Showing posts with label Machine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Machine. Show all posts

June 15, 2015

Ex Machina Will Even Turn The Terminator

So this was a really cool display at the Movie theater yesterday...

They had this head of the Terminator in a enclosed case and roped off. 

Shiny metal alloy skull, buldging bright evil red eyes, and really grotesque yellowed teeth. 

This certainly gets the attention of passerbys for the upcoming new movie, Terminator Genisys (coming out July 1). 

Anyway, Terminator is the ugly dude especially when compared with the robot/artificial intelligence of Ava in Ex Machina that we saw yesterday. 

The Turing test is nothing for Ava!

She can not only fool them as to her humanity, but also outmanuever them with her wit, sexuality, and a good dose of deceit and manipulation. 

Frankly, I think AI Ava could even turn the terible Terminator to her side of things--my bet is that movie to come in 2017. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2014

Hair Drying Contraption

Took this photo at the Salon of this hair drying contraption.

The arms actually moves up and down in this crazy arc over a person's head...like butterfly wings flapping away drying from all positions and surfaces of your head.


Looks quite unnecessary, except that it probably makes the customer feel uh so special...having this unique machine working their hair all over (who the heck would have one of these at home). 


Maybe it hovers off the ground and does little whirlies too!


In life, it is up to us to be discerning--what is necessary and real and what is just bluffery and showbusiness.


Yes, there is no business like show business and alien space hairdryers--that fits right in. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 7, 2014

A WOW Wheelchair

Absolutely loved the article and video in Bloomberg Businessweek on the Tankchair.

Brad Soden makes these amazing ruggedized wheelchairs for wounded veterans and other disabled people in need of getting around some rougher terrain. 

They are customized for each user and cost about $15,000 each. 

They are built on tank-like treads and can go up stairs, through fields, across streams, and over snow.

"Basically, it's get off the couch and go enjoy life!"

They are tough and can last 15-20 years!

He first made one for his wife who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident and was having difficulty keeping up on a family camping trip. 

Soden is truly inspirational--he produces these not too make money, but too help people. 

"The body can't keep up, so we're gonna fix it."

This is an awesome man making an extreme machine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Tankchair)
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October 7, 2013

Recognition Inspires

Thought this was really nice at Starbucks. 

A place to show respect and recognize your colleagues. 

How often to we take others for granted for what they do--oh, it's their job or as one boss used to say coldy and harshly that their employees' recognition is that they get a paycheck every 2 weeks!

But people are not machines--they have feeelings, they need to be motivated, inspired, and appreciated. 

And recognition doesn't just come from the chain of command, but from peers, customers, and other stakeholders. 

We can do a good deed simply be recognizing the hardwork that people make on our behalf, for the customer, or the organization more broadly. 

Taking people for granted is the easy way out.

But saying a genuine thank you and placing a card of recognition in the pocket of the posterboard or otherwise showing your appreciation with an award, a letter of gratitude, or telling people they "did good"--takes an extra effort, but one definitely worth it! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 29, 2012

Robots Taking Your Job

Don't get too comfortable in your job.

Yes, the economic realities of high spending are about to catch up with the country and that will threaten your livelihood, but even more than that Robots can probably do your job better than you--sooner or later. 

Wired Magazine (24 December 2012) has a great article on this called "Better Than Humans.

In the 1800's, when 70% of the working population did agricultural work, probably no one would have believed what the future had in store for this occupation--today with automation, only 1% do this work.

Similarly, today 80% of jobs are in the service sector, and people think they are on safe ground--but think again!

Make no mistake robots will replace or drastically alter your current job, as artificial intelligence, processors, memory, sensors, learning, communication, dexterity, and humanoid likeness all continue to advance.

Wired presents the 7 Stages of Robot Replacement (to which I've added my notes in parenthesis):

1. Robots cannot do what I do (denial).
2. Robots can do some of what I do, but not all (partial acceptance).
3. Robots can do what I do, but they break done (rationalization for the loss, and so do we "break down").
4. Robots operate flawlessly on repetitive tasks, but need training for new ones (you weren't born knowing everything were you?). 
5. Robots can have my old job, because it's not fit for humans anyway (acceptance with a large dose of resignation--"the train has left the station").
6. Robots can have my old job, because my new job will be better (maybe for the time being). 
7. Robots cannot do what I do now (the cycle of employment safety from automation starts anew). 

Let's face it--your special, but so is technology and the pace of advancement is extraordinary. 

For those of you in jobs that you feel could only be done by humans--Wired has some news about developments with robots doing the once unthinkable:

- Musicians--Georgia Tech has developed Shimon the musician; these robots can not only play violin and trumpets, but they can form a band, and they can improvise ("as if it's a musician with a soul!).
- Therapists--Mindmentor has an AI therapist that after a 1-2 hour session made patients feel their "problem was 47% solved."
- Artists--Vagobot has made hundreds of pictures and "even sold some to Crate & Barrel."
- Comedians--Aldebarab Robotics makes robots for all sorts of jobs, including entertainment--they can sense audience reaction (such as laughter or silence) and adjust topics accordingly.
- Professional Trainers--The Intermational Conference on Social Robots in 2011 presented a robot that could coach you on your exercise, sense your form, and correct it. 
- Teachers--University Of Southern California has developed a robot teacher that in 2 weeks helped preschoolers increase vocabulary mastery by 25%.
- Nurses--Aethon makes the TUG nurse robot that is "picking up and delivering medication and supplies, autonomously navigating hospital hallways...summon an elevator, wait in line, and politely roll aside to give hemorrhaging humans priority access."
- Athletes--Robocup compete robots that one day can be "capable of winning against the human  soccer World Cup champions.

So what will be left for humans to do--innovate, invent, build, operate, and maintain the next level of breakthrough automation to help people--maybe these are the best and most-rewarding jobs that any of us can hope to have. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Ft. Lauderdale Discovery and Science Museum)

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June 28, 2012

Behind The Toothbrush, A Human Being

In the morning, I like to stop at the food court for some coffee (iced, not hot). 

This week, while heading down the stairs to the coffee stand, I ran into this lady cleaning the stairs. 


As I excused myself to her and got the nod to run past, I realized she was cleaning each stair not with a machine, or a mop, but with with a hand utensil that was basically like a toothbrush.

And as you can see, she was cleaning more just a couple of steps, but rather a whole staircase like this.

I had to take a second-take at this whole notion--I could not believe she was cleaning each step--one at a time--step by step--from one side to the other--bent over like this with this little tool-like toothbrush.

I wanted to stop and ask her about it--why she had to do it this way? But I was too embarrassed and more important didn't want to embarrass her.

I took this photo discretely not to shame anyone, but to point out the plight of workers in our society.

No one--NO ONE--should have to bend over a staircase or floor or anything like this and clean inch by inch--with a toothbrush!

When I think about it--it is shameful--no, it is enraging--that anyone would treat other human beings like this.

Let's face it--this is not done to get the stairs clean--there are machines and more appropriate hand tools--scrubbers, steamers, scrappers that can do that. Heck, I'd bet that we can modify a iRobot Roomba to eventually do it.

So this is not just about getting the job done, but perhaps about power, degradation, servitude, and even an element of abuse.

I felt terrible for this lady--I almost wanted to tell her to stop, but I assume, she has a family to feed too and has to do what she has to do.

But whoever is employing her and making her do this back-breaking work this way, as my grandmother used to say--G-d sees everything!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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