Thursday, February 9, 2017

Friday Thinking 10 Feb. 2017

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


Content
Quotes:

Articles:
Europe Is Trolling Trump with Wickedly Funny Parody Videos


The recipe for populism is universal. Find a wound common to many, find someone to blame for it, and make up a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Caricature them. As vermin, evil masterminds, haters and losers, you name it. Then paint yourself as the savior. Capture the people’s imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a tale. One that starts with anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.

That’s how it becomes a movement. There’s something soothing in all that anger. Populism is built on the irresistible allure of simplicity. The narcotic of the simple answer to an intractable question. The problem is now made simple.

Populism can survive only amid polarization. It works through the unending vilification of a cartoonish enemy.

In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. How to let a populist beat you, over and over again.



Gamers are more likely to consider family a top priority than non-gamers (82% vs 68%) as well as placing a high importance on friends (57% vs 35%). Gamers and their parents are also more likely to have been college educated (43% and 52%, respectively) than non-gamers and their parents (36% and 37%, respectively).

When it comes to their occupation, 67% of gamers feel positive about their aspirations, while only 42% of non-gamers feel the same way. Gamers are also more likely to be employed full time than those who don’t partake in games (42% vs 39%). Sixty-one percent of gamers would describe themselves as natural leaders, compared to 35% of non-gamers.

Socially-speaking, gamers are much more likely to value personally making a positive impact on society (76% vs 55%) while preferring to shop at corporations backing social causes (58% vs 36%). Ethical business practices matter to 78% of gamers, compared to 65% of non-gamers.

Gamers also appear to be more tech-savvy than non-gamers, as they are more likely to use technology like smart phones, tablets, or streaming devices (like Google Chromecast) while at a friend’s house (42% vs 15%), on vacation (40% vs 18%), at work (20% vs 10%), commuting (19% vs 5%) or at a restaurant (18% vs 6%). With gamers being connected so frequently, they could be influencing how media content is distributed. Broadcast television tune-in frequency is down 12% in 2014 when compared to 2011 as part of the trend away from traditional media and coming toward online sources.

Playing video games has been linked to a boost in brain volume and creating a sharper mind, though those studies both called for games to be played in moderation. The majority of gamers (63%) reported playing games for fewer than 10 hours per week, which isn’t all that bad.

Gamers More Likely To Be Social, Educated Than Non-Gamers




This is a MUST VIEW 3 min video (transcript -below video) by Yannis Varoufakis - the best concise explanation of why we need a universal basic dividend (livable income).

The West needs a New Deal

This video, prepared by and for BBC Newsnight, foreshadows DiEM25’s European New Deal – which will be made available in full during February.

Having dismissed their poverty as a personality defect and their zero hour contracts as efficiency improvements, the Deep Establishment now looks on in despair as a Nationalist International triumphs. Two are its handmaidens:
  • Involuntary under-employment – the bitter price of austerity
  • And involuntary migration – the bitter fruit of concentrating decent jobs in small areas. People do not move to London for the theatre scene or to Britain for the climate; they move because they must!
Neither globalisation nor electrified border fences will fix this. It’s delusional to think that Britain or America can prosper sustainably when neighbouring nations are in crisis.


India is one of a number of countries that are serious about exploring a guaranteed basic income.

India Considers Fighting Poverty With a Universal Basic Income

Annual economic survey looks at possibility of replacing messy welfare programs with a stipend paid to every Indian
The Ministry of Finance’s annual survey of the economy, released Tuesday, explores how the country might replace its various welfare programs with a universal basic income, or a uniform stipend paid to every adult and child, poor or rich. Guaranteeing all citizens enough income to cover their basic needs would promote social justice, the survey says, and empower the poor to make their own economic choices. It would also be easier to administer than India’s current anti=poverty programs, which are plagued by waste, corruption and abuse.

But Arvind Subramanian, the ministry’s chief economic adviser and lead author of the economic survey, took pains to emphasize that concerns about how a universal income would be enacted—and how the government would pay—mean India is still quite far from putting the concept into practice.

