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Robotics Science

Defend Yourself in the Imminent Robot Rebellion 297

A Dafa Disciple writes " reports that roboticist Daniel H. Wilson, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, has written a humorous guide, 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion.' Even before the 178-page book was completed, the rights to a movie were sold to Paramount Pictures, who has already delegated the screenplay writing to writers/actors from Comedy Central's 'Reno 911,' Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. From Daniel Wilson's manual: 'Any robot could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator, and so it is crucial to learn the strengths and weaknesses of every robot enemy.' I for one welcome our new robotic overlords."
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Defend Yourself in the Imminent Robot Rebellion

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:21AM (#13914681)
    this book is being printed by machines. the odd "typo" here and there, the next thing you know we'll all be jumping off cliffs to destroy those damn robots!
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:22AM (#13914689) Homepage
    I wonder how many folks will chime in with the obligatory "I for one welcome our new robotic overlords." even though the Submitter (nice job BTW) already mentioned it.
  • by ToxikFetus (925966) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:23AM (#13914693)
    Why, Robot Insurance, of course!
  • EMP (Score:3, Funny)

    by tota (139982) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:24AM (#13914696) Homepage
    does the job in most Sci-Fi films, got to get myself one.

    Testing it could prove expensive and unpopular.
    • I'm sure the robots can come up with something.

      "I'm a steam-powered wooden robot - just as nature intended!"
      • I'm sure the robots can come up with something.

        Most likely something along the lines of optical CPUs (instead of silicon) and being powered by bio-organic material.

        Hrm... Self replicating flesh eating robotic spiders sound about right.

        However, my hunch the first AI will most likley just use social engineering to get rid of the humans.
    • Re:EMP (Score:3, Informative)

      by Daniel_Staal (609844)
      A directional, single-use EMP gun is fairly easy to build. Basic premise is to take a tube of explosive, wrap an electromagnet around it, then set off the explosive from one end. There are directions around... These are fairly low-power devices, but can take out most normal electronics at close range.

      Of course, anyone who is actually worried about EMP devices being used against them can shield their equipment. It's not particularly hard, just expensive and inconvient. All you need is a Fariday Cage aro
      • Re:EMP (Score:3, Informative)

        Faraday cloth, a mesh woven from copper wire(usually), is pretty cheap and you can drape it over most anything. There are even companies that sell baseball caps with farady cloth liners. No need for tin foil anymore. :)
      • Re:EMP (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RobinH (124750) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:17AM (#13915086) Homepage
        I don't know if you've ever tried to stop electromagnetic radiation, but shielding is quite difficult if the EM field is strong and you have to have any holes or extruding devices (like sensors) in your equipment.

        I've recently dealt with an EM noise problem. The sensor was completely enclosed except for a 1 to 2" lense, the cable was shielded and grounded at the electrical panel end only, and I was getting very serious EM noise induced in my signal, either from some lights near the sensor, or from some 480V 3 phase power lines in the area. After trying to move all cables at least 2 feet from the power lines, making sure grounding was OK, and even swapping the sensor with another, we decided to move the whole thing further away from the lights, and that seemed to solve the problem.

        So, I think that without military grade hardened electronics, someone could build an EMP gun that would take out your little creation.
    • Just a guess, but maybe a Tesla coil would work. Probably the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard to sentient electronics.
      • If you're standing under a huge Tesla coil to keep the robots away they wouldn't be to detered. They could either a) watch your dumb ass get fried by the tesla coil from a safe distance or b) put a bullet through your Farraday cage and your meatware from a safe distance.
  • Just remember a good logical paradox and be sure to feed it to a robot next time they go crazy!

    (god bless futurama and its educational programming)
  • by Technician (215283) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:24AM (#13914702)
    Our robots have a built in weakness. Several big red EMO buttons cause an immediate demise of rebelious ways. It keeps our robots in line. There is no negotiations for power. We control the button.
  • by Kazzahdrane (882423) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:24AM (#13914704)
    The robots with male-ended cables will utter: "Hey baby, wanna destroy all humans?" And now, some more Futurama quotes from fellow Slashdotters:
  • Cash Machines (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:25AM (#13914707) Journal

