Replacing humans with Teslabots isn't going to be an easy sell  

Replacing humans with Teslabots isn't going to be an easy sell  
The primary aim of Optimus is to eliminate dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks and is intended to be ‘friendly of course’. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 August 2021

Replacing humans with Teslabots isn't going to be an easy sell  

Replacing humans with Teslabots isn't going to be an easy sell  
  • The robots could do risky work, but need rules, says Saudi expert
  • Society and policy makers need to determine the rules that govern humanoid robots.

LONDON/JEDDAH: Elon Musk’s latest brainchild, a ‘friendly’ humanoid robot, sparked a social media frenzy following the announcement at his Tesla company’s AI day event last week. 

It has split fans and critics; those enthused by the technological advancement and those with Hollywood’s dystopian depictions of a world run by robots firmly rooted in their minds.

The latter never ends particularly well for humanity. In an ominous tone, Musk’s attempted assurances that the design would ensure a relatively slow, weak robot which ‘you can run away from’ may not assuage genuine fears of the impact the advancement of AI has on humanity.

YouTube co-founder, Chad Hurley, was skeptical the announcement was anything more than clever marketing by the Tesla CEO. He tweeted: “Hmm, autopilot still doesn’t work… how can we prop up the stock? Robots!”

The autopilot reference relates to the recent problems of Tesla’s autopilot partially automated driving systems in its cars. The U.S. authorities have begun an investigation covering hundreds of thousands of Tesla vehicles.

Chris Holm, scientist and author, took to Twitter to express his misgivings about the robot named Optimus. “Seems to me if you have to put a ‘it won’t murder you’ disclaimer on the announcement of your next big product, you’re already behind the eight-ball.”

Musk himself has in the past been vocal in his warnings that the proliferation of AI and its adoption by wider society would be akin to ‘summoning the devil’. 

He suggested that the pace at which AI would advance posed a ‘fundamental existential risk’. He is in good company here. The renowned English physicist Stephen Hawking remained fearful to the end that AI could ‘end mankind’ with the new form of life outperforming humans and destroying civilisation.

Dr. Mishaal Al-Harbi, chief operating officer at Riyadh-based Research Products Development, one of the leading robotics companies in the Kingdom and a support agency for developing R&D and commercializing academic research, said society and policy makers need to determine the rules that govern humanoid robots.

Researchers need to find ways to codify these rules into the AI that govern robots’ behavior and interactions with humans, he added.

“In terms of the humanoid, I remembered the famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, the Three Laws of Robotics that he introduced in his 1942 short story ‘The Runaround’ and those three rules basically addresses the rules for a robot in order to perform its duties or responsibilities without hurting humans,” Al-Harbi told Arab News.

The first rule is ‘a robot may not injure a human being or inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.’ 

“A robot must obey orders given to it by a human being except where such orders would conflict with the first law. The last rule is the robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first and the second one. This has been discussed in the 1940s but it still gives a basis basically of how much freedom we should give robots and AI,” he said.

The primary aim of Optimus is to eliminate dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks and is intended to be ‘friendly of course’. It will stand at 173cm tall and weigh 57 kilograms. 

Musk said the machine would be deliberately weak enough that most humans will be able to overpower it if needed. “You never know,” said Musk at the event. 

Al-Harbi explained that in future, Teslabots could conduct tasks that are too dangerous or risky for humans like search and rescues, or working in very hostile environments like mines.

 “There are a lot of areas where the robot can do a lot of good, but the challenge - this is something that also requires research and especially in AI -  is how can you allow the humanoids or robots to conduct their responsibilities within certain parameters and guidelines to prevent them from causing damage? 

“This is a technical issue, but also a philosophical issue that needs to be addressed in probably a separate track in AI research; how to enable this capability, to make sure that the robot does not do harm to others. I don’t see it as a threat, I see it as a challenge, and as long as people are working on this challenge then I believe a lot of good can come out of it,” he added.

While the announcement predictably also triggered a slew of memes across social media, TheVerge.com, a tech news site, went further suggesting the announcement was nothing more than pure theatrics from the flamboyant Tesla chief.

They described the announcement and stage antics of a dancer dressed as a robot as ‘a bizarre and brilliant bit of tomfoolery’ designed to mock Tesla’s critics and generate more publicity for the company.

At the earliest, it will be next year, when Musk said somewhat vaguely that he thought he’d “probably have a prototype,” before we have a better idea whether the entrepreneur was serious about the Teslabot or not.

Even if he wasn’t, others will be working on humanoid robots, and the rules Al-Harbi says we need will be required to apply to them as well.


