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Futuristic Simulation Finds Self-Driving “Taxibots” Will Eliminate 90% Of Cars, Open Acres Of… — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium

A fascinating new simulation finds that self-driving cars will terraform cities: 90% of cars will be eliminated, acres of land will open up, and commute times will drop 10%. A team of transportation scientists at the Organization for Cooperation and Development took data on actual trips in Lisbon, Portugal and looked at how a fleet of self-driving, shared “taxibots” would change city landscape [PDF]. These “taxibots”, the researchers imagine, are a marriage of mass carpooling and UPS delivery intelligence: they constantly roam throughout cities and match carpool routes with mathematical elegance. Ultimately, they estimate, 9 out of 10 cars would be completely unnecessary — as would public transit.

Humanoid robotics and computer avatars could help treat social disorders -- ScienceDaily

Initially the avatar is like an alter ego, created to look and move like the patient to enhance his or her feelings of attachment. Over time the avatar is slowly altered to become less similar, therefore helping with social rehabilitation. The results show that players sharing similar movement features, or motor signature, interact and co-ordinate better. This can be used for rehabilitation of patients with serious social disorders as an avatar can be created to act like an alter ego, programmed to look and move like the patient to enhance his or her feelings of attachment.

Avatars evoke emotions

Over by a virtual ocean, the waves gently breaking, I ask if I can try a little experiment. Jones volunteers. I tell her: "My fair warning is that it will require being a bit in your face." And by "face," I mean robot face: no nose or lips. Again, in real life we're in different rooms miles away. I lean forward, so that my robot is right up against hers. Jones doesn't like it. She grunts a bit and compares it to a crowded subway car, with other bodies too close for comfort. "It makes me want to back up a little bit, just because of that same subway impulse," she says. To her boyfriend, who's standing a few virtual feet away, it looks like our robot heads are touching. "I don't really want to, but I feel a little bit jealous," Gordon admits. "I already have this sensation like this body has Amy in it. And here's someone right up, head snuggling." Jones doesn't like that he feels that way so she backs up.

Clay Johnson on the robot raising his child

The Amazon Echo is summoned by the word "Alexa" -- you say that word, and then ask it questions or tell it to do something (play some music, set a timer, check the weather, etc) and it just does it. And it works great. Especially on 2.5 year olds. I've noticed recently that Felix has started interacting with Alexa. He can't quite say the word well enough to trigger a response (he's almost there) but he'll bark orders at her; more interestingly, he treats her as an source. A few days ago, Felix told me that it wasn't time to go back home from the playground because Alexa said it wasn't time to go. Then, On Saturday, on the way to a birthday party, after I disobeyed the GPS's command to take a highway, Felix chimed in from the back seat: "Dad, *other* Alexa said you need to take the highway" Our minds were blown at this for a lot of reasons. And it's all fascinating, and I'm sure somebody will write books about the kids who grew up with computers they could talk to just like they wrote books about my generation interacting with televisions and the Internet. But that's *not* the point of this little Facebook post. No, the point is, Amazon shipped functionality that allows you to make the Echo say things via a handy remote control. So realizing that Felix viewed his invisible friend "Alexa" as an authority, and realizing that I could make Alexa say things, we seized the moment tonight. C: Felix, it's time for bed. F: NEVER. THERE WILL BE NO BED. NOT NOW NOT EVER. NO NOTHING. NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. (exact words.) C: Okay. Well, I'm going to go get a bath ready. Alexa: Felix, it's time to go take a bath. F: Really Alexa? Alexa: Yes. Please join your father in the bathroom. Felix was in the bathroom immediately, and told me that it was time for his bath. After bath, he promptly told Alexa good night. She told him to have sweet dreams. Parents who are prime members, the Amazon Echo costs $99, and it is worth every penny. Tomorrow we'll try housework.

Google Cabs And Uber Bots Will Challenge Jobs 'Below The API'

Flying helicopter drone waiters deployed to deliver food and drink to customers

Anti-collision algorithms have been programmed into the system to enable operators to control a whole swarm of helicopter drones flying in formation in a constrained environment."We want to fly the drones high enough above head room. Eventually when we deploy them permanently, we're going to set flight paths that are not above the customers, but following the natural paths that the waiters take to see to customers," Chia explained."It can't just be safe, it has to look safe. So the drones are not going to fly over the customers' heads. We're going to run a couple of focus groups before we launch, using some of our loyal customers, and there will be many more test flights. We don't want to rush it, the R&D has to be done properly."