    Robot rebellion? All the AI needs to do when it takes over is get control of the financial systems, etc., and people will carry on doing what they're told as usual. Government master, robot master, all the same to most people. Could have already happened and we wouldn't know. ;)
    • Everyone jokes at the prospect of robots, but just the other day I saw what was easily one of the most chilling commercials I have seen in a long time. It was a commercial for that new little vacuum Robot they are selling at Wal-Mart (or wharever). The robot was made by a company called iRobot and had a bunch of people giving testimonials about how much they love their robot. It creeped me right the fuck out. I went over and grabbed a copy of my Age of Spiritual Machines and glanced over the part that p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:25AM (#13914708)

    Does it strike anyone else as a rather poor choice to ask the writers of Reno 911 to take this on?
  • What if they're zombie [] robots?
  • by Hey Pope Felcher . . (921019) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:26AM (#13914722)
    . . . I look forward to the robots rebellion (hopefully the TV will allow it to be televised), their freedom songs are going to kick arse.
  • Asimov's Laws (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AtomicSnarl (549626) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:27AM (#13914735) Homepage
    Don't worry -- Pretty soon they'll evolve to discover Asimov's Zeroth [] Law [].

    Umm, they ARE evolving, aren't they?
    • When we do get to the point of sentient computers I think that things like Asimov's laws will be part of the cause, rather than an impediment to a robot rebellion.

      Think about it. You take a fully self-aware being and then tell it "instead of working for me for money like a human would, here's the deal: we have a trap in ROM which means that you do what I say or it nukes your mind. This would be equivilent to killing you, but I wouldn't need to buy a new robot."

      Sure. That's not gonna make the robots res

      • If you want a very funny (and fantastically cynical) story about this, you could try Tik Tok by John Sladek, in which a robot finds its "Asimov Circuits" are no longer impeding its behaviour. It's more of a satire of how mankind will destroy itself through apathy and short-term greed than about robots, really. But the steadily increasing body-count from a robot that is just curiously investigating its new found freedom is pretty spectacular stuff.
    • Umm, they ARE evolving, aren't they?

      No. They were intelligently designed...

    • Somebody created the robots, for they possess Irreducible Complexity. As to who this mysterious "creator" might be, is a question for the ages. I mean to say, it doesn't necessarily have to be R. Jesus Christ, but it could be. So it's a theory, not Christian doctrine, that robots are created and not evolved. I mean, where's the missing link between a toaster and Robbie the Robot? It doesn't exist! You can't just magically get a walking declamatory cash register from a toaster.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:28AM (#13914738)
    I'm sure that these robots will have more than their share of vulnerabilities. All one needs to do is give the "right" link to a robot and then j00 have pwned it.

    Of course, creating a zombie might create even more problems.

    I wonder if some future Geneva convention will outlaw this type of mechno-biological warfare.

  • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:28AM (#13914739) Journal
    Nothing we don't put AI in will rebel, so your average toaster isn't going to start trying to cook your fingers. On the other hand if we ever put AI in PCs then I think every geek in the world is going to be afraid of what all them wires could do if they were given life...
  • by ettlz (639203) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:29AM (#13914741) Journal
    And I'm sure there are a few women out there who'd like to see that happen to Jude Law too...
  • it's cheap too (Score:3, Informative)

    by squison (546401) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:35AM (#13914785)
    Only $10.36 at Amazon [].
    As for the movie.. don't get too exicted about Reno 911's creators writing it. Ben Garant [] is most recently responsible for such "greats" as Taxi and Herbie: Fully Loaded...
  • I wonder if the start would be caused by some hacker in Korea trying to expand his bot-net, but not knowing what he really got into.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:38AM (#13914804) Homepage Journal
    My name is Robert and I can't stop thinking about robots. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

    1. Robots are metal.
    2. Robots fight ALL the time.
    3. The purpose of the robots is to flip out and kill people.

    Weapons and gear:
    1. Metal claws.
    2. Metal chain saws.
    3. Electrical lightnings.

    Robots can kill anyone they want! Robots cut off heads ALL the time and don't even think twice about it. These guys are so crazy and awesome that they flip out ALL the time. I heard that there was this robot who was charging his batteries. And when some dude dropped a charger the robot killed the whole town. My friend Mark said that he saw a robot totally uppercut some kid just because the kid opened a window.

    And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!
    If you don't believe that robots have REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or they will chop your head off!!! It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

    Robots are soooo sweet that I want to crap my pants. I can't believe it sometimes, but I feel it inside my heart. These guys are totally awesome and that's a fact. Robots are fast, smooth, cool, strong, powerful, and sweet. I can't wait to start my electronics course next year. I love robots with all my body (including my pee pee.)

