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robots^2

The latest issue of Scientific American has a good article written by Bill Gates called "A Robot in Every Home", where he argues that robotics is poised to explode as an industry now:

A Robot in Every Home, by Bill Gates

"According to the International Federation of Robotics, about two million personal robots were in use around the world in 2004, and another seven million will be installed by 2008. In South Korea the Ministry of Information and Communication hopes to put a robot in every home there by 2013. The Japanese Robot Association predicts that by 2025, the personal robot industry will be worth more than $50 billion a year worldwide, compared with about $5 billion today."

Speaking of Bill Gates, I couldn't help but notice that he's the very first endorser listed on the back of Ray Kurzweil's latest book The Singularity is Near. From the back of the book (which my sister recently got for me for my birthday, although I haven't had time to read much of it yet):

"Ray Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations--transforming our lives in ways we can't imagine." - Bill Gates

The other endorsers on the back are Marvin Minsky of MIT, Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon, Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway), and Bill Joy (founder of Sun Microsystems). Joy is the only one who expresses dissent, although I think his view is just that the Singularity will be scary instead of all peachy as Ray assumes.

Also on the topic of robotics:

UK report says robots will have rights

“If we make conscious robots they would want to have rights and they probably should,” said Henrik Christensen, director of the Centre of Robotics and Intelligent Machines at the Georgia Institute of Technology

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