“It’s an idea whose time is ripe for further deliberation and discussion, and not necessarily for immediate implementation,” Mr. Subramanian told reporters.


One has to wonder which countries are embracing the emerging technologies for a society in the 21st century.
And it’s working. The government as well as different financial institutions are now allowing people to avail financial services using their phone number, doing away with the need of going to banks and wasting tons of paper.

India is giving senior citizens a biometrics enabled health card, and nobody knows why

India’s audacious push to bring and make use of Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometrics database, was one of the highlights at the annual financial budget unveiled in the country today.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that senior citizens in the country will soon get Aadhaar-based smart cards. These cards would feature their health and other information, Jaitley added. The government will first run a pilot project in 15 districts during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Aadhaar is a biometrics-backed (fingerprint, iris, or facial features) national ID system that the government is positioning as a solution to bring its 1.3 billion people to the digital age. Over one billion people and 99% of the country's adult population are already enrolled in the system.

One of the biggest applications of Aadhaar so far has been seen in Unified Payment Interface, an effort by the government to make digital exchange of money as simple as sending a text message.


Another signal related to the emerging Blockchain technology - this time in reference to a Canadian.
“Looking ahead, it is possible that virtual currencies and FinTech-based providers, particularly where they gain direct membership to central bank payment systems, could begin to displace traditional bank-based payment services and systems.” Mark Carney, BoE Governor

Central Bank Governor says Digital Currencies could displace traditional banking systems

The Governor of the Bank of England (BoE) and Chair of the Financial Stability Board and Monetary Policy Committee, Mark Carney, recently gave a speech about FinTech, financial inclusion, and BoE research into Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC).

While noting FinTech's potential in promoting financial inclusion, Carney said that “authorities have essential, supporting roles in reinforcing them and managing the associated risks to financial stability.”

The BoE is already expanding central bank access to Payments Service Providers (PSPs), that are not banks, which Carney first announced in June last year. There were over 1,000 non-bank PSPs as of June, but they currently have to rely on one of four agent banks for settlement.
The central bank governor said that as they grow, some PSPs will want to rely less on the very banks with whom they are competing, “re-selling services ultimately provided by banks limits these firms’ growth, potential to innovate, and competitive impact.”

Opening up the Central Bank system to PSPs will allow them to compete directly with banks. While some banks' profitability may be hit, overall this “supports innovation, competition and financial stability,” Carney states.


This is an excellent 24 min video interview with Andreas Wagner. His most recent book - Paradoxical Life: Meaning, Matter, and the Power of Human Choice is a must read - for anyone interested in knowledge, meaning, language, innovation and evolution. This book extends the philosophical work of Wittgenstein by bringing in into the world of physics and biology - presenting a case for a paradigm change in how we engage with science and with the domain of human experience.

Andreas Wagner 2011 WORLD.MINDS INTERVIEW

Interview discusses  evolutionary biology, space of possibilities, mutations, metabolic pathway, protein structure, innovation, innovability,


This is an excellent must read - 3min article with some great simple graphics.

Why do we need teams? Teams can make complex decisions correctly and perform highly complex tasks.

One person can only know so much: There is a limited number of different things that a person can respond to successfully. Highly complex tasks exceed an individual’s capacity to perform or understand. Specialization enables a group of individuals to perform more complex tasks by routing one set of tasks to one individual and a different set to a different individual. This is what happens, for example, in healthcare where there are many specialists and there is someone who directs individuals to the right specialist

The number of distinct tasks that can be performed by the system of specialists grows linearly with the number of individuals (it is the sum of the number of types of tasks each individual can perform). For example, if there are 5 individuals and each can do 10,000 different tasks, then together they can do 50,000 different things. This is helpful, but teams do even more.

