Category Archives: Robotics

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.

Robots on the Farm and Implantable Tech

This time, Cathi Bond talks about the Agrirover, a robot designed to run 24/7 on livestock paddocks, combing the field looking for spots where grazing grass is damaged by, erm, pee (via Scoop). A chat about robots down on the farm ensues.

Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions that Motorola has a patent on an “electronic skin tattoo” (temporary!) to transmit voice and also to serve as a power supply (via PCPro, and others). The premise is that it would be a microphone and a power source. For me (Nora) it’s interesting mostly as yet another example of how normal implantables and wearables are going to be in the next 5 years or so. In the near term, though, would you use something like this?

The Sniffer, Feb 9th, 2013: Trends in Trackers and Robots

This time on the podcast, Nora Young talks about the Pebble smart watch. We used the Pebble as a topical ‘hook’ to a recent piece on watches on Spark, and that got me thinking about what makes this great looking little watch so appealing. It reminded Cathi Bond of the Little Printer, a smart, digital solution that looks analog, that looks friendly. Nora mentions all the self-tracking tools and health monitors that were at CES recently (see, for example, Technology Review’s coverage here).

Cathi Bond talks about the RP-VITA which is a remote presence robot that can wander health care facility halls, checking in on patients, thus allowing doctors who are far away to see patients virtually (via Medgadget). It can even allow the remote physician to consult with other doctors. Interestingly, it’s from the iRobot people, who brought you the Roomba.

And, Nora has a quick hit: Swisshotel has a handy dandy ‘single serving’ website that notes handy tips for travellers to different cultures: stuff like tipping, gestures, and dos and don’ts (via Lifehacker). Nora thinks lots more businesses will do this sort of thing for branding purposes – useful info connected to your product’s brand that can live as an app. Have you seen any good examples of this?