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Monday, July 07, 2008

Random Thoughts: In Science We Believe

Brigham Young University is a private religious university. It is certainly an interesting experience for me, a non-LDS member, to attend the school. This article is an assignment from one of the classes I took, Computability and Complexity Theory, which is the only required course for PhD students. In this class, we learned about undecidability and incompleteness. And the professor asked us to write an article discussing how undecidability and incompleteness relate to our religious beliefs. Being almost an atheist (I used the term "almost" here because I can't prove the non-existense of supernature beings, therefore I can't completely deny it), I came up with the following article:

In Science We Believe
How undecidability and incompleteness
relate to an atheist’s view of the world

"An atheist is a person that disbelieves the existence of God or gods."


“Being an atheist, what is your belief?” When Dr. Jones asked me the question on our walk back to the Talmage building from class, my immediate response was that an atheist does not have a belief. But after I pondered upon this question more in the next several days, my thought became clearer. Although atheists do not believe in the existence of divine beings, we still believe in something. We believe in Science.

Science is imperfect. The history of science has proved that many times. Again and again, by correcting our mistakes we make great breakthroughs in the advancement of science. Science gives us a way to understand the world we live in, and gives us confidence (to a certain degree) to live in the world.

There are many different religions in the world, many ofwhom I have very limited or no knowledge about, that’s why I’ll focus our discussion in this paper to the religions I know, and in most cases, I’ll only discuss religions that are monotheisms.

So the first question you want to ask me is probably, “Why don’t you believe in the existence of God?” I guess my answer would be, “Because I do not believe in the existence of a perfect being with infinite power and wisdom, who has the ultimate control of the universe and never make any mistakes.” When I try to understand the world, I will first use our existing knowledge of science to reason, and when our knowledge is incomplete and the subject is undecidable I try to hypothesize using the current knowledge we have, and I remain skeptical about different hypotheses. I believe that as science advances further along, subjects that are undecidable and knowledge that is incomplete at the current time will eventually be explainable by science.

A. The Power of Prayers

Let’s consider the following story: Somewhere in the ancient times, two armies of soldiers were engaging in a fierce battle in the middle of the day. One side had much fewer soldiers and all of them would die if the battle continued. Desperate, the leader of the losing side knelt down on his knees and prayed to God for help. Within minutes, the blazing sun darkened and eventually disappeared as if night had fallen. Frightened by this “divine intervention,” the winning army stopped fighting and all knelt down in fear. By then, the sun reappeared in the sky and soon resumed its brightness. Shaken, the leader of the winning army promised to never fight the losing army again, thus, soldiers from the losing side avoided their fatal destiny.

If we ask any person in our class, he or she would easily conclude that an eclipse had happened in the middle of the battle. But for the soldiers in the story, they had no knowledge about such astronomical phenomenon, and being faithful Christians, they believed they had just witnessed a miracle performed by God answering to the prayer. So here is a very interesting question to ask: “Did God really answer the prayer and made the eclipse happen?” We’ll never know the answer. Even believers tend to think that this was not God’s answer to a prayer, but it is still possible that God foretold the event and planned the eclipse when he first created the universe, if and only if he does exist. To the losing army leader, the faithful Christian, this was definitely God’s answer to his prayer and this event will only strengthen his belief in God. But being an atheist, I tend to follow the scientific analysis and believe that the eclipse just happened to happen at the time, and the two things are unrelated.

Now let’s look at another example. In Masaru Emoto’s book The Message from Water, he showed some very interesting pictures from his experiments. I must admit that I cannot assure you the authenticity of these experiments, but that is irrelevant in this case and we can assume the experiment results are valid. The picture in Figure 1 shows crystal of water that have been exposed with a playing of Kawachi Folk Dance Song; the picture in Figure 2 shows crystal of water that have been exposed with a playing of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” When we look at the differences, we tend to think that the change of structure probably had something to do with the vibration created by the music, because we know sounds are energy waves. It’s all about science. Now let’s look at another two pictures. The picture in Figure 3 shows water crystal of Fujiwara Dam before offering a prayer, and the picture in Figure 4 shows water crystal of Fujiwara Dam after offering a prayer. So how did a prayer affect the structure of the water? Human languages do not follow a very clear and regular sound pattern like music does, therefore it was probably not the sound waves from the prayer that made the change. I don’t know how a believer would try to explain this phenomenon, but as an atheist, I tend to try following the same logic and deduct a hypothesis such as maybe the prayer helpedrelease a certain type of harmonious energy from the human body, which changed the structure of the water. And maybe in the first case, it wasn’t the sound waves from the music that changed the structure of the water but rather the same type of energy emitted by human subjects who were present at the experiment. Because I believe in science, I can try to understand the undecidable subject using logic or deduction from existing knowledge. To extend the subject a little further, following the same logic, I could hypothesize that if ghosts, spirits, or souls do exist, it is possible that these things are also different forms of energy emitted from human body, but I’d be very skeptical about whether they will go to heaven or hell.

