What Did We Miss?

What Did We Miss? Bipedal robot runs a 5k

Every week, I go on WWAY News and give a comedic report on the weird or obscure news stories that need more attention. This week’s stories are:

  • A bipedal robot developed at Oregon State University is the first robot to complete a 5k.
  • Audi unveils a shapeshifting car that can extend 10 inches. 
  • Two new reality shows offer the winner a trip to the International Space Station.

 Watch “What Did We Miss?” on WWAY News every Thursday at 5:30 am and 7:30 pm. Watch earlier episodes here. 

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How goes it? I’m Wills Maxwell Jr. and this is “What Did We Miss?” Here I tell you the stories you might not have heard. Thus, proving I have value.

Cassie, a bipedal robot invented at Oregon State University has made history by becoming the first robot to run a 5K. Cassie ran 5 kilometers on OSU’s campus with just a single charge. Folks, next month makes it 5 years that I’ve been doing this segment and I have spent just as long telling you not to trust robots. Begging, the people who make robots to stop teaching them things. Stop teaching them how to run, stop teaching how to open doors, stop teaching them how to fire guns. No one hears me… and it is exhausting. So, I’m changing my tune. Robots are eventually going to be in charge of everything and I have 5 years worth of evidence that I wasn’t cool with that. So from now on, I’m stoked about all things robotic. Beginning with Cassie’s very impressive 5K time of 53 minutes. I mean, my 5K time is 35 minutes and I can’t stand up without grunting. Cassie taught itself how to run using a deep reinforcement learning algorithm. Deep reinforcement is a learning method that allows artificial intelligence to teach itself things like balance, skipping, walking up and down stairs. If a robot works long and hard enough, it will eventually have the same capability as a slinky. Robotics professor, Jonathan Hurst, says that one day walking robots will be as common to see as cars. Which means one day a walking robot will see a car and go “Well, what am I walking for?”

And now, a robot that drives a car. Audi has unveiled designs for a shapeshifting car. The skysphere is a self-driving car that can stretch itself out, expanding 10 inches from end-to-end. This is easily the most impressive car but the least impressive Transformer. When the car shifts into self-driving mode, the hood extends forward. The pedals and steering wheel fold themselves into the car. The  dashboard and the gear selector also disappear to give the driver-turned-passenger more room and this is the only image we have so you’re just going to have to imagine all that. The skysphere also comes with, this is true, blankets behind the driver’s seat, in case the driver wants to take a nap while the car drives itself. Folks, I can’t believe I have to say this… don’t sleep in your self-driving car. In fact, don’t even relax. Just sit up with your hands at 10 and 2, ready to catch that wheel.

Two new reality tv shows being developed both offer the same ultimate prize for the winner, Space… not like room, like outer space. “Space Hero” and Discovery Channel’s “Who Wants to be an Astronaut” will be competition shows where the winner gets a trip to the International Space Station. There’s no guarantee that NASA will have seats open for someone to go the space station but we’ll cross that Einstein-Rosen bridge when we get to it. If I may address the show producers. You guys are doing this wrong. You don’t send the winner to space. You send the *loser* to space. Banish them. Not just on this show, all reality shows. Kicked off “American Idol”? Space. Don’t make the cut on Chopped? Space. Was closest but you went over on “The Price is Right?”? Space.  Leave Earth to the winners… and apparently the robots. How crazy would it be if every episode of Survivor ended with Jeff Probst going “You have been voted off the island… By ‘island’ I mean Earth. Please put on your suit and make your way to the launchpad.” 

I’m Wills Maxwell Jr. and that’s what we missed.

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