can find in my anthology, “Science Fiction: Robots & Cyborgs.”  It’s about a different kind of female humanoid robot with possibly a hidden agenda.

Quantum Biology

The term Quantum Biology was coined over 60 years ago, but only recently has it gained momentum.  I believe quantum biology science has the potential to change the understanding of the human brain and consciousness, since many AI researchers today believe they can produce an artificial brain through the construction of circuits and software — and some AI researchers think that consciousness is nothing more than an illusion.

Until utterly proven wrong, I still think that the theories behind quantum consciousness raised by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff are science’s best bet for understanding how consciousness works — or at least understanding where it originates from.  The Scientist recently reported on a new book, “The Coming Age of Quantum Biology: Life on the Edge“.  You can find the book on Amazon and read a bit of the beginning for free.  The book’s authors are discussed in a recent Discover Magazine article as well.

Apparently on Quantum Mind they don’t see Quantum Biology as a major support yet for the theories of Quantum Consciousness.  But maybe it is just a matter of time before biologists and physicists, as well as AI researchers, discover that they are all barking up the same tree — understanding consciousness.

Brain clip art

When will we see Microsoft Edge browser extensions?

According to a couple of different websites we won’t see Microsoft Edge browser extensions — for better security they’ll be HTML5, not Active-X add-ons — until sometime this autumn.  The other website says probably around October, which is still autumn by definition.

There have been a few articles lately claiming that Microsoft Edge is not doing that well with new Windows 10 users.  However, when you consider that it doesn’t yet support all the right-click options (extensions) that most users want, it’s easy to see why.  It will be interesting to see if the Edge browser sees a significant uptick in usage after extensions are released in hopefully autumn.

Personally, I look forward to having right-click translation and “map with” back.  I would also like to see grouped tabs in favorites added to Edge, as well as alphabetized favorites.  I don’t know if those are related to extensions, though, or whether we will see those added to Edge.

The Maritimes and vicinity – Wow!

I just got back from a vacation in The Maritime provinces of Canada, as well as Quebec, Maine, and a few neighboring states.  I highly recommend the Maritimes if you haven’t been!

We started in Bangor, ME on our way to the Bold Coast boat tour of Machias Seal Island where seals and puffins and other birds can be seen up close, especially if the weather is nice enough for a landing on this small island.

SealsNearMachiasSealIsland TowardsTheBlinds TwoWisePuffins

From there we made our way to New Brunswick, Canada, where we visited Hopewell Rocks, where ocean levels often range from 0 feet at low tide to over 40 feet at high tide.

HopewellRocks1_RainyDay

You can fly over to Newfoundland, but we chose to sleep in a cabin on the night ferry to Port-aux-Basques, rising the next morning for our drive to amazing Gros Morne National park.  If you’re lucky you might spot a bear (Western Brook Pond, NL) or a moose (Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia), or even icebergs in late July as we did.  Fantastic waterfalls in the Maritimes and region are everywhere, such as Montmorency Falls near Quebec City.

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I’m a writer, so I could easily go on and on about this trip.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our visits to France last year and Quebec and the Maritimes this year.  I’ve been thinking about making a small e-book series called “Two Week Drive: The Maritimes”, “Two Week Drive: France”, etc.

You can’t see everything in just two weeks, but the challenge and the excitement of that kind of vacation is choosing what can best be experienced and seen in that time frame.  For my wife and I, and another couple, it worked out great!