Fig. 1. Crystal of water that have been exposed with a playing of Kawachi Folk Dance Song

Fig. 2. Crystal of water that have been exposed with a playing of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”

Fig. 3. Water crystal of Fujiwara Dam before offering a prayer

Fig. 4. Water crystal of Fujiwara Dam after offering a prayer

B. The Origin of Life

How did life originate on earth? This is a question many asked and many attempted at answering, resulting in many different theories. One theory hypothesizes that under a very specific natural environment, out of great randomness, certain chemicals reacted with certain other chemicals and wow, there was life from non-life, and this happened between 3.9 to 3.5 billion years ago. Another theory hypothesizes that earth life may have originated from “primitive” extraterrestrial life. These “primitive” life forms evolved in earth environment and eventually evolved into homosapien beings. The Bible states that God created life (the foundation for creationism) and God also created human (Adam and Eve being the first two) in his own image. Ancient Chinese mythology told the story of how the Goddess Nu-Wa created human beings out of earth in her own image (while a different God created the plants and animals). Being an atheist, I tend to agree more with the more scientific theories, and out of the Random Origin Theory and the “Primitive” Extraterrestrial Life theory, I lean more toward the later. And my reasoning relates to my current understanding of the universe. Since the universe is infinitely large and has always been there, it is also possible for life to always have existed (just like non-life materials). And with so many meteorites visiting earth since the beginning of earth, it is possible that life could have been brought along from other planets. It is also possible that primitive life forms were accidentally left on earth when extraterrestrial beings visited earth in spaceships. As an atheist, I don’t blindly believe or deny any one of the theories; I remain skeptical about each one of them. But because of my belief in science, I tend to believe more in the scientific theories.


Because our current understanding of science is imperfect, some scientific laws or theories we currently believe are true might turn out to be flawed or false, and when I try to reason using such false or flawed knowledge it will lead to false or flawed conclusions. For example, if I were born in 100 B.C., I would have believed that earth is flat, which we all know is clearly false. But I also believe that the flaws or errors in science will, one day, be corrected, and at that time, I would be able to understand the world more accurately. This room for correction in my belief system allows my belief to evolve. Sowith many undecidable subjects and incomplete knowledge, I believe as science advances, one day we will be able to understand and explain the subjects that seem to be unnatural or mysterious to us today. It might take a long time to get there, but as long as human race survives (especially surviving from possible self-destruction), we will get there.


Even though I am a perfectionist, it is just so difficult for me to imagine the existence of a perfect being. It is easier for me to believe Aliens created earth life environment (maybe in an experiment) than to believe God did it, because Aliens can make mistakes, they might be mortal, they use science/technology to manipulate matter, and they didn’t create the universe.

I guess the main difference between an atheist and a religious believer is that the believer makes the faith leap of believing without the proof, and an atheist will not believe without the proof. So if in the future science advances enough to let us have enough knowledge to prove the existence of God, then all atheists will also become believers. Before then, an atheist will remain skeptical.


In this paper I explained how I view the world from an atheist’s view when it is relating to undecidability and incompleteness. I hope I have not offended any believers and I hope the reader can get a better understanding of how an atheist reasons with undecidability and incompleteness. To summarize, an atheist believes in science and tries to reason with existing knowledge of the world. When existing knowledge is insufficient, he hypothesizes using scientific knowledge that is likely to relate. He doesn’t accept or deny any hypotheses and remain skeptical toward all of them, but he tends to believe more in theories that use science as the foundation because he could relate to it more easily. He also believes that as science advances on, one day, these undecidability and incompleteness can be reasoned and explained scientifically.

Taking grad level STAT class for a CS major is a stupid idea.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Robot of the Day: Robotic Flowers

Another make up post. When will I ever catch up?!

