Jibo: Your Family’s First Robotic Companion

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

Jibo

Mrs. Weston glanced at her husband for help, but he merely shuffled his feet morosely and did not withdraw his ardent stare from the heavens, so she bent to the task of consolation, “Why do you cry, Gloria? Robbie was only a machine, just a nasty old machine. He wasn’t alive at all.”

“He was not no machine!” screamed Gloria, fiercely and ungrammatically. “He was a person just like you and me and he was my friend. I want him back. Oh, Mamma, I want him back.” – Isaac Asimov, I, Robot, “Robbie”

As a child I remember waking up every morning before school and sitting down in front of the TV to watch my favorite shows. Those shows consisted of several different titles – Scooby Doo, Pokemon, Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Magic School Bus, etc. One show in particular, however, caught my eyes the most: The Jetsons! The futuristic scenarios that were involved throughout the series were practically eye candy for my youthful mind, making me wonder, “When will I get my own Rosie? Or my own R.U.D.I.?”

Both Rosie and R.U.D.I. were practically part of the family, becoming faithful companions to the quirky, but loving Jetsons. They weren’t merely “nasty old machines,” as Mrs. Weston exclaims in Asimov’s robot tales, but equally respected loved ones. Thanks to Prof. Cynthia Breazeal, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she has now successfully designed the first ever family-friendly robotic companion for everyone to love and enjoy – Jibo!

Jibo with Cynthia

“Jibo fits in like family. Jibo is part of the family. Jibo’s warm. Jibo’s friendly. Jibo knows me and responds to me. So people will really resonate with the fact that it’s a family robot.” – Cynthia Breazeal, MIT

Jibo gif

Jibo is, first and foremost, a social robot. Like that of the iOS Siri, Jibo will keep you constantly updated on your day-to-day activities, alert you when someone’s contacting you, and provide friendly spoken factoids when asked questions. The difference between Jibo and Siri, however, is that Jibo is able to move around (somewhat), is able to locate you and differentiate you from others through its impressive tracking software, and can interact with you like you normally would with a human being.

Its tracking system is made up of two high-res cameras, allowing it to track you in real-time, and even provide unique methods of photo capturing and video calling when asked. Jibo is able to understand you through its natural language processing, which is complimented by 360 degree microphones. Most importantly, however, is that its artificial intelligence is adaptable, meaning what it learns via its daily interactions with you and the family, Jibo won’t forget.

If none of Jibo’s specs impress you enough to believe it to be the real thing, perhaps its overwhelming success in crowdfunding will. Jibo was recently launched into a crowdfunding campaign using Indiegogo. Merely 4 hours in, they reached their $100,000 funding goal. With 25 days left in the campaign, and with over 2,000 supporters thus far, they’ve already achieved over $960,000 in funding as of writing this!

For just $499, you can pre-order your own Jibo today.

FUTURE IMPLICATIONS

Like Rosie and R.U.D.I. from The Jetsons, Jibo will make quite a social impact on the family dynamic. As our relationship builds and becomes stronger over time with our robotic companions, we may even soon witness a movement of people – of families – demanding legal protections of said companions. Jibo is merely the beginning, however, and soon enough they’ll be walking side by side with us, living as we live.

“We are already disposed towards forming unidirectional emotional relationships with the robotic companions available to us today, and we can only imagine what the technological developments of the next decade will be able to effect.” – Kate Darling, PhD., MIT Robot Ethicist

Lose Weight and Look Younger With the Beauty Mirror

My following article below was originally published on SERIOUS WONDER

Beauty Mirror feature

The year 2014 will be known as the year in which modern technology took the cosmetics industry by storm. In May, Harvard Business School graduate Grace Choi had introduced the world her 3D makeup printer Mink, in which she demonstrated how the printer alone disrupts both price and time in the beauty market. In June I was able to speak with Dr. Parham Aarabi and talked about his company and their game changer app ModiFace, to which provides photo-realistic makeup simulations in real-time.

Today, however, the company ModiFace have developed and released a new player in the techno-cosmetics revolution – the Beauty Mirror app!

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Extant Philosophy: “Machines will become human through human experience!”

Extant scene soul

Unnamed Yasumoto Corp Board Member: “There’s something, I’m sure, everyone here is curious about, but we’re all too polite or too embarrassed to ask.”

Dr. John Woods: “The robot uprising, am I right? What’s to stop the Humanichs from overthrowing us one day and enslaving their human overlords – is that the question?…Absolutely nothing.”

Unnamed: “How then would an owner control and manage their behavior?”

Woods: “It’s not a “master-slave” relationship. My partners and I believe, if we want machines to be more human, we have to give them the human experience. They have to learn like children learn. The Humanichs brain learns right from wrong, good from bad, the same way we all did for the most part.”

Unnamed: “What do you mean ‘for the most part’?”

Woods: “Oh there is no guarantee with any child because, in the end, they’re free to choose their own path.”

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What’s All This Talk About “Cishumanism”?

