Society of Simulations

Interview: Jeremy Bailenson on his latest book “Experience on Demand”

Virtual reality has come a long way. Like most technological leaps, it’s had a huge push from the entertainment industry, but current applications span a wide range of social and academic fields. Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has just released his new book, Experience on Demand. We briefly spoke with him about some of the most game-changing applications of this fascinating medium – as well as the risks.

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Humane-Technology

On inhumane technology

Stick-on shoes, wakeup lights, bionic limbs: these are examples of humane technology. But what exactly does this mean? It can best be explained in contrast with its opposite. After all, the discussion of humane technology implies the preponderance of inhumane technology. So let’s take a deep dive into inhumane technology.

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Reprodutopia

This Chinese baby is born four years after their parent’s death

In March 2013, five days before Liu Xi and her husband Shen Jie were scheduled for the transplantation of one fertilized embryo into her womb, the young couple died in a car crash. Their untimely death thus put a definitive end to their prospect of building a family. The parents of the deceased couple, however, were not yet ready to give up the chance of having a grandchild that would not just carry the memories of its parents but also allow the family bloodline to be continued. Following a protracted legal battle both sets of parents won the rights over the four frozen embryos left by their late children.

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Wild Systems

The future infrastructure of the blockchain might be green and humane

The connection we share through the Internet has laid the foundation for a whole new digital infrastructure, in which blockchain technology is heralded by many believers for being the future of both our money and our internet infrastructure. However, the future of this technology and its applicability is not so certain as many blockchain evangelists will have you believe. This makes us wonder, how exactly are we going to build our collective and digital future? Can we make it less energy intensive, and bring back the human touch?

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Wild Systems

Future AI may hallucinate and get depressed — just like the rest of us

Scientists believe the introduction of a hormone-like system, such as the one found in the human brain, could give AI the ability to reason and make decisions like people do. Recent research indicates human emotion, to a certain extent, is the byproduct of learning. And that means machines may have to risk depression or worse if they ever want to think or feel.

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Next Nature

Here’s all you need to know about the future of the ECO Coin (and how it came about)

Today is Earth Day! This means that we think about the relationship between man, nature and technology, as technology is becoming a nature of its own. Acknowledged in 192 countries, Earth Day is among the most widely celebrated eco-events across the world. Today it focuses on creating awareness about our planet and demonstrating support for environmental protection.

Now, what have you done to protect the environment? Took the bike to work last week? Had a meat-free lunch? Tell us on Twitter using #ecocoin or drop us a line in the comments below, and you might earn your very first ECO Coin in return!

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Society of Simulations

Researchers are using VR to help teachers understand autism

Researchers are using VR as an empathy tool to help neurotypical teachers understand their students with autism. There have already been attempts to use VR to help autistic children and adults find new ways of coping. Autism Speaks, for example, funds a virtual reality training program designed to help improve social skills. But a team of researchers at the University of Malta decided to work on the problem from the other direction — namely, using VR to help teachers understand the lived experience of autistic children.

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