May 29, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

God-like Cyborgs, Self-Adapting Robots and Droid Derrieres

Like flying cars, jet packs and hoverboards, the promise and hype of robotics usually falls far short of present-day deliverables. Three stories this week about robots range from the top of what could be to the “bottom” of what we have today.

Yuval Noah Harari, Hebrew University history professor and author of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” predicted in a recent interview that humans will someday become God-like cyborgs.

I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.

Unfortunately, Harari also predicts that the cyborg technology will only be available to the super-wealthy and will result in the extinction of the poor and Silicon Valley becoming the center of a techno-religion ruled by these cyborgs. Yikes!

Moving to the “coming soon” realm, the journal Nature reports that French researchers have developed a small (20-inch) six-legged robot that can suffer two broken legs and quickly figure out how to continue operating with just four.

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The self-adapting robot

The robot uses a learning algorithm called Intelligent Trial and Error helps it determine the best way to adapt and continue on while damaged. They hope to eventually develop self-healing robots for dangerous missions in disaster areas.

At the “bottom” of this list is what’s available today in robotics. That would be a robotic derriere recently revealed by researchers at the University of Florida, Drexel University and the University of Wisconsin help medical students learn how to perform prostate exams.

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A robot gets a prostate exam

This butt is no joke – it has four sensors to give instant feedback via a video character named Patrick to students on location and pressure of their probing fingers. Patrick is already in use and replacing actors who used to perform this function for students (there’s no amount of money …).

God-like cyborgs are many years away (thank God!?) and the self-healing robots are still in development, so the droid derriere moves from the rear to the front of today’s robot news.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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