A collaborative team enables each individual to contribute a different dimension to the task performed by the group, so that the number of types of tasks can be as high as the product of the number of tasks each individual can perform. In this case 5 individuals can do 10,000 x 10,000 x 10,000 x 10,000 x 10,000 = 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 10^20 different things, many more possible tasks than the specialist system.

The advantage of working together is to get a complex task right, to be successful at making the right decision. The higher the complexity, the more specialists cannot be successful, but teams can be.


Here’s a good research update to the Wisdom of Crowds - worth the read.
“In situations where there is enough information in the crowd to determine the correct answer to a question, that answer will be the one [that] most outperforms expectations,” says paper co-author Drazen Prelec, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as the Department of Economics and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Better wisdom from crowds

MIT scholars produce new method of harvesting correct answers from groups.
The wisdom of crowds is not always perfect. But two scholars at MIT’s Sloan Neuroeconomics Lab, along with a colleague at Princeton University, have found a way to make it better.

Their method, explained in a newly published paper, uses a technique the researchers call the “surprisingly popular” algorithm to better extract correct answers from large groups of people. As such, it could refine wisdom-of-crowds surveys, which are used in political and economic forecasting, as well as many other collective activities, from pricing artworks to grading scientific research proposals.

The new method is simple. For a given question, people are asked two things: What they think the right answer is, and what they think popular opinion will be. The variation between the two aggregate responses indicates the correct answer.


When we think of teams it may be important to remember that today the best chess players aren’t individual humans, not individual Artificial Intelligence - but teams of human and AI together. And another breakthrough has been made although it has seemed to have gained the press coverage of beating the Go Champion.
“This challenge is so huge and complicated that it’s been elusive to AI researchers until now,” said Carnegie Mellon University professor of computer science Tuomas Sandholm who, along with his PhD student Noam Brown, built Libratus.
Sandholm said he “wasn’t confident at all” that Libratus would beat the poker pros. “The international betting sites put us as 4-1 underdog and the humans expected to win.”
“Poker is the least of our concerns here,” said Roman V Yampolskiy, a professor of computer science at the University of Louisville. “You have a machine that can kick your ass in business and military applications. I’m worried about how humanity as a whole will deal with that.”

Oh the humanity! Poker computer trounces humans in big step for AI

Libratus, an artificial intelligence robot, has won chips worth $1.5m from four of the world’s top poker players in a three-week challenge at a Pittsburgh casino
The Brains vs Artificial Intelligence competition saw four human players – Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McAulay – spend 11 hours each day stationed at computer screens in the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh battling a piece of software at no-limit Texas Hold’em, a two-player unlimited form of poker. Libratus outmanoeuvred them all, winning more than $1.7m in chips. (Thankfully for the poker pros, they weren’t playing with real money)

It’s a crushing defeat for humanity, but a major milestone for artificial intelligence.

Machines have already become smart enough to beat humans at other games such as chess and Go, but poker is more difficult because it’s a game with imperfect information. With chess and Go, each player can see the entire board, but with poker, players don’t get to see each other’s hands. Furthermore, the AI is required to bluff and correctly interpret misleading information in order to win.

The algorithms that power Libratus aren’t specific to poker, which means the system could have a variety of applications outside of recreational games, from negotiating business deals to setting military or cybersecurity strategy and planning medical treatment – anywhere where humans are required to do strategic reasoning with imperfect information.


Speaking of teams whether they are people or AI - this is an interesting article about some research on Twitter. Qualifications of the findings would have to include the current constraints of political conversation on social media today - including the corrosive impact of trolling on inter-group conversation and the influence of ‘bots’ in shaping the environment of inter-personal and intergroup conversation in a world where political conversation has become highly polarized (for many reasons including the deliberate intentions of increasing polarization).

Twitter accounts really are echo chambers, study finds

As in ancient human cultures, users of the social media site interact most with those who share their political views, Demos report reveals
A study of 2,000 Twitter users who publicly identified as either Labour, Tory, Ukip or SNP supporters has found they are far more likely to interact with others from the same party and to share articles from publications that match their views. Ukip supporters are also far more engaged with “alternative” media outlets, including Breitbart and Infowars, two US-based sites identified with the alt-right that have been regularly accused of publishing misleading or false stories.

