Friday, May 8, 2015

Brobot, can you spare a spine?

Milton Friedman famously wanted to replace monetary policy makers with a computer, at least the Japanese can help with the heavy lifting;
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., the core banking unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., said Thursday it has rented eight robotic suits developed by Japanese robotic maker Cyberdyne Inc. to ease the burden on the employees delivering cash. The bank says that would be a first among Japanese financial institutions.
“There have been many cases when a physical burden was placed on senior employees carrying heavy parcels of bank notes and coins. By adopting Cyberdyne’s robotic suits, we can help reduce that burden,” said Tomoyuki Narita, a spokesman at SMBC, Japan’s second-largest bank by assets after Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
In aging Japan, many of the bank's employees are over 65.
...the Hybrid Assistive Limb or HAL suit could reduce the burden of carrying a heavy object by about 40%, so that carrying a 10-kilogram [22 lbs] container of bank notes and coins would feel like six kilograms.
Interviewer: In talking to the computer one gets the sense that he is capable of emotional responses. For example, when I asked him about his abilities, I sensed a certain pride in his answer about his accuracy and perfection. Do you believe that HAL has genuine emotions?
Dave Bowman: Well, he acts like he has genuine emotions. Um, of course he's programmed that way to make it easier for us to talk to him. But as to whether he has real feelings is something I don't think anyone can truthfully answer.
Greed? Will Kshama Sawant be able to organize them?

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