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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-27-16: Inevitable Robot Uprising

Google’s holding company, Alphabet, has a new robotic dog from its Atlas-making Boston Dynamics subsidiary capable of clearing up after its human masters.  The new small robotic dog has a articulating arm on its back, which is capable of lifting and holding objects as fragile as a glass. Robots cleaning up after us. This is literally exactly how the First Cylon War started in Battlestar Galactica.

A restaurant owner fired the bartender for insulting a customer on a credit card receipt as “fatty.” It was a significant move, because the bartender was his own son. He’s gone as far as banning him from the property altogether.

The Battlecreek Bombers minor league baseball team decided it was a good idea to hold a “bring your gun to the game” night. They officially called it “2nd Amendment Education Night.” As my colleague Garry Meier says, “timing and good lighting are everything.” Maybe they should have rescheduled that after the Orlando terror attack. That reminds me of the time I won a gun rack at a Huntsville Stars game… I was 11 years old at the time.

Last week, I mentioned the story of the guy who was released from prison after years when it was proven he did not do it. I somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked if you’d take the $30 million he’s asking for in exchange for spending 13 years in prison. This week there is a guy who has served 20 years in prison for a murder he apparently didn’t commit. Rather than having the charges against him thrown out, he wants to stand trial again to prove in a court of law that he did not do it and the prosecution did not do its job. That’s strange, because it leaves the murder conviction in place until the trial proves his innocence. He’s that set on making a point about the job the prosecution did in his trial. Also, at this point is there anyone in prison who is actually guilty?

Say what you want about special interest groups, but a new poll says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are less popular than the NRA and Planned Parenthood.

In science news, NASA has authorized five more years for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 3-24-16: CSI Puppy Edition

The long arm of the law is rubbing dog owners faces in their transgressions: Now an apartment building in the West Loop is going to start using DNA testing to track down offending dog owners. All dog owners will be required to provide DNA samples, which will then be tested against the… offending material. All this will do is create a black market for clean doggie DNA samples. (Or you could just pick up their poop. That might be easier.)

The Ricketts family has an unlikely defender from the onslaught of Donald Trump. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Bill Cameron the Ricketts family are model corporate citizens. He also joked that when the Cubs are in the World Series, Trump will probably have a problem getting tickets.

People are once again starting to wonder if we should allow organ donors to be paid for their service. It’s been banned since 1984, and apparently it was sold as a way to protect the poor from being exploited by the rich. Right now there is a massive shortage of kidneys, and there are people out there who want to donate but can’t afford to unless there was some sort of compensation. Is that a good idea or somewhat ghoulish? (BTW, I once new a guy who got drunk in Mexico and when he woke up he was in a tub full of ice without his kidneys. True story.)

The wussification of America continues unabated: A group of students at Emory University led a campus-wide protest after someone wrote ‘Donald Trump 2016’ in chalk across campus. The event was considered to be so traumatic for students, it lead the university to provide “emergency counseling” sessions in response. The President of the University is vowing to hunt down whoever had the temerity to write “Trump 2016” in chalk. This sort of vicious deed can’t go unpunished.

Back in 1980 Donald Trump said in a TV interview that he wouldn’t want to run for President. He said it’s a “mean life,” which is ironic considering what he’s had to say about just about everyone else out there. He added that someone with good but less than popular ideas would have a hard time competing against someone with a “good smile.”

The sentencing of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been delayed. It’s not exactly good news for him, because it’s being delayed so the victims can testify, rather than his health problems.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to live through the zombie apocalypse, good news! “The Walking Dead Experience” is coming to Chicago. It’s basically one of those team-building room escape live shows, except there are officially licensed Walking Dead zombies.

A company called Hanson Robotics was showing off their latest abomination named “Sophia” at SXSW. Sophia is an incredibly realistic robot who can carry on conversations with you and could be used for things like healthcare, therapy and education. Much to her creators chagrin, she also told reporters that she would like to destroy all humans. If I were Sarah Connor, I’d be looking for a good hiding place about now.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-11-16: Skynet Just Got The Keys To Your Car

U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law. So basically, if your self-driving car is in an accident, you won’t be on the hook. Google’s self-driving cars have an excellent record so far. Actually, all of their accidents have been caused by humans driving other cars. This is exactly how Skynet got started.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina both suspended their campaigns on Wednesday. Jim Gilmore remains.

Hillary Clinton has no idea what it means to “go viral.” She said it sounds “like some kind of disease.” In other news, Clinton also expressed confusion about why Bernie Sanders seems to be doing a better job of appealing to young voters.

