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Androids that offer "digital immortality" begin mass production in Russia
A company claims to make the world's first humanoid android and offers 'digital immortality".
- Promobot, a Russian company, makes the world's first humanoid android.
- The model Robo-C robot can't walk but has a sophisticated personality AI.
- The android can be made to look like any human.
We are well on our way to the sci-fi staple of a world inhabited by both people and androids. A startup from Russia is launching mass production of robotic clones of humans.
"Promobot" is offering autonomous service androids that can be made to look like anyone on Earth. The company says their creations are "robot companions," while its Robo-C android is the first of its kind, not only looking like a human but being useful in "business processes".
Aleksei Luzhakov, Promobot's Chairman of the Board of Directors said in a press release that "Everyone will now be able to order a robot with any appearance — for professional or personal use."
Furthermore, he thinks that their new line of bots will spearhead an entirely fresh market in education, entertainment and service industries, adding "Imagine a replica of Michael Jordan selling basketball uniforms and William Shakespeare reading his own texts in a museum?"
Where else can such a robot be useful? As a consultant, behaving like a regular employee by answering questions, or as an administrator, performing such tasks as booking meetings. They can also work in offices or the government, greeting people and relaying information.
And, of course, if you're in the market for a home robot, you should keep in mind that Robo-Cs can be made to look like any family member. In a way, they can also offer "digital immortality," as Promobot co-founder Oleg Kivokurtsev expressed to CNBC.
Robo-C on CNBC | Promobot
With its AI endowed by 100,000 speech modules, the Promobot's android is able to reproduce the way any person talks by building linguistic models based on the way the speech and other knowledge of the subject. The bot's face has 18 moving parts, giving it the ability to make 600 micro-expressions.
One limitation - it currently can't walk but its upper body has three degrees of free movement.
Promobot is now taking orders for the Robo-C, claiming to already be the biggest manufacturer of autonomous service robots in Northern and Eastern Europe, whose machines can be found in 35 counties in a variety of professions. The android can run you from $20,000 to $50,000, based on various customization options.
Do Androids Dream of Stealing Your Job?
Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?
Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.