Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook

Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook - New York Times

Photo: Kimihiro Hoshino/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The company, called Limited Run, helps bands and record labels sell music and merchandise online. It bought advertisements for itself on Facebook this spring. It wanted to know who was clicking, so it built its own analytics tool. It discovered that only one in five clicks seemed to be from human beings. The rest, it said, came from bots, which, in essence, are bits of software performing automated tasks.” (Somini Sengupta, NYTimes.com Bits)

The Industrial Robot Revolution

Stand-alone and embedded industrial robots are taking their place alongside humans

“One small step for man, a giant leap for robot-kind.  NASA recently launched Curiosity, the newest rover to explore Mars. Curiosity is a supercharged robot that can collect, analyze and transmit data about the experience on the Red Planet using environmental sensors, radiation monitors, chemistry instruments and more.  And although the project’s price tag – $2.5 billion – might seem staggering, it’s a clear statement to the world that the future is in robotics. A message that is not lost here on Earth.” (Sandra Gittlen, Network World)

(Note: The article is about more than just $2.5 billion dollar robots…)

Digital ants protect computer networks

“Unlike traditional security approaches, which are static, digital ants wander through computer networks looking for threats such as computer worms, self-replicating programs designed to steal information or facilitate unauthorized use of computers. When a digital ant detects a threat, it summons an army of ants to converge at that location, drawing the attention of human operators to investigate.” (Kerry M. King, Wake Forest University)

Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections

Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections - Technology Review

Image: Max Nanis and Ian Pearce

“You might have encountered a ‘Twitter bot’ before: an automated program that perhaps retweeted something you wrote because it had particular keywords. Or maybe you received a message from an unfamiliar, seemingly human-controlled account, only to click on an accompanying link and realize you’d been fooled by a spambot.  Now a group of freelance Web researchers has created more sophisticated Twitter bots, dubbed ‘socialbots,’ that can not only fool people into thinking they are real people, but also serve as virtual social connectors, speeding up the natural rate of human-to-human communication.” (Mike Orcutt, technology review)

Drones: Coming Soon to a Sky Near You?

BROOKE GLADSTONE:

The Gatewing, you said, is illegal in the United States, as opposed to this little Parrot AR thing that sold at Brookstone.

MATT WAITE:

Which is only slightly legal. The law, as it stands right now, is that remote control aircraft pilots can’t fly near people or go above 400 feet. They also cannot use them for commercial purposes. Journalism is considered a commercial purpose.

The law has not caught up to the fact that there are these inexpensive aircraft that can do commercial things. And there are industries that are just waiting to jump in and make a lot of money doing this.  Agriculture, oil and gas – everybody is really interested to hear what the FAA has to say this month. (OnTheMedia)

 

Leaping lizards and dinosaurs inspire robot design

” ‘We showed for the first time that lizards swing their tail up or down to counteract the rotation of their body, keeping them stable,’ said team leader Robert J. Full, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. ‘Inspiration from lizard tails will likely lead to far more agile search-and-rescue robots, as well as ones having greater capability to more rapidly detect chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.’ ” (Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley)