Farty's Fortunes

Monday, 19 November 2007

Visions of the Future...from the Past

Robotic Cars

DIESEL engine idling, Alice peers left, right, then straight at me. With her headlights on in the hazy morning, the imposing grey Ford van emits a loud beep, warning the world she is about to set off with no one at the wheel.

According to New Scientist, 17 November 2007, cars like Alice are a glimpse of the future.

Alice was developed for the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge, which aims to prove that cars will, one day, be able to navigate through a city autonamus automatous completely without human help.

"Robotic cars could become a feature of our cities, and maybe reduce road deaths too."

Reduce or increase? 1

Prison overcrowding

One way to deal with prison overcrowding and the shortage of organs for transplant would be to, er, kill two birds with one stone. Take one prisoner from Death Row, match his blood and tissue types to a deserving, dying (or simply rich and overfed?) hospital patient. Snip, slice, stitch, and Robert is your mother's brother.

Surely nobody would be that ghoulish?

Oh. Right. Nobody except a major government. And if China's doing it now, can the rest of the world be far behind? 2

Non-Lethal Weapons

TASER International, Inc. has recently unveiled the eXtended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP(tm)), which "incorporates wireless Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI) technology and is designed to be launched from a 12-gauge shotgun".3

Armed Robots

A company called...wait for it...IRobot, has announced a robot warrior called Sword. Don't worry, though. "The military insists it is not unleashing a mindless killing machine. A soldier must press the fire button."

And, as we all know, a soldier isn't a mindless killing machine. 4

Where will it all end? Or indeed, where did it all begin?

1Into The Shop, Ron Goulart, 1964.
2The Jigsaw Man, Larry Niven, 1967.
3Not quite 1960s Star Trek style phasers, but getting there.
4Talos, 300BC.


Jahooni said...

I so can tell you are a fan and maybe a student of " I Am Bossy", great post....

I shall comment once I get a good nights rest ;-)

Mr Farty said...

J - Oh! That was unintentional, it must have just rubbed off.