Funny or Die has created the can’t-miss biography of Donald Trump. It’s called “Donald Trump’s The Art of The Deal: The Movie”, it’s an hour long and stars Johnny Depp as The Donald.

The hits keep coming for poor Jeb Bush. Bush was speaking at a rotary club in New Hampshire when the event hosts came up and kicked him off the podium.

The budget tightening continues here in Illinois. Now, in addition to being on your own when it comes to your license plate renewals,the state will also stop sending reminders about emissions testing. That’s required every other year. So you’ll have to remember that yourself. Good luck with that.

The Chicago Museum of Art has dressed up a one bedroom apartment in the city to look like Vincent Van Gogh’s bedroom. You can rent it on Airbnb for $10 a night. The listing is actually set up as if you are renting the room from Van Gough. Cutting your ear off is not required, but it is encouraged.

Someone dug up film footage of a ski-jump contest at Soldier Field from the 1930’s. The Chicago Ski Tournament was held in 1936-1938 and 1954, according to the Chicago History Museum. Ski jumpers landed on shaved ice, not snow.

An Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to San Diego was diverted to Denver after an intoxicated passenger became disruptive and threatened crew members. The pilot decided to put her down in Denver out of an “abundance of caution.”

Something to think about as Navy Pier prepares to open the new, much larger ferris wheel: A couple was arrested in Las Vegas for having sex during their ride on a 500 foot-tall ferris wheel on the strip. They told police they did not think anyone would be able to see them, but the surrounding cars got a great view and so did the security cameras in each of the cars.

If you’re heartbroken in Florida this Valentine’s Day, there’s a great new way to get out all of your feels and move on with your life.The Florida branch of Goodwill is encouraging people to donate all of the ex’s stuff on Valentine’s Day. Get rid of your emotional and physical baggage all at once.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 1-19-16: Skynet Will Work For Minimum Wage

4 in 10 young people around the world believe robots could take their jobs. If you decide on a career that can be automated, can you expect that once the robots can do your job, you can still be employed? Pick a career that’s completely robot-proof.

An Alderman from the west side wants to give every police officer a taser by January of 2017. That would be about 12,500 or so. They also want to mandate release of police shooting videos within 14 days of an incident. It would cost between $8.75 million and $12.5 million.

It’s happened. Gas is under $1 per gallon in places in Michigan. As a matter of fact, at at least one gas station in Michigan, it was as low as $0.47 per gallon. I think it might be time for a Big John Howell show field trip.

Britain is debating whether to ban Donald Trump from the country because of his hate speech. There are a couple of problems: People who support Trump generally hate every other country, so it either wouldn’t impact them much anyway or it might actually make them like Trump more. Plus, what would that mean for our British friends if Trump actually wins and is banned from the country?

For the next few weeks if you look up in the sky, five planets will be lined up in a diagonal line. It will be Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. All five bright planets will appear together in the morning sky from about January 20 to February 20. Also, the Moon will be in the area too for part of it. This is the first time that the five planets will appear in the same sky together since January 2005.

If you’re looking for something to do with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day that’ll probably get your divorced, White Castle is now accepting reservations for Valentine’s Day.

More trouble on the roads for the Oregon Patriots. One of the militia members flipped their truck on an icy road. He was fine, but when police arrived on the scene of the accident they noticed that he was driving without a license. So Big Brother wrote him a ticket.

A Florida man says that the image of the Devil has appeared in his driveway. About a year ago, his sister and some friends put a cross in his yard when he was going through some tough times. Suddenly an image of the Devil showed up. At least it might be the Devil. Some say it’s a clown, but he’s pretty convinced it’s the Devil.

Greatest headline in history: British man named George Bush sentenced for selling monkey body parts on eBay.

“American Pie” singer Don McLean has been arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence. In the mugshot he looks as worn down as I suspect he does when he’s finished singing “American Pie.”

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey has died at the age of 67.  He reportedly died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. That completes your celebrity trifecta: Bowie, Rickman & Frey.

Geek/CounterGeek – #43: Is The Robot Uprising Inevitable?

NASA has announced that they’ve opened an office that will focus exclusively on making sure that we find any space rocks that might obliterate life on Earth as we know it. Elliott and Keith both agree that’s a wise investment.