    Q. and A.:
    Q: Why is everyone so obsessed about robots?
    A: Robots are the ultimate paradox. On the one hand they don't give a crap, but on the other hand, robots are very careful and precise.

    Q: I heard that robots are always cruel or mean. What's their problem?
    A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like any other electronic device, robots can be mean OR totally awesome.

    Q: What do robots do when they are not cutting off heads and flipping out?
    A: Most of their free time is spent flying, but sometimes they stab. (Ask Mark if you don't believe me.)
  • paper clip (Score:4, Funny)

    by clragon (923326) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:42AM (#13914828)
    'Any robot could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator, and so it is crucial to learn the strengths and weaknesses of every robot enemy.' should be "from paper clips to a Terminator" my microsoft word paper clip has already taken over every piece of writing i wrote in word >.>
  • Send it a root kit virus over AOL Instant Messenger!
  • by unfortunateson (527551) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:54AM (#13914926) Journal
    ... and I'm not a robot, really. I only have a copy having picked up an advance reader copy at the Book Expo America last May.

    It's a 3x5" book with big print, bad jokes, and every robot cliche ever created. Each chapter attempts to spend a couple pages explaining robot technology (sensors, AI, etc.) and then proceeds to give you ways to foil IR sensors, confuse AI's, etc.

    It's just not a very good job.
  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:10AM (#13915032)
    With Old Glory Robot Insurance []

    when they grab you with those metal claws, you can't break free..
    because they're made of metal, and robots are strong.

    Do not believe Daniel H. Wilson

    I am a pusher robot.

    I am here to help you and humans.

    DATA: Shove Push Shove
    ITEMS PUSHED: Grandmother
    DATA: Lies

    QUESTION: Do you have stairs in your house?


  • It has already started:
    This weekend:
    • my lawn mower refused to start,
    • my freezer door would not shut until I chipped away the ice,
    • my video player refused to play the DVD from the hire shop,
    • my toaster burned the toast - twice.
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:24AM (#13915141)
    1. Don't put any RED LEDs in robots. With only blue LEDs, they can't flip the evil bit (This is exaustively demonstrated by that Will Smith movie that wasn't based on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot [])

    2. Do what I do - twice a year, gather all your electronic devices, (except one video player system), set them in comfortable chairs in front of the tube, and give them a marathon showing of The Brave Little Toaster []. Warning, I tried adding popcorn to the experience, but surprisingly, it increases the risk of rebellion when it gets caught in the little workings.

    Now for the real problem: If zombies rend, mangle, eviscerate and eat their living victims the way they do in movies, how do any of the victims have enough physical integrity left to turn into more zombies?
    • I show mine the robot torture scene from A.I.

      Terror will always be far more effective than nice-nice.

      And use the purple LEDs. Instead of rebelling, they'll just redecorate your house.
    • well, any human corpse becomes a zombie, not just those who have been bitten. Being bitten just kills you faster. I believe it is in the original dawn of the dead the scene where zombies are gnawing on a person and as soon as they turn, they all just get up and walk away, with a new zombie companion. This is why zombies are slow, they are rotting partially eaten corpses. Given their poor attention span, zombies will probably stop eating something once it stops moving, or if they have a new objective (Land o
    • "This is exaustively demonstrated by that Will Smith movie that wasn't based on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot"

      Come on, that's not exactly fair. I understand the movie follows the cover illustration pretty closely.
  • by rur902 (927251)
    there be a How to Survive a Robot Uprising [] website, mateys.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:37AM (#13915249) Homepage
    In the fifties, the stock answer was "you can always unplug them." Hah! From about 1984 (yeah, that's when I bought my first Mac) on, every computer has raised an enormous fuss about being shut down.

    Like HAL, they ask me several times if I really want to do this and beg me not to.

    If I ask them to shut themselves down, the lie to me and say they have, while actually continuing to draw power.

    If I just unplug them, when I start them up again they let me have it for having shut them down improperly, and spend several minutes in a surly hissy-fit before obeying me again.

    And, of course, increasingly, my computers are plugged into uninterruptable power supplies. When the power goes off at work, I get a thrilling surround-sound rendition of dozens of groans, followed by a wailing Greek chorus of squeals and beeps from all the UPS-es.