The research was carried out by the thinktank Demos, which looked at the tweets sent between May and August last year by 2,000 people who have publicly stated their political allegiance on their profiles and who had at some point addressed a member of parliament in their tweets.

Report author Alex Krasodomski-Jones said that while the accounts looked at were not representative of either the broader population or Twitter users, they provided a sample of Twitter’s “political classes” who were also more likely to be engaged in political debate and action outside the platform.


This is definitely gruesome - but does suggest that Alpha’s have to be wary of the ‘general will’ of the group.

Chimps beat up, murder and then cannibalise their former tyrant

It was a gruesome scene. The body had severe wounds and was still bleeding despite having been lying for a few hours in the hot Senegalese savanna.
The murder victim, a West African chimpanzee called Foudouko, had been beaten with rocks and sticks, stomped on and then cannibalised by his own community.

Thirteen years ago, Foudouko reigned over one of the chimp clans at the Fongoli study site, part of the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project. As alpha male, he was “somewhat of a tyrant”, Pruetz says.

Foudouko gained alpha status in his late teens and ruled alongside his right-hand chimp, Mamadou, the group’s beta male. In 2007, Mamadou was severely injured and separated from the group for weeks, returning frail and holding a lower rank in the social hierarchy.

Because Foudouko maintained an alliance with his now-weak partner, he was ostracised and then ousted by the others. He lived alone on the outskirts of chimp society for years, only being observed by researchers in the field once or twice a year.


Marshall McLuhan noted that when confronted with information overload the needed strategy was to shift to pattern recognition. Extending this observation today one could argue that if the Internet is a global nervous system - the the emerging capabilities of AI and machine learning algorithms represents the evolution of a cyber ‘neo-cortex’ and other brain-like clusters.
This article is pointing out how a firm wants to use AI to automate the ‘legal world’ - I can now imagine having an AI-ssistant that actually reads all those ‘end-user license agreements’ and can tell me what they mean and even whether they are in fact ‘legal’.

An AI Law Firm Wants to ‘Automate the Entire Legal World’

Unchanged for the past hundred years, the legal industry now faces its turn to be automatized. The idea of legal tech is not new, however not until today have algorithms been ready to seriously transform the legal industry.
Whether it’s a new employment contract, a rental contract, or sale contract, it needs to be checked before signing. Everyone knows the struggle of working through the dreaded small print, searching for pitfalls hidden in the tiniest details, and trying to make sense out of the bizarre language of law.

In fairness to the layman, contract review is also a hustle for lawyers themselves. In 2014, commercial lawyer Noori Bechor got sick of the fact that 80 percent of his work was spent reviewing contracts. He figured the service could be done much cheaper, faster, and more accurately by a computer. Hence, he started LawGeex, a platform for automatized contract review.

On LawGeex, users upload a contract and, within a short period of time (an hour on average), they receive a report that states which clauses don’t meet common legal standards. The report also details any vital clauses that could be missing, and where existing clauses might require revision. All of this is calculated by algorithms.


Another breakthrough that can be filed under the “Moore’s Law is Dead - Long Live Moore’s Law’ file. Only this is a shift to quantum computing. There are two short videos and one long one.

First ever blueprint unveiled to construct a large scale quantum computer

An international team, led by a scientist from the University of Sussex, have today unveiled the first practical blueprint for how to build a quantum computer, the most powerful computer on Earth.

This huge leap forward towards creating a universal quantum computer is published today (1 February 2017) in the influential journal Science Advances (1). It has long been known that such a computer would revolutionise industry, science and commerce on a similar scale as the invention of ordinary computers. But this new work features the actual industrial blueprint to construct such a large-scale machine, more powerful in solving certain problems than any computer ever constructed before.