If you like decorating your rooms with flowers and plants but always "forget" to water your plants, why not consider having a robot watering your plants for you? Now here's an even better idea: why not just have robotic flowers and plants??!!

Chonnam National University in Korea has developed just the right solution for you: a robotic plant that emits oxygen, moisture, and aroma, and even dances to music (shown in the picture above). This 130cm tall and 40cm in diameter robot also knows how to greet you by bending toward you and bloom for you. It also reacts to light changes or even loud voices.

I tried to find more pictures or videos of this robotic flower but could not find any. There isn't any pricing or release date for retail products, either. I just hope it dances better than this one:

The idea of robotic flowers/plants is not new and researchers in US also developed various prototypes. The video below shows the robotic flowers designed by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal (MIT) that sway when a human hand is near and glow in beautiful bright colors.

Sena Clara Creston, an artist from New York City, built a robotic flower garden as one of her art projects. The video below shows some of the flowers she created. The next paragraph is direct quote from her statement about this project.

"Flower Garden is an interactive installation that detects and responds to the viewers' movements. The garden consists of about 20 paper-mâché and wire flowers each equipped with a distance sensor and arranged around a path for the viewer to walk through. Once the viewer gets within range the flower encloses its petals within its leaves. If the viewer remains in range the flower begins to shake making it appear to be nervous or frightened and if the viewer continues to approach, the flower responds by becoming aggressive, snapping it's petals and leaves open and shut. If the viewer steps out of range the flower seems to relax. It stops shaking and very slowly opens back up, exposing its petals. When the viewer enters the garden, the seemingly benign environment of fragile and vulnerable sculptures will have tuned into a mass of creatures fully expressing their aversion to the intrusion either by putting up their defenses, or in cases of extreme attack, becoming offensive. The viewer, realizing the impact they are having on the environment, will in turn react to the flowers, either choosing to hurry through the path causing as little disturbance as possible or embrace confrontation and continue to provoke the flowers."

I know these robotic flowers are supposed to represent timid fragile things that are nervous and frightened, but why do I always get this creepy feeling with monstrous man-eating creatures looming in my mind? Do you also get the feeling that they might just bite you, all of a sudden, like how this robot below is doing?

Frankly speaking, robotic flowers or plants that are for decorations only don't excite me that much. They are cool and cute (or creepy), but don't you wish it will do a bit something more for you, such as checking your emails for you?! Don't laugh! I didn't come up with this idea; someone else did, who even published a paper on this. Read my adviser's survey paper on Human Robot Interaction if you are interested.

Here's another idea. How about letting your robotic plant be your personal psychiatrist? Sega Toys actually came up with such a product named "Pekoppa" that will listen to your endless and meaningless ranting and react to it. (Disclaimer: I don't know Japaneses, so I have no idea what harm is done to the poor little robot!)

So, have you found the robotic flower/plant just right for you? I am still looking....

Rather than constantly worrying about the many things you have to get done, just start doing them one at a time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Paper Review: The Seven Ages of Information Retrieval (2)

This is a make up post! Continuing from previous post.

In this survey paper, the author used the analogy from Shakespeare’s seven ages of man to describe and predict the different stages in the evolution of the Information Retrieval (IR) systems. Note that the paper was written in 1996, which was very near to the beginning of the Internet/Dot Com booming era. At the current time of 2008, which is only two years away from the final stage of IR (2010) described by the author, we are certainly at an unfair advantage of being able to validate and criticize some of the predictions the author made, just as the author also had the same advantage over Vannevar Bush’s predictions at 1945.

The paper made good contribution to the field by describing the history of the IR systems from 1945 to 1996 with abundant information on the various technologies developed, IR systems built, and how they affected the research in IR. The paper is especially well organized and easy to understand. It started by introducing Bush’s predictions and also ended with the confirmation that Bush’s predictions will be achieved in one lifetime. This made the paper complete. The author also used comparing the simple statistical approach to more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach as a main thread throughout the different ages, which connected the seven ages well.

However, the paper also has some shortcomings. Firstly, AI is a big field that also used probabilistic/Bayesian methods all over the many subfields. There is not really a clear cut between AI and IR. For example, Natural Language Processing (NLP) is commonly considered a subfield in AI, but many NLP techniques are also the same as IR techniques.

