Here is a multi-faceted story in the New York Times by John Markoff once again: A Robot with a Reassuring Touch. This story is interesting both because it motivates the need for robots that are deeply safe in close proximity with humans, and because the small employment example given in it suggests that the unskilled employees weren’t laid off, they were just taken to more highly skilled training sessions when Baxter became a success. The attentiveness to this detail is fascinating, particularly because it’s impossible to believe. If Baxter costs money, even $20,000, and saves no jobs, then just how is productivity so enhanced that companies will purchase it in spite of no decrease in overhead? A further mini-discussion revolves around the Emergency Stop, or E-Stop. Robots frequently have a big red button that, when twisted or pressed, shuts down a robot so it can do no further damage. Petrol stations have the same thing that shuts down pumps and lines to the underground tank in case of an above-ground fire. Rodney Brooks points out that we eventually need to wean ourselves off of assuming robots should always have E-stops. I think it would be a joy to sit down and try to understand, just when would this happen, and just how would be ensure that robots are safe enough to make this change justifiable?