Robots Rising Discovery Chanel 9:00 pm Sunday EST

Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 15:07:21 -0500

You may want to watch this program on the Discovery Channel today at 9
I have not seen it, but here's a review from usenet:

Subject:      Re: Robots Rising Discovery Chanel 9:00 pm Sunday EST
From: (Richard Steven Walz)
Date:         1998/03/19
Message-ID:   <6eref5$>
References:   <> <6ep9ol$>
<> <6eq8qc$>
Organization: The Armory
Newsgroups:   comp.robotics.misc

In article <6eq8qc$>,
Mike <> wrote:
>I'll Go see if I can find it, I didn't really mean to make it sound like I
>was flaming BEAM, but that guys attitude about how the BEAM robot "reacted"
>to it's changing environment, I saw no real change in the robots behavior
>the way he did, It kept trying to do the same thing. I would like to maybe
>try a simple "BEAM bot" could be a nice change of pace......No programming.
>        Mike
My experiments with the "BEAM-type" neural-cores, as described in Mark
Tilden's patent, that I did 2 years back convinced me that it was basically
a chaotic process that a human could read "order" into, and that the
"problems" it "solved" were merely solved *BY* the trying of randomly
selected interference with a circulating trigger pulse train in a loop of
RC delay circuits, and that any random process would tend to LOOK
"organized" if it periodically accidentally did the "right thing", whereas
when it did the "wrong thing", it simply didn't suffer as much failure,
since the chance of a robot with its legs bent backwards "ratcheting"
itself "backwards" in an "anti-progress" direction were less than going
"forward", so it "LOOKS LIKE" it's solving a "problem"! But it doesn't
maintain that rhythm once "learned", and it only happens upon it again when
it is similarly challenged. That might look "purposeful" to you, but any
ratcheting device, when shaken, will go in one direction only!! The overall
principle has "SOMETHING" to do with Complex Adaptive Systems, and they're
cute as hell, but that's about all the "robotics" *I* happen to think is
truly in the design!! And as for the photo-charging-triggering circuit, it
is really rather an old concept used in relaxation oscillators from tubes
to UJT's!! It's now cheap and feasible, but there's nothing truly new at
all technically! I would hate to call Mark Tilden and Brosl Hosslacher at
LANL charlatans, but they don't seem to have explained much, and certainly
seem to have snowed the hell out of the producers of "Robots Rising" on
the Discovery Channel, aired on last weekend and due to be aired again this
weekend, leading off with the insipid old analog vs digital chestnut which
everybody knows is a fairytale who knows electronics and set theory!! They
spouted some genuine nonsense about the complexity being Sagan's and
Sagan's of times more promising than "nasty old binary digital", when they
have no more idea how it works or how to program it than they did when they
popularized it, it sure seems to me!! I see nothing "smarter" or "newer"
in his 'Robotic Jurassic Park' than was seen several years ago. I am having
trouble figuring out why he gets paid at all to do this stuff, or for how
long he might go on fooling people, without showing us what the heck the
grant money and Nationally Owned Facilities he has been using have netted
us, the taxpayers!! Los Alamos National Labs seems to think there's promise
there, but for the life of me I don't know why they think so!! Looks like a
hobby or artform to me! Now "ALife" at Santa fe Institute looks FAR more
promising, and the show gave it short shrift as to content or explanation.
I think they figured it wouldn't "hold an audience" if it all "happened
inside a computer's mind", which isn't true at all if you've seen the
motile evolution simulations in three space fluids and on a gravitic
surface!! It came up with most LIVING forms of motility in a startlingly
small number of generations! I have it on videotape off yet ANOTHER
special probably off Discovery Channel, which, if a bit underinformed, at
least has NEW stuff ONCE in a great while!! They need some advisors to tell
them what is really worthy of a hard look and what is overblown!! So what
ELSE is new for a bunch of journalistic film majors!! It's all sci-fi to
them anyway!!

-Steve Walz 
-Electronics Site!! 1000 Files/50 Dirs!!


--------------------------------------------------------------- Alexander Chislenko <> <> <> <> ---------------------------------------------------------------