Secondly, the author did not provide enough coverage for the AI side of the story, probably because he considered himself one in the IR camp. For example, Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) started around 1975, and Backpropagation (a form of ANN) gained its recognition in 1986 (itself actually dated in 1974). ANN can be used to detect patterns in text documents and is a great tool for IR, but was never mentioned in the paper. Another example is computer vision. The field of computer vision started in the 1970s and by 1995, many algorithms have been developed to analyze image contents. The paper didn’t mention any existing computer vision algorithms/techniques. Support Vector Machine (SVM), another great tool for IR, also came out in 1996, but I suspect it came out after the author wrote this paper.

The paper also failed to mention many important IR techniques such as td-idf, discriminant function. Specifically, it did not cover in enough depth with respect to evaluation methods such as K-L divergence, F1-Measure etc. More coverage of techniques/methods like these would have improved the quality of the survey paper.

Additionally, some of the graphs (Figure 4, 5, 9) in the paper do not contribute much to the content of the paper. Adding more information to these graphs to show correlation of things, or combining these graphs would be more beneficial to the readers.

In the latter part of the paper, the author made predictions about the possible evolution of IR and also pointed out potential problems. Since we know how technology evolved from 1996 to 2008, I’ll address some of them here.
The author mentioned that there would be enough guidance companies on the Web to help serve each user, so the lack of any fundamental advances in knowledge organization will not matter. What do we do when we need to look for information online these days? We search using Google or Wikipedia, and most of the time, we are relatively happy with the search results. Google made it its mission to “organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful”. And the mission for Wikipedia is to “empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally”. This leads to an interesting idea: with the help of Google and Wikipedia, maybe we can make the Internet the “Expert System” or “Knowledge Database” and have agents learn from it directly.

The author also worried about commercial publishing on the Internet. These days, the music industry has made (probably was forced to) online distribution an integral part of its sales channel. The sale of e-books, although not mainstream, is slowly growing its market share, and various fancy e-book readers (e.g. the Amazon Kindle) are also getting better and making headlines. Google book search and Amazon’s book preview function are also getting more and more attention.

In the paper, the author cautioned about storage and transfer constraints in digital video. Thanks to even lower storage cost and many competing broadband service providers, today, a majority of Internet users have fast connections and use various streaming video websites such as (video contents provide by users), or (content provided by commercial content owner) to watch video online. Even Google ads these days contain video contents. The paper proposed that in the 2000s, more research is needed for image, audio, and video content extraction. He was right on. Even today extracting information out of abundant rich-multimedia content is still a very challenging problem for many researchers. Other than the traditional type of information media, now we also have new media such as Google Earth, where you can retrieve information from a hybrid of satellite images, regular maps, and street views (360 degrees), coupled with driving directions and estimated travel time.

In the retirement age of IR, the author predicted that “the central library buildings on campus have been reclaimed for other uses, as students access all the works they need from dormitory room computer”. I don’t think this will happen in two years. Libraries in universities still play very major roles for students and teachers, and university bookstores are still making huge profits off poor students. And one has to admit that holding a physical book in hand is a very different experience from reading a book online.

To reduce the amount of junks and cluttering on the Internet, the author suggested maybe anonymous posting should not be allowed on the Internet. This sounds so funny for modern day people when privacy is such a big concern, though this remains a big problem. Think about the trillions of documents out there with more and more rich-multimedia contents, plus the flourishing blogs, forums and social networks. Google suggested using page ratings by users which was not well greeted. I think we just have to rely on the advancement in AI and search engines to deal with it. Techniques such as taking consideration of user preferences and past history are certainly the right way to go.

The author further pointed out some potential problems such as illegal copying (pirating in today’s term), copyright law itself, difficulty for people to upload, legal liability and public policy debates restricting technological development and availability. These remain challenges for IR systems today (the word RIAA and peer-peer network suddenly emerged in my head for some reason!) and probably will take more than two years to resolve.

In my personal opinion, I think AI will start to play a leading role in IR in the following years and one day we will have true question answering type of information retrieval at the finger tip of every Internet user. This concludes my review of this paper! Thanks for reading it!

Listen to smart people.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Paper Review: The Seven Ages of Information Retrieval (1)

This is a make up post!

In these paper review series, I will summarize interesting papers I read in a non-technical way (as best as I can) and write my own opinions too. Since my research interest is in AI robotics, the papers I review will mostly relate to interesting topics. So this is a good way of reading about research ideas but not worry too much about the math involved. I will also provide links to the actual paper, so if you want, you can read the actual paper after reading my review.

