Back to work folks!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060502/ap_on_sc/robot_challenge

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Yes, I just heard about the third DARPA GC from one of my students who saw it in the NYTimes today.
[RANT] Let's see. Should we just go back to work? Or should we estimate the cost to do this feat is what? at least $20 million or more for each serious entrant? for a $2 million dollar prize?
You have to think the feds are really enjoying that differential between what they paid last time and what they got, don't you? It's like a new form of taxes on the robotic community. Dole out a couple million, and soak up tens and tens of millions of blood sweat and tears right out of the robotics community individual's lives.
Maybe I'm looking at this wrong... Maybe I should try the same tactics... Maybe I should offer a $.03 prize for the guy who can bake a nice warm loaf of bread, made to my capricious change-on-the-fly standards, that pleases me most.
Suppose I'd get a couple dozen loaves offered up? Or would it be immediately obvious that the combined efforts of all involved far exceeded the value of the prize offered? Some how, I don't think amateur bakers would be as gullible as us robot guys. [/RANT]
[DIFFERENT RANT] Back to work folks? How about this for a twist. Let's get the government to go back to work doing what the law requires? Enforce the borders, and then see if there isn't a commercial demand for a robot that can do a job an American worker "doesn't want". Rather than run silly contests which drain the community, enforce the laws, and we'll suddenly find ourselves awash in research funds to make robotics to handle or assist in doing these jobs.
Illegal aliens are taking jobs: Low paying jobs perfect for robots. And thereby eliminating high paying jobs from us who enjoy building robots. [/RANT]
--
Randy M. Dumse

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So... I assume you won't be competing?
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No. But I will support my customers.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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Randy M. Dumse wrote:

I don't think you are viewing this right. Sure, I agree you have a point, but in the end, it may spawn new profitable industries and R&D in this country.

Like all contests, the prize usually isn't more than the investment to win, but winning and even making a good show, has benefits beyond the prize.

Yes, but, the robotic community can, hopefully, take what is learned and build on it and eventually make the next tech boom!

There are no jobs that the American worker doesn't want. That is an economic fallacy perpetuated by a political structure geared more towards corporations than workers. There are jobs that require greater pay to be worth doing. Allowing illegal workers to circumvent minimum wage and worker protection laws, not to mention economic realities, allows corporations to make greater profits and deny American workers legitimate work.

Actually, this is a great point. Have the corporations actually pay American labor what the job is actually worth, and you will see R&D investment into robotics to replace menial workers with technology. As long as illegals performing menial work is cheaper and more effective than progress, there will be no progress. The only reason why it is cheaper is because illegals circumvent a century of laws regulating the power of companies over workers.
At Denning Mobile Robotics, we were developing a robotic security guard. It was ambitious at the time, 1985ish. We were in talks with a BIG security company, and we were told point blank: it can't do much more than an unskilled guard, unskilled guards are minimum wage, and the robot costs more than the life insurance of a human guard. The cost of service life of a robot was more than cost of a menial guard.

Absolutely!!!
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Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, a very good book on this point. "From this aspect, therefore, the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
I have no doubt the contest may spawn new profitable industries. But this misses the point: they will be fewer, and less profitable, and more single vision, than the ones we would have made without the governmental interference.

I agree. Adam Smith pointed out how wages follow the desirability of the job.

Having just returned from Iowa farm land, my model when I made the statement was the invention of the tractor. We might never have had the explosion of productivity and prosperity on the farm, if we were still using ~1/7 horsepower humans we now do with 200 hp tractors.
Extending the idea to McCormick's reaper, a combine runs about a quarter million today. If you could have your itinerant farm worker harvesting as much while at low wages, just as in the case of Demming's security gaurd, the mechanical solution would not be taken.
While we don't usually think of a tractor or combine as a robot, it is none the less industrial-level automation, a mechanical assistant, that does an otherwise unpleasant, lower capacity human labor task. It's existance, and the prosperity it brings, is juxtaposed to low wages. In fact, the automation allows a higher wage to the farmer, whose labor would otherwise be no more productive than the itnerants he'd have to hire.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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On Tue, 2 May 2006 17:34:08 -0500, "Randy M. Dumse"

But why? Didn't someone finally WIN the one last year? <j/k>

You can look at it another way, the tens of millions of dollars aren't being just poured into some robot frame and software. Those who donate get their names prominently displayed, and really get "PR goodwill" if their entry wins. Think of it like NASCAR... okay, bad example, NASCAR has hundreds of millions of fans, whereas the DARPA challenge has literally hundreds of fans. But with the media coverage, there IS something to be gained when "such-and-such a college won" on a certain brand/model car as platform, with a computer based on a particular brand of processor, and added funding from Home Depot/Tide/whoever. As far as college admissions, I think it's an incredibly better idea to attract future students with "we were a winner/participant in last year's DARPA Challenge" than with "We were first in our division in NCAA Football the last five years."
Much of this money buys advertising and prestige that's hard to purchase any other way (outside of hiring the absolute best football coach alive).