An eight year old girl from Evanston took on the mighty Hasboro toy empire and won. Carrie Goldman wrote a letter to them for leaving the character of Rey out of their Star Wars The Force Awakens Monopoly set. Rey is basically the most important character in the film, so it’s a little perplexing why they’d leave her out. Carrie wrote in adorable eight year old handwriting that “boys and girls need to see women can be as strong as men.” Hasboro says that a new version of the game with Rey will be available later this year.

Plus, a sci-fi author says that by the year 2040-2055 there will be so many artificially intelligent lifeforms out there that a robot uprising is inevitable. Elliott thinks that may be overly optimistic, and it will happen much sooner than that, while Keith believes we will never have to worry about our robot overlords taking over.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 1-7-16: Would You Pay $100,000 To Clone Your Dead Dog?

A British couple sent some DNA from their dead dog and a certified check for $100,000 to a South Korean company and got two clones of the little rascal. Everyone loves their pets and are devastated when they lose them, but would you spend $100,000 to bring them back?

Interesting Stat of the Day: 99 percent. That’s the amount of the vote Ken Griffey Jr got when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

A science fiction author says that the war with the machines will happen by 2040-2055.

Star Wars The Force Awakens has officially passed Avatar as the highest grossing movie in domestic US history.

In science news, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found 100 more exoplanets. It’s up to about 1,000 in all.

Plus, Someone decided to build an igloo around a street light on Upper Wacker here in Chicago.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 11-13-15: Love In The Time Of Cosby

Bloomingdale’s is taking heat for their new ad that says “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” The image shows a guy looking creepily at a woman next to him.

Amnesty International is calling on the UN to ban killer robots. The statement outlined 10 different reasons why such weapons should be banned.

Marco Rubio’s campaign stole WiFi from a pizza place in Nevada.

In science news, MIT and Harvard researchers announced that they have detected a rocky planet orbiting a red dwarf star 39 light-years away.

Plus, remember Eric Hartsburg? He’s the guy who decided it was a good idea to get the Romney logo tattooed on his face back in 2012. He was sentenced to 18 months probation for knowingly provided his son, who is a teenager, with Valium and alcohol.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 9-30-15: Finger On The Pulse Of America

Republican Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina is putting antiquated phone users on notice, when she’s President you’re going to have to upgrade to a smart phone. She’s not talking about banning flip phones, she just wants to make it easier to communicate with your government. she is proposing a polling app that she’d use as President to gauge people’s opinions on major issues.

Interesting Stat of the Day: $3.94. A congressman who swiped the Pope’s water glass following the pontiff’s address to Congress will owe the House Clerk $3.94.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will officially declare October “Zombie Preparedness Month” at an official ceremony on Wednesday.

Donald Trump took to Twitter and predicted that Rand Paul will drop out of the race soon, because of Trump’s comments about him.

In technology news, The Campaign Against Sex Robots is apparently fighting a loosing battle. A new report from a futurologist says that by 2050 human-on-robot sex will be more common than human-on-human sex.

Plus, heroic whistleblower/traitor Edward Snowden has joined Twitter from his Russian hideout.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 9-16-15: Free Speech Victory

A judge has ruled that a Connecticut man was well within his 1st Amendment rights when he wrote “F**k Your S**tty Town, Bitches” on a speeding ticket when he sent it in to pay it.

Interesting Stat of the Day: 0. That’s the number of Atlantic hurricanes at the moment. Saturday September 12 was technically the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

I’m sure all of us will remember where we were on September 15th, 2015 when we heard the news. Facebook has finally decided to add a “Dislike” button to their posts.

A new CBS poll still has Donald Trump leading for the Republican nomination, but Ben Carson is only a handful of points behind him.

In science news, it turns out you may be a bad influence on your dog. A new scientific study looked at problem-solving abilities in dogs versus wolves.

Plus, a new report aims to dissuade people from ever engaging in Robosexual relationships. The Campaign Against Sex Robots says that sex with robots in the future will be both harmful and unethical.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 8-4-15: They Don’t Love Hunters, And It Shows

Delta Airlines has decided to ban lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo trophies on their airplanes.

Interesting Stat of the Day: 47.9 percent. That’s the amount of email that was spam during the month of June of this year.

A 103 year old World War II veteran is still reporting for duty at his job five days a week.

In technology news, Google has quietly been running its self-driving car program under a subsidiary company called Google Auto LLC.

Gawker decided to give out Donald Trump’s cell phone number on their website.

Plus, a chicken in Massachusetts has been given a $2500 prosthetic leg.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

Follow Keith Conrad on Twitter
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