JNN 02 Feb 2015 Washington : An Artificial Intelligence pioneer is embracing the controversial idea of uploading the memories, thoughts and feelings of a living person into a computer to create a Mind Clone or “second self.” The prototype for this new self is called ‘Bina-48’.
Entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt has created a new robotic head that she hopes, one day in the future, humans will be able to upload their minds into. Bina-48 is named after Rothblatt’s real-life wife, Bina Aspen, and serves as a proof-of-concept for the futuristic idea. The robot version is designed to carry on a conversation, with scientists hoping that these mind clones could give human owners a sort of artificial afterlife.
“I believe Mind Clones will be humanity’s biggest invention. The market opportunity is limitless,” Rothblatt told Bloomberg News. “Ultimately – just like we all want a smart phone, we all want a social media account – we are all going to want a Mind Clone. It will make everything in our life more useful, more valuable. It will give us twice as much time to do everything.”
Bena-48 was created five years ago as a digital replica uploaded with Bina Aspen’s thoughts, memories and feelings – all of which were broken down into computer code to create a digital version of her consciousness. Created by Hanson Robotics, Bina-48 can engage in conversation, answer questions and even have “spontaneous” thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a “mindfile” created by the real Bina.
A similar mindfile is created when a person interacts on Twitter or Facebook and shares photos or blogs regularly – in essence, it’s a digital database of thoughts, memories, feelings and opinions. Mindware mimics the way the human brain supposedly organizes information, creates emotions and achieves self-awareness.
The proliferation of robots like Bina-48 may seem farfetched now, but Rothblatt is the woman who helped pioneered satellite radio as founder of Sirius and now oversees biotech innovation at United Therapeutics.
“Mind Clone is a digital copy of your mind outside of your body,” said Rothblatt. “I think Mind Clone will look like an avatar on the screen, talking, instead of a robot version. Mind Clones are 10-20 years away.”
“Am I talking about a law of physics here? Am I talking about defying gravity here? No. Am I talking about going faster than light? No. All I am doing here is talking about writing some good code.”
Companies such as eterni.me, Gordon Bell’s MyLifeBits, and Terasem’s Lifenaut are all pursuing Mind Clone to help a person’s personality, work and relationships survive after death.
Eterni.me is a proposed for-profit service that will reportedly offer immortality by creating “a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to your family and friends, even after you pass away.”
Industral uses of Robots , Replacing Humans at an alarming Rate
Cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing manufacturing labor costs down 16 percent, a report Tuesday said.
The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the world’s 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 percent to 3 percent a year now. The investment will pay off in lower costs and increased efficiency.
Robots will cut labor costs by 33 percent in South Korea, 25 percent in Japan, 24 percent in Canada and 22 percent in the United States and Taiwan. Only 10 percent of jobs that can be automated have already been taken by robots. By 2025, the machines will have more than 23 percent, Boston Consulting forecasts.
Robots are getting cheaper. The cost of owning and operating a robotic spot welder, for instance, has tumbled from $182,000 in 2005 to $133,000 last year, and will drop to $103,000 by 2025, Boston Consulting says.
And the new machines can do more things. Old robots could only operate in predictable environments. The newer ones use improved sensors to react to the unexpected.
In a separate report, RBC Global Asset Management notes that robots can be reprogrammed far faster and more efficiently than humans can be retrained when products are updated or replaced — a crucial advantage at a time when smartphones and other products quickly fade into obsolescence.
“As labor costs rise around the world, it is becoming increasingly critical that manufacturers rapidly take steps to improve their output per worker to stay competitive,” said Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting and co-author of the report. “Companies are finding that advances in robotics and other manufacturing technologies offer some of the best opportunities to sharply improve productivity.”
Boston Consulting studied 21 industries in 25 countries last year, interviewing experts and clients and consulting government and industry reports.
The rise of robots won’t be limited to developed countries with their aging, high-cost workforces. Even low-wage China will use robots to slash labor costs by 18 percent, Boston consulting predicts.
Increasing automation is likely to change the way companies evaluate where to open and expand factories. Boston Consulting expects that manufacturers will “no longer simply chase cheap labor.” Factories will employ fewer people, and those that remain are more likely to be highly skilled. That could lure more manufacturers back to the United States from lower-wage emerging market countries.