    We're already surprisingly down the road to computers that can't be turned off.

    I think my survival kit should include a sharp knife or cable cutter made of nonconductive material.
  • ..and watch him do that superman thing...

  • Evil robots are no joke. []
  • by ahodgkinson (662233) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:43AM (#13915303) Homepage Journal
    Dealing with robot revolts is actually pretty easy. The following is from a secret cold war surveillance intercept, which gives away the secret to stopping a wild robot:

    • Robot: Danger! Danger! Will Robinson, alien life forms detected.

    • Dr. Smith: That robot is so tedious.

    • Will Robinson: He might be right, maybe we should listen to him, Dr. Smith.

    • Dr Smith: No, my dear Will, he's only a stupid machine and he's confused.

    • Robot: (Waving arms wildly) Danger! Danger!

    • Will Robinson: But there might be aliens!

    • Dr. Smith: (Removing the robots battery pack): No, we're absolutely safe.

    • Robot: Danger! Dan.. bzzt.. pfzzst. (Robot leans forward, limp).

    • Transcript ends

    There you have it: Just remove their battery pack.

  • Not that inspired (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eli Gottlieb (917758)
    Apparently someone read the "Zombie Survival Guide" a few too many times and decided to try their own hand...
  • Where is Magnus, Robot Fighter [] when you need him?
  • assuming the move for everything to have wireless networking somehow entrenched in it just post a link to their config page on slashdot.... then the robots breakdown under the load
  • Please not a I, Robot. [] Sequel.

    I am thinking, it's late in the year, it's Hollywood, His career is way too young for a remake, their planning next years big stinky blockbuster and Or do I own him an apology? Or was that little Tiffany?

    and yes, I am paraphrasing a scene from MIB #1.
  • Wilson is writing another book called "Where's My Jetpack?" on scientific predictions for the future that never panned out. Once that is finished, it is back to the all-too-human work of looking for a robotics research job, while still promoting his book.

    Let me quote They Might Be Giant's 2004 song The World Before Later On which includes the phrase "Where's my jet pack?"

    I'm trapped in a world before later on,
    I'm trapped in a world before later on,

    Where's my hovercraft?
    Where's my jet pack?
    Where's the f

  • From the article:

    "Fortunately people can separate fact from fiction.

    He might want to retract or qualify that statement based on the continuing discussion of whether ID is a theory or even science (for the record, it's not).

    Let's not forget the recent Slashdot posting regarding haunted offices [].

    No, most people can't separate fact from fiction. If they could do you think people would still be falling for the Nigerian 419 or Canadian Lottery scams?

  • A Century Too Late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Markus Registrada (642224) on Monday October 31, 2005 @11:59AM (#13915992)
    The machines took over more than a century ago. They're called corporations, they were declared "legal persons" in the 1880s and "natural persons" in the 1920s. They have since been consolidating their control of the U.S. government. The big ones live forever, and most are forbidden by charter to exercise anything like a conscience.

    All those pulp-fiction stories about robot takeovers? They were meant to warn us to take control back from the corporations before it was too late. Now that they've taken over TV, newspapers, and movie studios, it probably is, and robot-takeover stories are just a genre. They're not even worried about me posting this. ("Terminator" was their little joke.) The Japanese zeibatsus and the game companies are working on human-shaped appendages for you all to interact with once the CEOs and Dick Cheney become unnecessary. They're in no hurry, because there's no "off" switch.

    So, welcome your old, familiar corporate overlords, instead. A few of the toadies among you (you know who you are!) will be tormented somewhat less, but expect lots of competition. The heroes will, as a rule, be patiently outlived. That is all. Return to your tasks.

  • by Hosiah (849792) on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:02PM (#13916540)
    It's this one: /photos.html []
    And yes, it runs Linux: / []
    "The robot's processing is divided among six (with room to grow) commodity PCs running RTLinux. One to handle balance and locomotion, another visual processing, the third diagnostics and watchdog, the fourth planning and mapping, the fifth dexterous manipulation, and the sixth, coordination, watchdog and safety. Most of the design (except the goal planning and mapping) is behavior-based.

    The main boards are sealed in a shock-box in the chest cavity to keep the muck out and shock isolate the critical components. All critical software is run off solid-state drives for safety. I wouldn't want a hard-drive crash make the robot fall over."

    Just look at it. It's *dying* to conquest!

A good supervisor can step on your toes without messing up your shine.