Uh oh, I see a REALLY long off-topic thread coming on...

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You would think wouldn't you.
Apparently not. Thought this would be fresh meat to the lions. BTW, I don't think one of the major reasons robotics isn't commercially pursued more is really off-topic.
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Randy M. Dumse

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"Randy M. Dumse"

So what is the major reason in your opinion?
I don't think government plays a major role (except it is the major buyer of robotics in the US) on robotics being commercially pursued. IMHO, the major reason is that we haven't reached the "sweet spot" yet, where using robotics is cheaper than labor... we are heading to, but not there yet.
Cheers
Padu
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Your thread is "back to work folks" refering to a government "giveaway" which is intended to under reward the labor of the robotics community, or have more labor spent than the value of the reward given for it. Where some are over rewarded, and the rest go empty handed. That's not work. Work is where you get paid for your labor.
So let's talk about why more of us don't work in the robotics field. Haven't reached the "sweet spot" yet? Perhaps. But what controls the "sweet" in the "sweet spot".
Adam Smith tells us the basis for all value is human labor. Things that enhance human labor enhance its value, or you could say, they are economically viable.
So let's talk about one area where humans labor. They mow their lawn. If they value their time more than their money, the pay to have their lawn mowed. That makes an economic opportunity. If there is cheap foreign labor, depressed in value because of it being illegal, then the economics tips to that labor. On the other hand, if it were not available, the balance would tip to "mechanical" labor.
Every hear of Friendly Robotics? http://www.friendlyrobotics.com
So think what you see most often, do you see robotic mowers, running themselves, and employed robotics engineers saying how good their jobs at Friendly are? or beat up trucks full of illegals towing trailers with gas mowers?
The government is supposed to guard our borders, and protect the people. The lack of that protection, in this case, directly determines the economic "sweet spot" in making robotic mowers.
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Randy M. Dumse

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"Randy M. Dumse"

Explain that to my wife! :-)
Seriously now, I believe that many institutions already have a research line on this type of robotics. The competition is a bonus and an incentive. I believe that in many institutions, if there wasn't a GC, the money would be spent on related research no matter how, but I don't have any proof on that.

Well, what you consider "cheap" labor in your country, may considered a good life in another, otherwise the illegal immigrant wouldn't be here. If you advertise the good live, you have to expect people will come, legal or illegal.

Ohw, but the government is guarding your borders, the borders with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Turkey... and for guarding those borders, money is never an issue.
Cheers
Padu
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It is a good life in any country to get free housing, free food, free medical, free education, and get minimum wage.
Rich
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Indeed. Humans respond to incentives. You get more of what you reward. An interesting question might be why does one country have cheap labor and the other more dear, unless it is in the culture of the poeple themselves.
But here's the rub. In economics it's called substitution. In the market two closely related things effect each others price and demand. For instance, crude oil and oil shale. Both can produce fuel, and arguably there's more oil shale than oil, but oil is easier obtained. Now the example of Friendly Robotics mowers and cheap illegal laborers. Both mow. However, the availability of the lower priced and displaces demand for the other.
So Japan, with out a source of cheap illegal labor which just walks into the country uninvited, will be more inclinded to produce robotics, than the USA, because their human labor has a higher premium.
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In the late 1800's Tesla offered a solution...
A tower every 200 miles around the US border. I don't know how long the US/3rd world border is, but It cant be more than about 1000 miles?
These towers send bolts of lightning (high voltage arcs) up to 200 miles distance.
So, anybody trying to enter illegally would be zapped.
To keep it on topic, they could be controlled by computers with machine vision..
Those who try get fried.
Unfortunately, the cocaine from south america couldn't get here, and what are the politicians to snort when they have million dollar parties with hookers and limos? And habib aljabar (one of the guys who has infiltrated our govt) can't sneak his 1000 cousins into the USA... Closing the borders creates too many problems for the rich, and those on a mission to bring us to an end...
I wonder how long the next empire will last.
R
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one more episode of "Hijack this thread..."
Nothing against your off-topic discussion, but what about creating a thread that has a more descriptive subject?
Cheers
Padu
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