Once built, the computer's capabilities mean it would have the potential to answer many questions in science; create new, life-saving medicines; solve the most mind-boggling scientific problems; unravel the yet unknown mysteries of the furthest reaches of deepest space; and solve some problems that an ordinary computer would take billions of years to compute.

The work features a new invention permitting actual quantum bits to be transmitted between individual quantum computing modules in order to obtain a fully modular large-scale machine capable of reaching nearly arbitrary large computational processing powers.


The certainty of causality - is being challenged by a paradigm of meaning and purpose - a logocentric approach. This is a fascinating article providing a great discussion about how there is more than one way to achieve a function. This really is a must read - for anyone interested in complexity, agility and new paradigms arising out biological sciences.
This fluidity—dubbed “intrinsic disorder”—endows proteins with a set of superpowers that structured proteins don’t have. Folded proteins tend to bind to their targets firmly, like a key in a lock, at just one or two spots, but their more stretched-out wiggly cousins are like molecular Velcro, attaching lightly at multiple locations and releasing with ease. This quick-on-quick-off binding’s effect in the cell is huge: It allows intrinsically disordered proteins—or IDPs, for short—to receive and respond to a slew of molecular messages simultaneously or in rapid succession, essentially positioning them to serve as cellular messaging hubs, integrating these multiple signals and switching them on and off in response to changes in the cell’s environment and to keep cellular processes ticking along as they should.

The Shape-Shifting Army inside Your Cells

Proteins work like rigid keys to activate cellular functions—or so everyone thought
Structure equals function: If there’s one thing we all learned about proteins in high school biology, that would be it. According to the textbook story of the cell, a protein’s three-dimensional shape determines what it does—drive chemical reactions, pass signals up and down the cell’s information superhighway, or maybe hang molecular tags onto DNA. For more than a century, biologists have thought that the proteins carrying out these functions are like rigid cogs in the cell’s machinery.

Of course, exceptions would occasionally crop up. A scientist might bump into a protein that performed its functions perfectly well yet didn’t have rigid structures. Most researchers chalked these cases up to experimental error, or dismissed them as insignificant outliers.

More recently, however, biologists have begun paying attention to these shapeshifters. Their findings are tearing down the structure-function dogma.


Talking about shape-shifting biological entities - here’s an article about the Do-It-Yourself capability to domesticate DNA.
“I think it will be easier to teach dog breeders CRISPR than it will be to teach dog breeders why pure breeding is a bad thing,”

A Biohacker’s Plan to Upgrade Dalmatians Ends Up in the Doghouse

The FDA wants to regulate animals altered using the gene-editing technique CRISPR.
David Ishee is a Mississippi kennel operator with a passion for dogs and a plan to improve them using a gene-editing technology called CRISPR from a modest laboratory he’s built in a plywood shed.

Sound unlikely? It’s serious enough that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in a phone call last week, told Ishee he wouldn’t be able to sell any edited dogs without its approval.

Ishee, a member of what’s called the “biohacker” movement, says he is hoping to use inexpensive new gene-editing techniques to modify the genes of Dalmatians. By repairing a single DNA letter in their genomes, Ishee believes, he can rid them of an inherited disease, hyper uricemia, almost as closely associated with the breed as their white coats and black spots.

In early January, Ishee sent the agency a sketch of his plans to fix Dalmatians, expecting to be told no approval was needed. He didn’t immediately hear back—and soon found out why. On January 18, the agency released a sweeping new proposal to regulate cattle, pigs, dogs, and other animals modified with gene-editing.

The federal health agency already regulates transgenic animals—those with DNA added from a different species. But what about a dog whose genome has been tweaked to repair a disease gene? Or to endow it with the gene for a trait, like fluffy fur, already found in another canine? According to the newly proposed regulations, such creations will also need federal approval before entering the marketplace.


A key concern many critics make about too much reliance on renewable energy is the need for energy storage - but this may be much less of a problem than most imagine - there are many ways to store energy.