The paper I review today talks about the history of Information Retrieval. How would this relate to robots? I will review the answer in my future posts, so stay tuned.

Here's the PDF link for the paper "The Seven Ages of Information Retrieval" by Michael Lesk. And here below is the first part of my review:

This paper uses Shakespeare’s concept of seven ages of man to describe/predict the evolution of Information Retrieval from 1945 to 2010. Throughout the paper, the author tried to compare two “competing” approaches to IR: simple statistical methods – statistics (Warren Weaver’s approach) and sophisticated information analysis – artificial intelligence (Vannevar Bush’s approach). Keep in mind that the paper was written in 1996, just at the beginning of the Internet/dot com boom. That gives us this unfair advantage of being able to criticize some of the predictions the author made (just as the author had the advantage in criticizing Bush’s predictions).

In the childhood stage of IR (1945-1955), people still worked with very old technology. Having no idea how technology completely changed people’s lives starting from the end of the century, Bush predicted about the evolution of IR. He believed that photographic inventions (such as ultramicrofiche) would have great impact on libraries and IR, which the author didn’t agree. Bush also predicted automatic typing from dictation and OCR, which was not quite achieved at 1996. However, his prediction about the capabilities of computer systems became reality in the 1960s. The 7.5TB/user storage he predicted was far from 1996’s reality. Bush predicted individual interfaces personalized to the user and people would search from notes before search in scientific papers, but not until after the 1970s, it was difficult to get information into computers. The first IR system was built in the 1950s, which used indexes and concordances.

In the schoolboy stage (1960s), the first large scale information systems were built. Computers can search indexes must better than human, which demanded more detailed indexing. However, indexing could also become too expensive, hence arose the idea of free-text searching, which eliminates the need for manual indexing. Objections pointed out that selecting the right words might not be the correct label for a given subject. One solution is official vocabularies. The idea of recall and precision also came out as methods for evaluating IR systems, and they showed that free-text indexing was as effective as manual indexing and much cheaper. New IR techniques such as relevance feedback, multi-lingual retrieval were invented. The 1960s also was the start of research into natural language question-answering, and AI researchers began building systems to retrieval actual answers instead of documents, which turned out to be fragile.

In the adulthood stage (1970s), development of computer typesetting, word processing and the availability of time-sharing systems allowed IR to mature into real systems. Some of the early large-scale systems include Dialog, Orbit, BRS, OCLC, and Lexis. The most important research progress was the rise of probabilistic information retrieval with techniques such as term frequency. On the AI side, the key subjects in the 1970s were speech recognition and the beginning of expert systems. AI researchers felt they were attacking more fundamental and complex problems and that there would be inherent limits in the IR string-searching approach. They built programs that mapped information into standard patterns, but these tend to operate off databases rather than text files. The IR camp felt the AI researchers did not do evaluated experiments, and in fact built only prototypes which were at grave risk of not generalizing.

In the maturity stage (1980s), more information was available in machine-readable form and kept that way. There was also an enormous increase in the number of databases available on the online systems. Online Public Access Catalog (OPACS) developed during this period and many current magazines and newspapers were now online. There was increasing interest in new kinds of retrieval methods such as sense disambiguation using machine-readable dictionaries and computational linguistics. These would all fall under the statistical kind of retrieval. Because of the size of large commercial systems, evaluation of IR became very difficult. The widespread use of CD-ROM was a key technology change, which fit well with traditional information publishing economics and developed into a real threat to the online systems. Meanwhile, the AI community continued expert systems and knowledge representation languages. However, later in the decade, the failure of expert systems to deliver on their initial promises caused a movement away from this area, which marked the “AI winter”.

In the mid-life crisis stage (1990s), another technology revolution came out, the Internet. What’s remarkable is not that everyone is accessing information, but that everyone is providing information on a free basis. This matches the model Bush forecasted where each user is organizing information of personal interest and trading this with others. Classification type search engines (such as Yahoo) also came out. Internet also became a standard medium for publishing. Another important technology was scanning, which lowered the cost or digitizing publications. The Federal government also started a Digital Library research initiative. However, there is still very large scatter in the performance of retrieval systems, not only by question but even over individual relevant documents within answer lists. The author didn’t mention how the AI side was during this period.

