Tag: Technorhetoric

Anthropomorphobia

The Professors Doppelgänger Robot

hiroshi ishiguro

Although there are numerous researchers out there creating humanoid robots, none are as explicit about the close relation between anthropomorphism and narcissism as professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from ATR Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Ishiguro decided that if he’s going to be a roboticist he might as well create an “angry eyes” twin-brother version of himself, the Geminoid HI-1 (japanese website).

The remarkable realism comes from silicone molds cast from Ishiguro’s own body. Ishiguro is using his robot twin brother to teach his classes for him, and creep out students with lifelike movements such as blinking, “breathing” and fidgeting. The robot can be remotely controlled via a motion capture system that tracks Ishiguro’s mouth movements and allows the robot to speak his voice – or that of an assistant if he’s feeling particularly uninspired.

The aim of the project is to experiment with the viability of tele-presence and find out if he can really command the attention of a classroom with a mere robot doppelgänger. Ishiguro thinks future business meetings will have androids and humans side by side at the table. Well, lets be positive, it sure would save a lot of business class flights. There is also a peculiar video of Geminoid HI-1.

Via Engadget, Related: Robot Dance, Social Robots, Child Care Robot.

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Boomeranged Metaphors

Digizerk

digizerk

Henk Rozema displaying his invention (2006), the digital tombstone “Digizerk”. It was only a question of time that global digitalization would be introduced on cemeteries. The digital contents can be viewed only by relatives who own a remote-control device. The newest model runs on solar power. Presenting slideshows of the most important moments of the deceased are perhaps as dull as one could expect from a “new medium” like this. Here’s an idea for Henk Rozema to work on: I think (correct me if I’m wrong) it was in the Fox-movie “I Robot” that – through a StarWars-like-beam-device – actor Will Smith communicates with a holographic projection of the US Robotics-leading scientist (James Cromwell) who just fell from the companies building and died. The device contains some clues and answers on his death, provided and triggered by asking the right questions.
What if in future, people would record and save their ideas and answers to questions in their tombs for the generations to come. Cemetery = library knowledge-base! Bas Groenendaal has done something similar with his project: “Release”.

Digizerk.eu | digizerken.nl | video (dutch) | Related posts: Vin memoriam | Pencils made of cremated humans | Human DNA in trees

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Biopolitics

Surplus – Terrorized into Being Consumers

For those who find it to difficult to read John Zerzan, there is still a Youtube version. Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers is a Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, prominently featuring Zerzan. The film was created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg.

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Technorhetoric

Breaking Point?

John Zerzan, published in Green Anarchy issue #24 – Spring/Summer 2007

The rapidly mounting toll of modern life is worse than we could have imagined. A metamorphosis rushes onward, changing the texture of living, the whole feel of things. In the not-so-distant past this was still only a partial modification; now the Machine converges on us, penetrating more and more to the core of our lives, promising no escape from its logic.

The only stable continuity has been that of the body, and that has become vulnerable in unprecedented ways. We now inhabit a culture, according to Furedi (1997), of high anxiety that borders on a state of outright panic. Postmodern discourse suppresses articulations of suffering, a facet of its accommodation to the inevitability of further, systematic desolation. The prominence of chronic degenerative diseases makes a chilling parallel with the permanent erosion of all that is healthy and life-affirming inside industrial culture. That is, maybe the disease can be slowed a bit in its progression, but no overall cure is imaginable in this context–which created the condition in the first place.

As much as we yearn for community, it is all but dead. McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears (American Sociological Review 2006) tell us that 19 years ago, the typical American had three close friends; now the number is two. Their national study also reveals that over this period of time, the number of people without one friend or confidant has tripled. Census figures show a correspondingly sharp rise in single-person households, as the technoculture — with its vaunted “connectivity” — grows steadily more isolating, lonely and empty.

In Japan “people simply aren’t having sex” (Kitamura 2006) and the suicide rate has been rising rapidly. Hikikimori, or self-isolation, finds over a million young people staying in their rooms for years. Where the technoculture is most developed, levels of stress, depression and anxiety are highest.

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Design-for-debate

Featherless Chicken

Behold the featherless chicken, created by Scientists at the genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel.The idea behind the development of this naked bird is that it will create a more ‘convenient’ and energy efficient chicken which can live in warm countries where feathered chickens don’t do well and cooling systems are too expensive to be commonly affordable. Not growing feathers saves energy that can be used to grow meat.

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Supermarket

RFID Chips: Is your cat infected with a Computer Virus?

mousecat

A group of computer researchers from Amsterdam have demonstrated that it is possible to insert a software virus into radio frequency identification tags, part of a microchip-based tracking technology in growing use in commercial and security applications.

Many pets, as well as commercial livestock, have been injected with a tiny microchip that can identify them if they get lost (pets) or are later found to habor disease (livestock). Up until now, no one thought these microchips, called RFID tags, could themselves be infected with computer viruses. Now researchers at the Vrije Universiteit have discovered that computer viruses in animals, supermarket products, airline baggages and other physical objects are a real.

RFID tags are tiny, inexpensive microchips that can be attached to physical objects, such as products in a supermarket, or injected into animals. When a specialized kind of chip reader attached to a computer sends out a radio wave on a certain frequency, all RFID tags within range respond to it by identifying themselves. The retail sector, for example, is planning to replace the now-familiar bar code with RFID tags in the coming years because RFID-tagged products can be scanned much faster and more accurately than products with bar codes.

www.finfacts.com | www.rfidvirus.org

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Manufactured Animals

Child Care Robot

NEC corporation is developping a “Childcare Robot PaPeRo” capable to play with and watch over children. The Childcare Robot is capable of recognizing and verbally communicating with people, sending images by mobile phone to persons far away, as well as playing games and singing along with others. With it, NEC is looking for new relationships and possibilities as a part of children’s groups at daycare centers, kindergartens and elementary schools.

“The aim of our research at NEC is not just to further robot technology, but to examine and develop better human-machine interface through the concept of living with robots“, said Yoshihiro Fujita, Project Manager, NEC Incubation Center.

www.incx.nec.co.jp

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