Robots: Viral Success, but Practical Challenges Remain


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

Related Post Roulette

25 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Good to know that the dawn of Orion Pax is still a long way off.Report

    • There were quite a few things I read, but nothing that was solid enough to link too, that also brought up power source. You folks with better scientific minds than mine can expound on it, but seems there is a real issue with power when these things are working untethered. It was pointed out that these clips are always rather short and that is one reason, the portable power needs is not at a practical application level and these full sized models still need power tethers for all but relatively short periods of time.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        Running the software will be an almost marginal energy cost relative to powering high speed, high force/torque actuators. One reason I occasionally link to articles about artificial muscle fibers is because muscle is pretty efficient. What we have is strong enough, but the response and work times are still way too slow.

        Right now, unless the robot is vehicle sized, or toy sized, it can’t be untethered for long (excepting gliders or other simple machines).Report

        • I’ve read a few interesting things where it comes to not only robotics but also prosthetics where they can have high force/torque or a replication of “fast twitch” muscle but cannot seem to get both at the same time in a miniaturized form that is in a singular unit.

          The power thing is fascinating as a small, portable, highly powered and efficient unit like what would be needed in these humanoid robots has long been a dream of folks for a variety of reasons and application.Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    The SpotMini looks like the dogs in the ‘Metalhead’ episode of Black Mirror.

    Edit: Looking at the wikipedia page that was apparently intentional.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    This one’s for Jaybird:

    “Arrestee suffers fatal neck injury in Baltimore police van, sparking civil unrest. Several officers are indicted, put on trial for manslaughter, second-degree murder—but no convictions. Can they sue the prosecutor for malicious prosecution or defamation? No, says the Fourth Circuit; the prosecutor is entitled to absolute and statutory immunity.“
    From Volokh:

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      This won’t end up someplace good.

      This is why we need to teach history in addition to… whatever it is prosecutors learn.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        Does immunity get weaker or stronger?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          Immunity from what?


          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            The police are upset they have no repercussions from a government agent taking action against them because she was just doing her job. Which is often used BY the police to avoid repercussions. It usually works for them. Now it works against them. Will anything change?Report

            • Avatar Murali in reply to Kazzy says:

              I rarely get all religious on you guys, but can I say that there is something karmic about this?Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

              I fully expect the police union to lobby hard for addendum to the various law enforcement bill of rights to give them the ability to overcome the immunity of prosecutors.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                That’s one of the few things that won’t happen I don’t think. There’s Supreme Court precedent underlying the doctrine. Even if it was purely a statutory issue the police would be asking legislators to mess with the same laws and that protect them. Much as they love the cops I don’t think lawmakers or judges will sacrifice themselves.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

                That won’t stop Police Unions for lobbying for it.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

              I can easily see prosecutors starting to get tickets for various car problems.

              Going 46 in a 45.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

                Myself, I wouldn’t piss off prosecutors who can, at their discretion, if/when an arrest goes sideways, almost certainly force the department to put me on unpaid leave while things play themselves out in the courts for months. And possibly put me in prison for three-to-five for assault or worse.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

                The cops and the prosecutors starting to defect against each other is something that we could only *DREAM* of happening.

                (For what it’s worth, your scenario strikes me as likely to end up with a dead prosecutor that the cops can’t find any leads for.)Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

                Maybe just me, but that seems extremely short-sighted, especially in a state where ballot initiatives from municipal ordinances all the way up through state constitutional amendments are easy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

                that seems extremely short-sighted

                Yeah, well. Iterate the game a few times.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Michael Cain says:

                It won’t happen like that because the doctrines that protect both the police and the prosecutors are connected. Prosecutors have a special type of absolute immunity from civil liability for a decision to prosecute which I believe is what was at issue here but both police and prosecutors are protected by qualified immunity. The policy justifications for both are similar.

                Police and prosecutors aren’t on the same team the way its portrayed on something like Law and Order but they understand their common interests. Now I support more accountability for prosecutors. There’s entirely too little of it for the frequent Brady violations, strong-arming of defendants and witnesses, and use of obviously questionable evidence in our system.

                But there is no way under the current structure that police can attack prosecutorial immunity without directly attacking their own. It’ll never happen. If the police don’t like a particular prosecutor they’ll just put their weight behind someone who promises to be nicer to them in the next election.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

              …because she was just doing her job…

              We already give too much in the name of that to the police and they’re acting without time to reflect, gather info, and make a sensible choice.

              That prosecutor was arguably brining charges she couldn’t possibly prove with internally conflicting lines of logic (which implies she knew at least some of the six weren’t guilty).

              She seemed to be making political points rather than legal ones.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                She seemed to be making political points rather than legal ones.

                In this particular case, this is likely true. And it would be better for us all if there was a way to discourage frivolous or overkill prosecutions.

                “We need to do something”, “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming“, and “Would someone think about the children” are three of the most scary sentences in the English language.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming“

                I.e. “God wants it”.Report