Tag: Anthropomorphobia

dolphins tail walking cultural transmission

One Generation in, Dolphins Still Transmit Human Tricks

Dolphins in Port Adelaide, Australia, have been observed performing a remarkable trick: tail-walking, a trait so rare it has only been seen in the wild one other time. More remarkable still, these dolphins seem to have picked up this move from Billie, a female dolphin who briefly lived in a tourist attraction before being returned to the wild. Billie, who learned this skill from human trainers, has now taught it to her calves, and to another adult female and her calves. In animals, most cultural transmission of behavior is linked to finding food. Chimpanzees fishs for termites, and certain groups of dolphins hydroplane to catch fish. The behavior of Billie and her companions is unusual in that it is performed just for fun. Dolphins’ reputation for playfulness may be well-deserved.

Thanks to Tensai Hilra for the tip. Photo via Jared422_80.


Lowtech Plastic Surgery


So this is what you get when artists Lucyandbart practice their low-tech plastic surgery techniques on visitors of the MU gallery in Eindhoven. We are clueless on whether it was actually their objective to end up in the blend between tribal Africa & Beverly Hills. Peculiar image of the week.

andy vision retail robot

Robots Invade Stores to Steal Our Jobs

There’s a new threat to the world’s unemployed. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a robot that helps to organize shop inventories, making that trip to the store simpler for shoppers, cheaper for bosses, and harder on workers. AndyVision, as our newest retail overlord is called, is programmed to roll through the aisles, checking to see if products are low or out of stock, and if its puny human coworkers have incorrectly shelved an item. Human employees get the bot’s updates on iPads, and are sent scurrying to restock the shelves. Customers short on time can access AndyVision’s map to more quickly locate their canned goods and hunting supplies for the impending robot apocalypse.

With a Kinect sensor, learning algorithms and floor plans, AndyVision is well-equipped to make his takeover of minimum-wage jobs even more effective. The robot currently only works at Carnegie Mellon’s campus store, but customers can expect to see these automated workers in other local stores sometime in 2013. AndyVision might look cute and inoffensive, but remember: In the United States alone, 5 million fewer workers are needed now to produce more goods than they did in 2006, all thanks to automation. Robots are coming to make our cameras, our sushi, and in a sure sign of the singularity end-times, our Starbucks.

Via Smithsonian Magazine.


Neither Warfare nor Dumplings Are Innate to Human Nature

In Ngogo, Gombe and elsewhere in Africa, bands of male chimpanzees regularly make organized raids on neighboring troops and batter their enemies to death. These grim, warring chimps have been held up as a compelling argument for the role of violence in humanity’s evolutionary past. The premeditated violence of male chimp society forms the basis of naturalist E.O. Wilson’s argument that warfare, just like social grooming and opposable thumbs, is a trait that humans and chimps have inherited from our common ancestor. War, in his view, is an innate and unavoidable aspect of human nature.

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Swiss Army Nails

Functional multi-tool manicure. Comes in handy at a party where you can’t find a bottle opener. Peculiar image of the week. Unfortunately, neither the human responsible for the manicure or the one sporting it is known.

Via Incrediblethings.com.

Intimate Technology

End of Life Care Machine

Designer, artist and engineer Dan Chen has developed the ‘End of Life Care Machine‘, a machine designed to guide and comfort dying patients with a carefully scripted message. Chen, just graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, built the machine as one of a series of functional robots capable of reenacting human social behaviors.

The patient enters the specially designed room and lays on the bed. The doctor asks for permission to put the patient’s arm underneath the caressing mechanism.

“The device is activated, and an LED screen reads “Detecting end of life.” At this point, the doctor exits the room, leaving the patient alone by him or herself. Within moments the LED reads “End of life detected”, the robotic arm begins its caressing action, moving back and forth, stimulating the sense of comfort during the dying process.”

The machine then plays the scripted message:

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Further Incredibly Shrinking Man

At the last Next Nature Power Show, artist Arne Hendriks gave a lustrous talk on the possibilities of downsizing humanity to better fit the earth.

Last week Arne gave a longer talk on the same topic at TEDxBrainport. Interestingly enough in this new talk Arne not only promotes shrinking humanity as a means to avoid all kinds of overpopulation related disasters, but also adds a positive reason to his argument: shrinking humans could be a way to realize the long dream of human powered flight.

The crucial question: if human eugenics ever becomes acceptable should it be employed strictly to avoid disasters or also to realize human dreams? If we choose for the latter, why not add some wings? Anything is possible, as long as we avoid a situation in which humans don’t recognize each other as humans anymore.

watson computer

The NBIC Convergence: When Machines and Matter ‘Have Sex’

The Singularity, as popularized by Ray Kurtzweil, refers to a near term, theoretical time when machine intelligence greatly surpasses our own. At this point we will experience a transition in our culture that poses an event horizon, beyond which future events cannot possibly be predicted or understood. Although Kurtzweil is no better placed than any of us to imagine what ‘The Singularity’ actually involves, he discusses our transition towards this point as ‘technologically enlightened’ humans increasingly upgrade their natural bodies with devices. As our physical substance becomes more technological, he proposes that we become more closely allied with machines rather than other humans. Those that reject the progressive mechanization of the human body are destined to play a secondary, if not vestigial position in the evolution of our species.

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