The Random Darknet Shopper was an algorithm shopping on the Dark Web. Provided with a budget of $100 in Bitcoins per week, it selected one random item from deep web shop Agora and had it shipped to Switzerland to its makers, !Mediengruppe Bitnik. From counterfeit jeans and hidden camera baseball caps, to a passport scan and a Visa platinum card, everything was collected and put together in an exhibition that took place at the end of 2014. But there was one problem: on one of its shopping sprees the robot ordered a bag of Ecstasy pills.
Sixteen-year-old Japanese singer Hatsune Miku grew in short time to a worldwide popstar. With her colourful appearance she counts millions of followers on social media, she collaborated with Pharrell Williams, opened Lady Gaga’s concerts and even appeared in car commercials. She was in the Netherlands last summer to perform in her very own opera The End. More precisely: the hard-disk containing her was.
Because she is not made of flesh and bones, she is an entirely digital hologram with a computer-generated voice. Nevertheless, the huge concerts of Miku that take place in the biggest stadiums of Japan are often sold out in the blink of an eye. Hundreds of thousands of ecstatic fans love her dance moves, her dress designed by Louis Vuitton, her characteristic blue hair and, above all, the sound of her voice.
Architect firm Foster + Partners recently presented a project to build the world’s first Droneport in Rwanda, Africa. The structure will be designed to support cargo drone routes capable of delivering urgent and precious supplies to remote areas, largely inaccessible by road, on a massive scale.
Last April, a Chinese group of researchers published a paper that set the scientific world ablaze in a fierce debate. The paper was about their attempts to edit the DNA of a human embryo.
Scientists warned that altering the human genome line without thoroughly considering and researching into the consequences could bring about unintended, unpredictable and possibly terrifying results.
From dangerous mutations and painful deaths to political opportunism and genetic-social engineering, it is easy to imagine terrifying and dystopian outcomes to this technological advance. And it’s all due to CRISPRs: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.
Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?
Clothing made of human hair. Alix Bizet, French student at the Design Academy Eindhoven, collected hair from African American hairdressers to create jackets and hats for her project Hair Matter(s). Why? Because she sees it as a sustainable solution, an animal-friendly alternative to fur and an entrancement of our cultural an ethnic differences.
We don’t know if fashionistas are willing to wear her striking outfits, what we certainly know is that our peculiar image of the week makes us shiver with Anthropomorphobia.
Virtual reality glasses come with a big limitation: motion sickness. The human eye just wasn’t built to look at screens this way, you see yourself riding a virtual roller coaster while your body doesn’t feel the movement. This mental discrepancy not only affect the believability of the VR-experience, it also leaves you nauseous, dizzy and suffering from headaches.
Breaking the silence, vegetables in a Japanese supermarket start to talk to the customers. Founded and developed by Uda Lab and Hakuhodo I-Studio’s HACKist Creative Lab, this unique in-store promotion prototype, Talkable Vegetables, was tested starting this summer in Hug Mart in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
The Campaign Against Sex Robots, recently launched, is pushing towards banning the continuation of sex robots development. Over the last decades, an increasing effort from both academia and industry has gone into the development of these robots – going so far as looking to imbue them with artificial intelligence in order to make them seem more like humans, and therefore more attractive to customers. According to the campaign, these developments are unethical and will eventually harm humanity.