"Would you like to play a game?"
It has been a while since I've allowed my anti-robot paranoia to pervade these pages, but this latest development requires I speak up.
Currently, most industrial robots work on things that are more or less fixed in space. A welding or painting robot knows where to lay the stroke only through a consistent positioning & moving of the workpiece and perhaps a handful of on-board sensors. I like that, because that makes it harder for those robots to kill us. They could still swing their arms out to destroy us with a haymaker if we walk by them without looking, but in order for them to assault us with the business end of their arms—the part that technicians call the tool, and which I call the weapon—we would have to be somehow affixed to the assembly line.
Or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, for years the robot overlords at the University of Tokyo's Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have been working on sensor-equipped robots that can interact with objects in free space. In this video they show it interacting with a simple rubber ball, but it's not difficult to imagine the ball being a terrified human being trying only to flee:
How horrifying is that slo-mo? Did you see the first one, where the robot creepily raises its hands in victory after completing the task? Why have they programmed pride into the freaking thing, is that a good idea?
This second video shows us how the robot's combination of both visual and tactile sensors, doing some of the moves from the last video and some terrifying new ones, will enable it to destroy us. The robots here can wield sticks, freaking throw things with accuracy to disable us, and even use tweezers to pick up the solitary grains of rice they will feed us in captivity in order to break our spirits.
Another thing I didn't care for: At 0:20 in the video, the robot hand is clearly giving us the middle finger, but the presenters couldn't bother to pixelate it out.