Beetle buildings vs. the Terminator – This week in the #RoboApoc

This is a semi-weekly feature that scours the internets for news of the Robot Apocalypse (#RoboApoc). I rate each item on a scale of 1 to Skynet

1. Handy Hank… the robot. As much as I love talking about robots I love dreaming about buildings. Buildings of all sorts. I’m especially interested in alternative buildings, odd buildings, rebel buildings. Thanks to the weirdos at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design, my two loves started dating in the form of a pavilion in the shape of a flying beetle. The building itself is not a robot (not yet) but it was built by a robot. Unlike humans, the robot can weave composite materials into structurally sound shapes.

#RoboApoc Rating – 5 While this innovation has the potential to put builders out of work, there still seems to be a bunch of human labor in the creative concepting, the design, and even the construction. And this building is just awesome. I am thinking about the potential to construct lightweight sustainable housing that could be used as we flea the coasts when the water rises, or even currently in disaster response situations. 

Terminator 2
Yeah, that is scary.

2. GOOGLE! This column could easily be called This week in the Google Apocalypse since the corporation is on a quest to acquire a scary amount of  robot and AI firms (seriously, Google is scary, have you read The Circle by Dave Eggers?- it’s like that).

So, this week in the Google robot apocalypse – Google, through Boston Dynamics and in collaboration with MIT,  is building Terminator 2 style shape shifting robots. The robots incorporate a phase-shifting material that can soften and harden at whim. What would you use such a robot for? Surgery? Search and rescue? Enslave the human race?

#RoboApoc Rating – Skynet. Duh.


Smart, sexy, and scared of robots.
Smart, sexy, and scared of robots.

3. Elon Musk is worried about AI. Elon Musk, the super smart international inventor and investor behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX is scared of advances in AI, so much so that he has invested in an AI company not to make money but to monitor the advances. This is a guy who is on the forefront of advanced technologies. This is a guy in the know. If people like him and Stephen Hawking are freaked out then I’m about to throw out my microwave and smart AC before they kill me.

#RoboApoc – Skynet. I said it last week,”When the captain of the ship says ‘I’m not so sure about that iceberg…’ you should start putting on your water wings.”


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