Author Archives: Nora

Second Screens, Bot Etiquette, Free Images for your Blog

This time around on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about an experiment at some movie theatres in China: allowing moviegoers to text comments about the film, which turn up on the side of the screen! The future of social moviegoing, or a distracting nightmare? (via The Verge).

Nora Young talks about an intriguing personal assistant A.I. called Amy (read more at PSFK). The bot schedules your meetings and pops the time of the meeting into your calendar. Certainly a cool idea, but it had Nora wondering about future etiquette in a bot-ified world. Should you disclose to the person you’re meeting with that they’re about to be conversing with a non-human entity?

Finally, quick source of free, public domain images for you. The Internet Archive has been taking images from the public domain books it has scanned and is posting them to their Flickr account (Via Ars Technica). The Flickr account is here!

A.I. Therapy and Singularity…or Skynet?

Yay! We’re back for season ten(!) of The Sniffer, and excited about another year of trendwatching and sniffing out what’s happening in the technoculture.

If you’re just finding us now, you can learn more about Cathi Bond here, and Nora Young here. Nora is fascinated by technologies of self-tracking, technology and the body, advances in A.I., and bicycle tech. Cathi loves to sniff out trends in arts, culture, and publishing, with a side dish of robots, rural tech, and wacky gear. Hope you’ll join us!

This time, Nora looks at the story of Ellie, the A.I. psychologist, and wonders if, nearly 50 years after Eliza, A.I. therapy might be ready for its closeup. Would you engage with an artificial intelligence therapist? (Via The Economist).

Cathi takes a broader view with a recap and thoughts on Nell Watson’s recent talk about the future of A.I (via Gizmodo). Have we reached a point where A.I. is actually ready to do the kinds of things the past ~50 years have promised? Will they take all our jobs? Please leave your thoughts in the comments. We love to hear from you! Nell’s talk is above, and you can watch the video for Humans Need Not Apply below.

Will We See You in September?

Hi there,

Cathi and I are taking a much needed break over the summer, but we’ll be back for our TENTH(!) season right after Labour Day. Have a wonderful summer!

UPDATE! We are currently having temporary difficulties with our commenting system. We hope to have it back up and running soon. Thanks!

Print Your Own Makeup and Self-Promotion or Selling Out?

Hi there!

On today’s podcast, Cathi Bond wonders whether you’d print out your own makeup? Grace Choi wants to convince you to. She’s the founder of Mink, which aims to market a 3D printer for makeup. Part of the reason, according to this interview, is that she wants to offer a broader range of shades to reflect the diversity of women’s skin tones. You can watch the video of her speaking at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY below.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about the trend towards authors getting fans and friends not just to buy their books, but to promote them as well. It seems like a trend for selling and marketing all kinds of things, but when does it just become too much? Are Cathi and Nora missing the boat by not doing this with their books?

Quantified Toilets and Boutique Health Clinics

Hi! This time, Nora talks about QuantifiedToilets.com, a project she encountered while at the recent CHI conference in Toronto. Art project? Provocation? What do you think of it?

Meanwhile, Cathi discusses the Dean Street Express, a London UK clinic for testing for STI’s that free and stylish (via Gizmag). Can it encourage more people to get tested for sexual health?

Art For Everyone and Fuel for Creativity

Hey, trendwatchers! This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about “Stockholm is Your Canvas” a project of Stockholm Art Week, to make billboard space in downtown Stockholm available to anyone who wants to submit their digital art, in a revolving series of 30 second intervals (via PSFK). What would your ideas be for making public art more…public?

Nora Young mentions an interview with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer at CBX, a branding firm. He talks about bringing the physical and the tactile into the creative process (via Fast Company). Nora and Cathi love sticky notes (NY particularly likes ones from Muji). What are your physical cues for creativity?

Control With Gestures and Selfie Money

Apologies for the absence, but we’re back! This time, Nora talks about Ring, a very cool project on Kickstarter (via Core77). You tap the side of the ring, then use finger gestures to control your various devices. Check out the video and let us know if you’d use this. Are Minority Report style gestural interfaces the future, or will we stick with our phones and purpose-built devices?

Cathi brings you the story of “selfie money” (via PSFK). Artist Jonathan Keats has an ironic proposal for saving cash money: appeal to our narcissism by printing bills with ‘selfie’ images of individuals on it!

Nora also mentions Duolingo, the fun, free online language learning website she’s been using. Check it out!

Sustainable High Rise Living and Deceitful Data

Hey! In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Clear Point Residencies, which takes the ‘green roof’ a step further by imagining a high rise with vegetation cladding. Check out the pics in the gallery

Nora Young talks about lying with data, thanks to Mushon Zer-Aviv’s post about how infographics can deceive.

Car Tech, Traffic Tech, and Then Some Beer

Hi, we’re back after a liiiitttle bit of a hiatus, but amped up and ready to go.

This time around, Nora Young and Cathi Bond talk about some new tech solutions to the problem of distracted driving (via The Economist). As we move into a world of smart cars, and more devices in our vehicles, how will we maximize the power of them without becoming a distracted menace on the road? Nora mentions Social Physics, a new book by Alex (Sandy) Pentland, which includes an intriguing idea about how realtime information from smarter cars can make driving safer.

In other news, remember Gort, the giant alien robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still? (We call him Klaatu in the podcast, but as fans will point out, Klaatu is the humanoid, and Gort is the robot). In any case, we were reminded of Gort when Cathi read the news of the use of a robotic looking automated traffic control system, in Kinshasa intersections (via PSFK). It’s a smart invention, and it’s even solar-powered!

Cathi is a fan of fine beer. And here in Canada, beer is practically a bonding national characteristic. So Nora brings her Lean Machine Ale: a health beer, meant to be a healthier alternative to the post-exercise beer (via Springwise) Would you try it, or is there something special about a frosty pint after sports?

Christmas Special 2013!

Hi there,

Happy Holidays! Time for our annual Christmas Special full of lots of whimsical toys.

This time, Nora Young likes Urbio, a cool looking modular set of plates that you mount on the wall, then attach sleek white pots of various sizes to using magnets. Nora likes the mix-n-match quality of it, and the space saving aspect for those of us without a lot of counter space or window sills. You can use it for planting kitchen herbs or for general storage of small items in a home office.

Also, cool: Beer! Nora talks about Collective Arts Brewing, a new craft beer company that features artists of all stripes on the beer labels. They select a curated crop of artists to put on the labels, and you can use the augmented reality app to learn more. Neat-o.

Cathi Bond is thinking about experiences and travel this time, and has found two wild places. First is Kulturinsel Einsiedel (Culture Island) a whimsical, huge park near the Germany-Poland border. It features a series of treehouses (you can even spend the night) windmills, and all sorts of fantasy architecture (via Gizmag).

She also showcases a wonderful art installation in Russia by Estonian architects Salto: a 170 metre trampoline road. See pics of the road in action over at The Guardian. Fun!

And, because it wouldn’t be a Sniffer Family Christmas without it, the Christmas Eve scene from The Thin Man: