when robots take your job: Electrical engineer Marshall Brain (also founder of How Stuff Works) thinks robots may put us out of work in the next 20 to 30 years. At the recent Singularity Summit, Brain claimed that the coming industrial revolution will probably realize the fear that the original Industrial Revolution didn't -- that a "second intelligent species" may be a disruptive technology, at least to the human economy. But he's not trying to hold back the coming tide. Brain suggests we restructure the economy before this happens to make it beneficial for all, humans and robots. For example, distribute the benefits of the revolution to every person via a US$25K-year stipend. (He's also proposed some other interesting ideas to remove "dysfunctional elements from the capitalistic system.")
when robots take your dog's job too!: GATech researcher hope to reduce the cost and availability problems in the service dog industry by designing a robot to handle those tasks. The researchers claim that there are never enough service dogs to go around, they cost about US$16K a piece, and it takes about two years to train them. Phase One of their research yielded a point-and-click laser the user can use to point out the object to be fetched. The robot dogs already respond to a range of verbal commands, so the initial prototype was built with off-the-shelf robotic parts with a custom manipulator that mimics a dog's mouth.