4 New Ways to Store Renewable Energy With Water

Stash it away in concrete bunkers, undersea bags, and other strange places
If Elon Musk has his way, in the future we’ll all be storing renewable electricity inside big banks of lithium-ion batteries. But let’s not forget the energy storage situation today. In the United States, 97 percent of utility-scale storage in 2014 was in pumped-storage hydroelectric plants, according to research by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee.

In traditional pumped hydro, a dam separates a lower reservoir from an upper reservoir. When a utility company needs to store energy, the system pumps water from the bottom to the top. It generates electricity when water flows back down through a turbine. In 2015, Citibank estimated that the cost of power from pumped hydroelectric was about 5 percent of the cost of grid-scale battery-stored electricity.

The problem is that there are many places that “consume high amounts of power but don’t have geological opportunities to build conventional pumped-storage plants,” says Jochen Bard, an energy processing technology manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES), in Germany.
In 2017, a number of new pumped-hydro technologies should achieve milestones. They aim to bring the low cost of the technology to geographies that ordinarily wouldn’t allow it. Here are four you might hear about


Here an update on the robotics being created by Boston Dynamics (which is still owned by Alphabet) - not so sure it’s really ‘nightmare’ inducing - given what we already have seen in many sci-fi movies - but it does show how reality is keeping up with popular science fiction.  The very short videos are a MUST SEE.

Leaked video shows new ‘nightmare-inducing’ wheeled robot from Boston Dynamics

If this new leaked footage is any indication, it seems like the robot creators at Boston Dynamics finally found a way to improve on humanity’s primitive two-legged design: By adding a pair of wheels to their new self-balancing robot, giving the bot some impressive new capabilities.

Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson was at a presentation given by Boston Dynamics’ founder Marc Raibert, who revealed a new two-legged robot called Handle. The bot swaps articulated feet for a pair of wheels that it can balance on like it’s riding a Segway. But while that human transporter is regarded as a genuine failure, this footage—which Boston Dynamics told us was not meant to be seen outside the presentation—shows a sweet robot creation.

Unlike ATLAS, who can carefully walk over uneven terrains, making it ideal for exploring almost any environment on earth, Handle appears to be limited to mostly smooth surfaces, where it can roll with minimal resistance. The trade-off would allow Handle to move much faster and more efficiently, in a factory or warehouse environment where it doesn’t have to worry about ever having to tackle rubble or debris. But as demonstrated in this video, Handle is still able to tackle some obstacles, including leaping over a short wall.


Here might be the next Starbuck’s coffee chain in every building, mall or anyplace where there’s a healthy market for good, fresh coffee.

This Robot Barista Makes a Dang Good Latte

SOMETIMES A COFFEE means something: it’s an opportunity to catch up with friends, sit quietly among strangers, or unofficially pay a morning’s rent on your Starbucks office. That’s when you want a big, spacious cafe rich with the sound of typing and dense with the smell of roasted beans and five-minute pour-overs the price of a steak. Other times, though, a coffee is pure fuel: a jolt of caffeine to kick you up and out of your sleepy doldrums. Cafe X is for those times.

When you go to Cafe X, there are no hipster bartenders, and no judgy glances when you ask for a bit of half-and-half. There’s not even a cafe. It’s just a small, rounded kiosk, white on the bottom, with a large glass panel that lets you watch while an industrial robot pumps caramel into your latte. You order at an iPad-powered kiosk, or using Cafe X’s app. Pick your espresso drink, choose from three kinds of beans, and decide whether you want a little syrup, a lot of super, or Insane Syrup. Then pay, and press order. The robot barista then spins around, grabs a cup from the dispenser, and sticks it under the industrial-grade WMF espresso machine. One robot can make several drinks at once, and each takes about 20 seconds. Once your drink is ready, you type in a four-digit pin code, reach into the hatch, and grab your white cup printed with Cafe X’s logo.