UPDATE: This article has now been re-published on H+ Magazine.

primoposthuman200572dpi1

A couple of  days ago, on Humanity+, author Dustin Ashley argued for what he called “Cishumanism” – a bridge, per se, between Transhumanism and Neo-Luddism. Ashley starts off his article with mention of the negative press Transhumanism tends to get by mainstream media. This is true, however I disagree that it’s the result of Transhumanists being too radical for the majority of people to embrace. Rather I find the people who see Transhumanism as something to fear as merely victims to a misunderstood media and fearmongering intellectuals, such as Francis Fukuyama.

I certainly agree that we need to broaden our means of delivering the Transhumanist “message,” if you will, as I’m sure most Transhumanists would also agree. But then only in doing so to address the misunderstanding mainstream media tends to invoke when talking about Transhumanism. Not to cater to every fear and lie made about it, which would only give off a false sense of equal weight of value in the neo-luddite mindset.

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“Mind Melding” – Possible Biohacking Experiment

UPDATE: This article has now been officially re-published by India Future Society.

mind-meld

Whenever I watch sci-fi films, TV shows, etc., I always tend to over-think certain scenes or actions which catches my eye as being near unbelievable or unachievable. My thoughts go into how we can make them achievable, and thus believable to the mass populace. One in particular lately has been what is called a “mind meld” from the popular Star Trek series.

First off: is it believable? Well, under its current conditions of being a biological possibility, no. We can’t simply lay our hands on someone’s head and then link into their thoughts and/or memories. Not without assistance, at least. Which brings me to: is it achievable? To make something like this achievable, we’d first need to establish a link of sorts between two people Preferably a mind>hand>mind connection.

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A Technological Rebellion Against Archaic “Right to Privacy”

Sousveillance

I’m not an advocate of privacy; I’m an advocate of being open to the world. You’ve got to understand, I was born and grew up in the ’90s, which was during the internet revolution – the mainstreaming of email over snail mail, online search queries over sifting throughout libraries, etc. Cell phones were starting to become popular in the late ’90s because people wanted direct communication with their friends and loved ones.

The idea of going back during a time in which privacy was actually achievable isn’t an option for me. I refuse to live in a world where family had no idea where their loved ones were; in a world where we had to decide days, if not weeks, ahead of time to decide when to send a letter to whomever living out-of-state or out-of-country; in a world where the concept of a community was localized in small sections, and hardly ever adhered to diversity.

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Mod Your Face With ModiFace: Real-Time Facelifts?

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

ModiFace setup

A month ago, I’d written about the upcoming makeup 3D printer, Mink. The printer was engineered to help in both cost and access efficiency in the makeup industry and beauty market. It achieves this by using a color-picker app programmed into the printer, allowing it to recognize the color code of any selected image and then print it using the same ink normal printers use.

Thanks to Dr. Parham Aarabi, the makeup and beauty industry has just become more technological with ModiFace! Providing photo-realistic makeup simulations, the ModiFace app has already been downloaded more than 30 million times, with over 2 million makeovers done using ModiFace a day.

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Narcopolis: A Futuristic Drug War?

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

Narcopolis-coverOutside the realms of science-fiction our current reality is in the midst of a complete overhaul in our means of addressing drug use and sales. In the United States the debate is at its highest to date, etching closer to a complete national legalization program for marijuana. If other drugs are to follow suit, it’s still hard to tell. But in the fictional world of Narcopolis, an independent futuristic thriller set in 2022, all drugs have been legalized and everyone is happy…or are they?

Narcopolis delivers an alternative look into a future that’ll harbor secret underground drug wars between corrupt corporations and black market dealers. How and why this is so isn’t explained, but when fatalities of this war start popping up, detective Frank Grieves (starring Elliot Cowan from DaVinci’s Demons) is sent in to find out the truth of what is truly going on, finding himself getting involved in a drug war being initiated by drug manufacturing corporation The Ambro Company, run by its CEO Todd Ambro (starring James Callis from Battlestar Galactica).

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Safelet: Squeeze Wrist If In Immediate Danger!

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

Safelet-feature

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, nearly 240,000 people are sexually assaulted in the U.S. alone every year, 60% of which are not reported to the police. This is a major problem that many are struggling to try and find solutions for. It’s hard to even fathom what the statistics are for the rest of the world.

For Everfind, however, a Dutch company out of the Netherlands, they see an opportunity to provide a technological solution to keeping both men and women as safe as possible. Their latest design, the Safelet, could become that solution—a bracelet that’ll allow its wearer to alert friends, family, and even the police at the push of a button when in immediate danger.

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The Future of Technology Isn’t Just a Rich Man’s Game

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

Technology-Exponential-growth

“When I think about creating abundance, it’s not about creating a life of luxury for everybody on this planet; it’s about creating a life of possibility. It is about taking that which was scarce and making it abundant.” — Peter H. Diamandis

I get that many believe that the amazing technologies of tomorrow will only be available to the rich and powerful, while the poor and working class suffer with nothing, but what I can’t comprehend anymore is why they believe that when they’re shown, first hand, the exact contrary! Yes, their strongest arguments lie on the more recent tech advancements which, granted, are quite expensive at the moment – i.e. Google Glass – but even their strongest arguments are weak in nature.

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