Monday, 16 May 2011

Business: U.S. Robots

You'd think that discovering how memristor actually works would be a Technology post...

If you don't know what one is you can quickly pop over to this Wikipedia article, and even the BBC gave it a valiant and not entirely useless go. You may also find it baffling that it was the memristor's own discoverer, Dr Stan Williams, both then and now at Hewlett-Packard, who took more than 30 years to figure out how his own discovery does what it does. But that would be a Science post. What interests me here is the apparent parallel between how a neuron works and stores information and how a memristors "remembers" past current that has flown thought it. Can we be a, not so small, step closer to computers that can be called "brains" in their own right? Something not unlike the positronic brains envisioned by Isaac Asimov maybe? Is there someone out there already warming up for establishing a overshadow-them-all technology corporation of the kind of the U.S. Robots and mechanical Men? What would be the first mass market application? Will the vacuum cleaners finally be able to really get to all those hard to reach places? Or will the nurses finally have someone to take some of the burden off their hands? Or will it be, as it is usually with new technologies, the porn industry which will really push the boundaries of possible - and cheap (at least in the long run)? Whatever it is, I hope the mechanical engineers and designers are also busy coming up with believable humanoid robots. After all, while I do not need Audrey Hepburn to vacuum my dining room, and nor do I necessarily see a point in a mechanical lover (of any physique), I think the patients do deserve not to be scared to death with their carers.

Oh, and I sincerely hope the software will have nothing to do with Microsoft...