A couple of fairly amazing things have turned up recently…
One is the tube-robots at the end of this:
Which look pretty scary, until you see the alternative. This is a fairly good example of Machine Generations – and the rapidity of this type of evolution.
Sometimes… there used to be this urban legend back in the 80s “drag coefficient syndrome” where every year the new cars had a slightly lower drag-coefficient. One year it would be .45, next year it would be .43… and the story was, that if they wanted, the car manufacturers could go straight to .02, but they were milking every generation for all it was worth. I’ve heard a similar thing about various other technologies. I’m not sure it it’s true – but the car market has seemed kindof stagnant to me for a long time.
I think maybe this is why the organisms in a competitive ecosystem need to be small, for the benefits of competition to be available to a higher level of organisation. I bet that if instead of having 3 big car manufacturers, the US had 3000 small ones, the levels of innovation would be a lot higher.
Here’s another thing that’s turned up recently… a robot that can automatically send a needle to a piece of shrapnel. What it does when it gets there I don’t know… but a fair number of blogs have talked about it, without a photo. Here’s the photo.
Which looks pretty scary as well if you ask me… medieval almost – but then again, the alternative?