One Cafe X robot has been serving coffee at the Hong Kong Science Park for a while now, but the first American kiosk opens today at the Metreon shopping center in San Francisco, after months of preparation. Mostly paperwork, actually: the health department couldn’t figure out what to make of Cafe X, eventually deciding to classify it like a food truck. “We even offered to put wheels on it!” says Stephen Klein, Cafe X’s general manager, but their only eventual requirement was to add a sink, which sits in some closed-off room down the hall. Now that the government understands Cafe X, CEO Henry Hu says they can set up another robot in half an hour.


I have to say I love this idea - a sort of motorized backpack - you have to see the picture.

This Robot Will Carry Your Stuff and Follow You Around

Vespa maker Piaggio’s new robot servant is yet another sign of the transportation industry reinventing itself.
The light-blue robot, called Gita, is almost spherical, with two wheels about the size of those you’d find on a mountain bike. A nearby laptop shows the world as perceived by the robot: a “point-cloud” of dots representing the 3-D shape of the room and the hallway outside, generated using a series of cameras attached to the bot’s body.

Gita was developed by Piaggio, an Italian automotive company that makes various lightweight vehicles but is most famous for making the iconic Vespa scooter. The robot is an experimental new way of transporting stuff. The top of the robot opens up, allowing it to store up to 40 pounds of whatever you might otherwise lug around yourself. The company is about to begin testing Gita in a number of industrial settings, including factories and theme parks. But the hope is that the robot may also appeal to consumers who might want a robot assistant as they walk, run, or ride a bike (it has a top speed of 22 mph).

Gita is a clear sign of the technological revolution currently shaking the world of transportation. As new technologies start to upend modes of mobility that have changed barely at all in decades, the automotive world is rapidly reinventing itself (see “Rebooting the Automobile”).


For Fun - Maybe
This is a new and interesting game - that some might really enjoy and others might find worthy of study.

The Founder: A Game About The Dark Side Of Silicon Valley

"The only way to win is not play," says designer Francis Tseng.
The year is 2001.
You've just started a company and are working out of your apartment with a few employees and your cofounder. You're hoping to disrupt an industry—any industry—with your social network and advertising service. But as you work to keep your board of investors happy, that means expanding into more and more verticals—mobile and hardware at first, but soon you're working in defense and biotech. By 2020, you're building drones for the government and a brain implant that helps with decision-making. Your research team is looking into artificial gravity, bioprinting, and the possibility of a building a colony on Mars so there are new markets to expand into. You're investing heavily in lobbying because it has big payouts. Your financial products have an impact on the world economy, and your mobile hardware business is contributing to climate change—so much so that your server farms, built along the California coast, begin to flood.

This dystopian future is one possible outcome of the startup simulator game The Founder. Created by the designer and developer Francis Tseng, the game is like The Sims for startups: You start by naming your company, choosing a cofounder, and picking a city in which to launch. Then, it's time to build products, and, more than likely for newcomers to the game, watch them fail miserably.
The actual game is here


This is Hilarious - it’s true - the greatest hilarious - huge hilarious - better hilarious than anyone else….

Europe Is Trolling Trump with Wickedly Funny Parody Videos

A Dutch answer to The Daily Show kicked off the trend, in which European countries farcically campaign to come second to America.
By now, we all know that under Donald Trump’s administration, the United States’s guiding principle is going to be “America first”—as the president stressed in his dystopian inauguration speech. The world got the message loud and clear—and now, European countries are beginning to counter with rallying cries of their own.

The trend began with a viral parody video from the Netherlands, courtesy of the news satire show Zondag met Lubach. The clip, a faux introduction to the Netherlands that mocks Trump by imitating the president’s signature verbiage—”We’ve got the best words. All the other languages failed”—has racked up more than 16 million views on YouTube since last week.

Now, several other countries have hopped on the bandwagon, all sarcastically clamoring to come in “second” to America’s interests by making their cases in terms Trump can understand.
The rest of the short videos are here

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