LOL...congratulations, you win the off topic prize of .0000984 cents, before taxes of course. ;-)
Shawn
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"Yes, I just heard about the third DARPA GC from one of my students who
saw it in the NYTimes today.
[RANT] Let's see. Should we just go back to work? Or should we estimate the cost to do this feat is what? at least $20 million or more for each serious entrant? for a $2 million dollar prize?
You have to think the feds are really enjoying that differential between what they paid last time and what they got, don't you? It's like a new form of taxes on the robotic community. Dole out a couple million, and soak up tens and tens of millions of blood sweat and tears right out of
the robotics community individual's lives.
Maybe I'm looking at this wrong... Maybe I should try the same tactics... Maybe I should offer a $.03 prize for the guy who can bake a
nice warm loaf of bread, made to my capricious change-on-the-fly standards, that pleases me most.
Suppose I'd get a couple dozen loaves offered up? Or would it be immediately obvious that the combined efforts of all involved far exceeded the value of the prize offered? Some how, I don't think amateur bakers would be as gullible as us robot guys. [/RANT]
[DIFFERENT RANT] Back to work folks? How about this for a twist. Let's get the government to go back to work doing what the law requires? Enforce the borders, and then see if there isn't a commercial demand for a robot that can do a job an American worker "doesn't want". Rather than run silly contests which drain the community, enforce the laws, and we'll suddenly find ourselves awash in research funds to make robotics to handle or assist in doing these jobs.
Illegal aliens are taking jobs: Low paying jobs perfect for robots. And
thereby eliminating high paying jobs from us who enjoy building robots.
[/RANT] -- Randy M. Dumse "
Well it looks like "the carrot approach" is a popular one.
How about a hydrogen powered robot so you win both prizes?
TMT
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060510/ap_on_sc/hydrogen_prize&printer=1 ;_ylt=AggZg4kUzEPeZP8J5yraJ5hxieAA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-
$10M Prize for Hydrogen Fuel Technology By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 24 minutes ago
Scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs will be able to vie for a grand prize of $10 million, and smaller prizes reaching millions of dollars, under House-passed legislation to encourage research into hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
Legislation creating the "H-Prize," modeled after the privately funded Ansari X Prize that resulted last year in the first privately developed manned rocket to reach space twice, passed the House Wednesday on a 416-6 vote. A companion bill is to be introduced in the Senate this week.
"This is an opportunity for a triple play," said bill sponsor Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., citing benefits to national security from reduced dependence on foreign oil, cleaner air from burning pollution-free hydrogen and new jobs. "If we can reinvent the car, imagine the jobs we can create."
"Perhaps the greatest role that the H-Prize may serve is in spurring the imagination of our most valuable resource, our youth," said co-sponsor Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.
The measure would award four prizes of up to $1 million every other year for technological advances in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization. One prize of up to $4 million would be awarded every second year for the creation of a working hydrogen vehicle prototype.
The grand prize, to be awarded within the next 10 years, would go for breakthrough technology.
"Prizes can draw out new ideas from scientists and engineers who may not be willing or able to participate in traditional government research and development programs, while encouraging them, rather than the taxpayer, to assume the risk," said Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.
Inglis said the Department of Energy would put together a private foundation to set up guidelines and requirements for the prizes. Anyone can participate, as long as the research is performed in the United States and the person, if employed by the government or a national lab, does the research on his own time.
He said the prize would not take away funds from any federal hydrogen programs, including the $1.7 billion hydrogen research program that President Bush first detailed in 2003.
The Energy Department announced earlier this year that it would provide $119 million in funding for research into hydrogen fuel cells, including $100 million over the next four years to projects to improve components of fuel cell systems.
Several automakers have made advances in hydrogen fuel cell technology or dual gas-hydrogen engines, but such vehicles are still very expensive and there's no viable infrastructure of fueling stations.
__
The bill is H.R. 5143
On the Net:
Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov /
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Yeah... Join that one. Send them your plans/ videos. Say good bye to your family because your ideas and you will soon "disappear".
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I hear that. Can you imagine how many enemies in the oil business you would make? Heck, Dick Cheney might want to take you on his next hunting trip for winning that. ;-)
Shawn
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