Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robots are Future Proof, All other computer based technologies are not

Here is the thing about building a robot (from scratch). Your robot is unique. It is a physical entity that is distinct and different from everything else. Even without the uniqueness (maybe you can make clones), it is still a "thing".   If it performs slowly or has defects, that makes it somewhat quaint.

I'm sitting here looking at my son's old Robosapien is from 2004. That is ancient technology.  But, if you put in some batteries and power it up it still turns heads and generates smiles.  This is not nostalgia at work. When we get flawlessly articulated robots existing pervasively in homes, it will be nostalgic.  Right now, however, it is still a minor marvel.

Internet/PC/Tablet/Phone software is notoriously non-future proof. This is why writing software is mostly an endeavor  that you must enjoy in the "here and now".  Once you are done, it is already on its way to obsolescence.

Embedded software is not as bad,  if your device is not cutting edge (e.g. Smartphones peripherals are short lived; Smoke alarms, washer/dryers, heart monitors are long lived).

I suspect that it is the physical nature of the robot that makes it future proof.  This may be why Biomorphic robots are more interesting to me than the ones with big brains.

There is also the appealing (to me) image of the lone hacker working in a dark, shadowy workshop focusing on getting the actuators to turn... just right...

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