For someone who works in a library, keeping up with emerging technology has always been an issue, from “How do you store Edison wax cylinders?” to “Should we replace our phonograph records with cassette tape?” to “Beta or VHS?” It’s always a question of information delivery. Books are easy. Give someone a book and let them read it. Media, digital resources, and networked services become much, much more complicated. There is also the problem of maintaining old technology, like keeping a microfilm reader going in the internet age when it’s darn hard to find lamps for them.
I resisted cell phones for a long time, but as they improved, became more powerful, and started taking over most web functions, the lure of the technology was irresistible. Smartphones change the whole information game in a huge way. It’s possible to be connected all the time with something you can carry in your pocket. The Internet has become an extension of our lives, and it’s interesting to watch the positives and negatives of this work out.
I’ve always been interested in robots (yeah, longtime science fiction reader) and had to study artificial intelligence in the UM Linguistics program. I try to keep up with developments in AI and robot technology, and with robots comes robot legislation. Several countries already have legislation covering robot liability and rights of robots. And let’s be honest, the robots are here. They don’t walk around, but they’re small and we can carry them easily. Our phones already fit the definition of personal robot.
So, have we already reached the point where web access is essential and not a luxury? A German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that Internet access is a crucial part of life for German citizens and ordered that a service provider must pay damages for disconnecting a user in error. Read the story here…….. and then you can tweet it!
Below: Photo of the ever-popular Sony AIBO robotic dog. The name AIBO is derived from the term Artificial Intelligence Robot. The robot is expensive to buy but displays an amazingly high level of artificial intelligence, learning new commands and tricks all while developing a personality of its own. AIBO can take photos, dance, read fortunes, play games, perform tricks with his ball and bone, beg, walk, run and even talk. Sadly Sony has discontinued production of these amazing robots but those who are lucky enough to own them can still enjoy the fun they offer.