Square Plans to Build New Bitcoin Mining System: Crypto wrap

Square Plans to Build New Bitcoin Mining System: Crypto wrap
Updated 17 sec ago

Square Plans to Build New Bitcoin Mining System: Crypto wrap

Square Plans to Build New Bitcoin Mining System: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: Following the latest report from the University of Cambridge showing that the US has the largest share of bitcoin mining in the world, the CEO of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey has announced that Square is considering building a bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon.

Dorsey has been a supporter of bitcoin for years, and recently made it clear that Square is in the midst of building a bitcoin hardware wallet in order to make bitcoin custody more mainstream, he also said that bitcoin will be a big part of Twitter’s future.

“Square is considering building a bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide,” Dorsey said. “If we do this, we’d follow our hardware wallet model: build in the open in collaboration with the community.”

ETF

As the first bitcoin futures ETF could begin trading as early as next week in the US, the owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban shared his thoughts on bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Cuban said in an interview with CNBC that he has no plans to invest in bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and sees no reason for him to invest in a bitcoin ETF, asserting that he can buy the cryptocurrency directly.

While futures-based bitcoin ETFs provide investors with some exposure to the crypto market without owning any actual currencies.

Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, explained: "The ETF price will not match the price of bitcoin. As such, it is likely better for short-term exposure than for buy and hold long-term investing.

Mexico won’t adopt bitcoin as legal tender

The President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has denied that there is any interest in adopting cryptocurrencies as legal tender in the country.

"No. We are not going to change in this aspect. We see fit to maintain the orthodoxy in managing finances. We are not going to try to innovate a lot in the financial system," he said.

Trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 0.12 percent to $60,928 at 5 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $3,857, down by 1.51 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

 


US digital asset firm Bakkt plans IPO

US digital asset firm Bakkt plans IPO
Updated 5 min 26 sec ago

US digital asset firm Bakkt plans IPO

US digital asset firm Bakkt plans IPO

RIYADH: US-based digital asset firm Bakkt will go public after completing its merger with global investment firm VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings.

Its shares will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and it will be called BKKT.

Approximately 85.1 percent of VPC Impact's shareholders voted to approve the business merger between the two companies at a general meeting held on Oct. 14. 


Petchem, banking shares push up Saudi stock market

Petchem, banking shares push up Saudi stock market
Updated 8 min 38 sec ago

Petchem, banking shares push up Saudi stock market

Petchem, banking shares push up Saudi stock market

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index on Sunday rose by 0.6 percent, after increases in banking, petrochemical and real estate stocks.

The index was up 74 points, closing at 11,773 points. 

Shares of ACWA Power, Petro Rabigh and Kayan traded heavily during the day.
Jabal Omar shares rose by 5.8 percent which jacked up the market. NCB shares followed the lead by moving up 1 percent, which is the highest closing since its listing on the stock market.
However, the major gainers on Sunday were MESC (6.6 percent), Petro Rabigh (6.2 percent), Jabal Omar (5.8 percent), Walaa (5.3 percent), and AlHokair Group (4.6 percent). 

Saudi Arabia’s parallel stock market index, Nomu, also gained 64.97 points, up by 0.27 percent and closed at 24,064.45 points. 


Saudi Arabia, Jordan agree to launch private airline

Saudi Arabia, Jordan agree to launch private airline
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi Arabia, Jordan agree to launch private airline

Saudi Arabia, Jordan agree to launch private airline

RIYADH: Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and Fly Aqaba on Sunday signed a joint Saudi-Jordanian investment agreement to establish a privately-owned airline with a capital of $20 million, Reuters reported quoting Petra.

The airline will be have its headquarters in the city of Aqaba.


Market’s ‘negative’ response to Saudi Building Code is temporary

Market’s ‘negative’ response to Saudi Building Code is temporary
Updated 17 October 2021

Market’s ‘negative’ response to Saudi Building Code is temporary

Market’s ‘negative’ response to Saudi Building Code is temporary

RIYADH: The recently amended and implemented Saudi Building Code has slowed down the market, but experts and stakeholders see this downturn as a transitory period.

Ali Al-Saif, CEO of Tabuk Cement Co., said the negative impact is temporary and once the sector overcomes teething issues, the new regulations will have a positive impact on the construction sector.

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Ministry amended the code last Friday to streamline the mechanism governing penalties against violators. It came into effect on Oct. 15, according to Umm Al-Qura newspaper. 

SBC National Committee General Secretary Saad bin Shuail told CNBC Arabia in an interview that the effective implementation of the amended code would guarantee the quality of buildings and construction work.