In the fulfillment stage (2000s), the author predicted how IR might evolve. He believed that more ordinary questions can be answered by reference to online materials rather than paper materials, new books are offered online and there are guidance companies on the web so that the lack of any fundamental advances in knowledge organization will not matter. He thought the area required more research was in the handling of images, sounds and video. It was noted that online publish won’t pose a problem for academic publishing, but will do for commercial publishing. He further discussed the dramatic storage requirements for video contents.

In the retirement stage (2010), the author forecasted that the basic job of conversion to machine-readable form is done and great deal of multimedia information will be available, which are as easy to deal with as text. Internationalism will become a major issue. As to research, work will focus on improving the systems and learn new ways to use the new IR systems. There might even be PhDs in probabilistic retrieval.

The author further pointed out some potential problems such as illegal copying (pirating in today’s terms), copyright law itself, abundance of junk and cluttering on the Internet, difficulty for people to upload, legal liability and public policy debates restricting technological development and availability. At the end, the author also expressed positive views that Bush’s dream will be achieved in one lifetime and the job of organizing information could have higher status in the very near future.

[To be continued....]

Bill Gates does the Robot!
(See hi res video at
(Rumor says no more Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates duo!)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Robot of the Day: Atom (Astroy Boy)

This is a make up post!

This is the first ever "Robot of the Day" blog post, and I just feel obligated to designate this "honor" to Atom (aka 阿童木, Astro Boy), a fictional robot character created in Japanese manga (动画) and television animation series in the 1950-60s, because the lovable, brave, and peace-loving Atom inspired a whole generation of kids, some of whom went on to become robotics researchers (me included). Some people even claim that Atom was the big reason why Japan is at the forefront of android development today! In a WIRED magazine article, "The 50 Best Robots Ever", Atom was ranked at #2 dispite being only a fictional character. Impressive!!

I still remember when I was just a little kid, the entire neighborhood of over 100 families shared one television set - a 14-inch color TV (this might give you some clues about how old I am), which was locked in an iron cabinet in a spacious openning by the neighbourhood. Every evening at around 6:30pm, people (mostly kids and some adults) would start taking spots in front of the TV cabinet with their small wooden stools. Of course, a good spot (close to the TV) might have required even earlier arrival. At exactly 7:00pm, the uncle in charge of the TV cabinet would unlock the cabinet and turn on the TV. As soon as the theme song started to play, the chaotic crowd would immediately quiet down and soon everyone was immersed in the adventures of a cute little robot named Atom. Ask anyone who was born in the 70s in China, he/she could probably still sing a few lines from the famous Atom theme song (see video below)....

The character Atom was created in 1952 as a comic character by Japanese comics artist, animator, producer and medical doctor, Osamu Tezuka (手冢治虫), who is often credited as "Father of Anima". The story was put on television in Japan from 1963 to 1966 and immediately achieved great success. The Atom series was remade in the 1980s as Shin Tetsuwan Atomu, which was also translated into English as the "Astory Boy" and broadcasted by NBC in the United States. The video below shows the opening theme for the English version of Astory Boy.

In the story, Atom was built by the head of the Ministry of Science on April 7, 2003, as a replacement for his son, who died in a car accident. Although Atom looked identical to his lost son, he soon realized that the little andriod was a failure because it was only a robot that doesn't grow or express human aesthetics. So he sold Atom to a circus. Professor Ochanomizu (茶水博士), the new head of the Ministry of Science, noticed Atom and managed to become his gardian. He also gave Atom seven special powers. Using these special powers, Atom fought crime, evil, and injustice.
  1. Jet engines under his feet for flying;
  2. Ability to speak 60 different languages;
  3. Ability to distinguish good and evil;
  4. 1,000 times more powerful hearing than human;
  5. Strong searchlights as his eyes;
  6. Ass cannon (later changed to finger machine gun in the new TV series)
  7. 100,000 horse power (later improved to 1 million horse power)
In the story Atom was born in 2003. It is already 2008 now and we are still far from able to create a robot of Atom's caliber. However, the story of Atom does paint a good picture of what we'd like to achieve with robotic technology. Specifically, I look forward to the day when robots and human can peacefully and happily live together under the same sky.

Interesting facts:
  • In real life April 7, 2003, a Japanese city officially registered Atom as an honor citizen and issued certification of citizenship.
  • In 2009, a feature film version of Astro Boy is scheduled to hit the theater screens.

When you have good thoughts or ideas, write it down before you forget.