Robots are going to redefine Japan’s skylines

Construction sites are perfect examples of chaotic environments – a massive number of moving parts, unpredictable environmental conditions, hundreds of people – and there’s a very real risk of injury or even death for every human present. Automation therefore is highly complex, but the first steps are starting to be taken, with robots moving parts and materials to free up humans to work on the more challenging task of actually building.
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Japanese companies are turning to robots to help build their skyscrapers.

Trump’s electricity solution in search of a problem

Most power outages are due to failures in the transmission network (storms, broken power lines), not instability in supply. Making the move to newer, cleaner energy solutions is going to be difficult and take time – and cause pain for those involved. But that's not a good reason to prop up old, dirty, under-utilized coal and nuclear plants with subsidies or tricks. Let the newer "old fuel" plants provide the resilience needed, and replace the even older dirty capacity with newer, cleaner energy.
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There’s not a lot of evidence behind his laser focus on coal and nuclear power.

Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots

I'd love to have a robot butler. Previous attempts have been hilariously unsuccessful – so i'm not holding my breath – but the goal is certainly worth chasing.
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Ten years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device. Four years ago, Jeff Bezos and company rolled out the Echo, prompting millions of people to…

Einstein, Darwin and the two-hour genius rule

Find yourself snowed under with no time to come up with your next big idea? Most of us come back from holidays refreshed and with new goals and objectives – but how do we achieve that level of innovative ideation on a more regular basis? Make time – two hours a week, locked away from distraction, could be enough. This article includes some tips on getting started.
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Zat Rana looks at the trait shared by Einstein, Darwin and Nietzsche – taking the time to pause and think.

Artificial intelligence could be our saviour, according to the CEO of Google

“AI is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire,” Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said at Davos said. “Any time you work with technology, you need to learn to harness the benefits while minimising the downsides.”
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The technology could eliminate many of the constraints we now face, he said.

Uber Makes Peace With Cities by Spilling Its Secrets

As more and more services compete for valuable kerb space (deliveries, ride shares, taxis, emergency vehicles), having a common framework, platform, and language to share valuable data on utilisation and timings can help city planners optimise rules and maximise value, ensuring they do this without compromising customer confidentiality (does the city need to know who is getting out in front of the health clinic, or just that it’s a busy place?) https://rob.al/2K5bkr0
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The ride-hailing company is working with DC to share data—and the much coveted curb.

If we weren’t the first industrial civilization on Earth, would we ever know?

A fascinating insight – what traces would be left of a civilisation which died out 4 million years ago? Certainly nothing on the surface (the oldest is only 1.8m years), and fossils are incredibly rare (only a few thousand dinosaur fossils exist despite their 180m year existence) – but what about chemical traces? https://rob.al/2K3Qjwz
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Fossils and objects are unlikely to survive more than a few million years. Searching for chemical traces of industrialization offers an intriguing alternative.

Robots can assemble IKEA furniture

Assembling an Ikea chair in 20 minutes, rather than the 5 that a person takes, doesn’t seem like much of an advance. But while computers excel at trigonometry and logic games like chess, evolution’s billion year head start on interacting with the physical environment means that advances like this are drawing us (very) slowly closer to a world where robots can perform menial but unpredictable physical tasks.
https://rob.al/2F2tgPg
Cower before your silicon overlords, puny humans

Apple has revealed a new robot specifically to take apart and reuse iPhones

Apple’s new robot, Daisy (an upgraded version of a robot announced in 2016), can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, sorting the parts for reuse and recycling, extracting parts which traditional recyclers are unable to safely or cost effectively remove.
https://rob.al/2HOCTnO
Apple has created a new robot – not for building products, but for ripping iPhones apart. The robot, named Daisy, can take nine different iPhones models apart and extract the important parts of them,…

Blockchain Is About to Revolutionize the Shipping Industry

The move to paperless movement of goods in these extraordinarily complex logistics chains has the potential to unlock massive benefits, reducing the cost of movements, by shortening the time it takes for goods to cross checkpoints and borders – an example 32 day journey of perishable goods could be completed in 20.
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Globalization has brought the most advanced trading networks the world has seen, with the biggest, fastest vessels, robot-operated ports and vast computer databases tracking cargoes. But it all still…