Posts Tagged ‘Android’

What side are you on?

It is crazy to think how far technology grows in the world of cell phones. I can’t seem to finish out my 2-year contracts before another revolutionary smartphone hits markets and I regret my decision to upgrade so soon. Although we have already discussed the demanding market for the next best thing. It came to my attention that we have hit a sudden slump in the world of smartphones. This year when my contract went up in February I decided to hold out and snatch the newest smartphone as soon as it hit the market, the problem? There hasn’t been a new one.

I currently am a blackberry user and was looking forward to their newest creation but after such a long lag in new product releases, I decided I would switch over to the new iPhone 5 because it had been so long since the iPhone 4 was released.  Here I am in April and still stuck with my old blackberry.  There have been a lot of speculations why there is a sudden stalemate in the smartphone war. Some blame it on the issues iPhone had with the iPhone 4 release and the antennae problem while others claim it is the new competitor in the Android causing Apple to step up there game. Instead of the usual Blackberry vs. iPhone war a new player as been added to the shuffle. Google Inc. has entered the world of smartphones with the Android.  Google’s phone has had so much attention some claim it is even better than the iPhone and will knock blackberry off the market for good.  Now, with the added player to the smartphone fight my decision to get a switch just became twice as hard. With Android being compared to Windows PC and the iPhone obviously representing Apple systems, where does the blackberry stand.  Not many people remember the Palm Treo in early 2000 that has faded from the smartphone market because blackberry stole their thunder with a better operating system that provided more user friendly capabilities and more reliable technology. Now that there is a new phone to compete with the iPhone, is the blackberry a thing of the past?

I feel a consumer obligation to the blackberry after two years of satisfied use, but what can I do if the Android and iPhone provide a new generation of smartphones and Blackberry fails to rise to the challenge.  For now I am team Blackberry with a strong inclination to switch to iPhone if they are able to release the new iPhone 5 any time soon. But the increasingly positive reviews of the Android with its very consumer friendly advertising campaign makes a strong argument to forever abandon the Blackberry. With smartphones that already start cars, turn on security alarms, scan credit cards and display HD movies, it is hard to imagine what our phones will be doing in 10 years.


Geminoid: Freakishly Human

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The similarity between humans and robots has been increasing as the years go by and this is extremely evident in Geminoid DK, which can be easily mistaken for a human being. The development of robots has a long and rich history, transforming robots made of metal to robots made of synthetic skin and hair. The 1950s were the birth of the industrial robot and since then the age of robots has take off with countless robot inventions that seem to surpass expectations.

The Geminoid itself has undergone extreme changes and advancements from the first one created in Japan by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro to the newest one created by Danish Professor Scharfe. A Geminoid is a remote controlled android robot powered by a silent air servo system that can mimic facial expressions and sounds. The first Geminoid created HI-1, was created in 2005 by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro who is the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University in Japan. After HI-1, Geminoid F1 was created as the female version which could not only mimic facial expressions but also laughter.

The newest Geminoid is known as Geminoid DK and was built in Tokyo by Kokoro, a company that focuses on creating robots and has created numerous robots including the I-Fairy and the Humanoid Robot. The Geminoid DK is the newest member of the Geminoid family, joining Geminoids HI-1 and F1.

The Geminoid is going to be used to research the “emotional affordances in human-robot interaction” and study the different views that cultures have on robots. Geminoid DK is currently in Japan, but when it arrives in Denmark the research will begin to study the relationship that humans have with such human like robots.

Many people view Geminoid DK as an incredible technological advancement while others are still in shock of how human-like Geminoid Dk is. This causes one to wonder how long it will be until robots will live among us and be undetectable in our society.


Los Angeles, CA 2019…Yeah right.

February 3, 2011 1 comment

Fire burst from smokestacks, holographic screens lit the streets, corporate pyramids loomed thousands of feet in the air, and hover cars roamed the smoggy city as “Los Angeles, November 2019” flashed across the bottom of the screen in the opening scene of Blade Runner. We couldn’t stop laughing at how the Ridley Scott probably got nothing right (except for the smog of course).

I don’t think I’m being too forward in predicting that LA won’t have any of those features eight years from now. And that got me thinking, it’s amazing how the 1980’s perception of the future of technology could be so wrong. Growing up in such a technologically advanced age I couldn’t imagine being so wrong about the future of technology forty years from now.

Now onto Blade Runner. A common theme that I never realized throughout all of my experience with Cyber Punk is the pivotal role that AI plays. It seems that in almost every novel and movie (Neuromancer, Bladerunner, and the Matrix to name a few), there is an AI gone violently rogue. And so I began to wonder; could a computer system really go rogue and void it’s programming? And what is at the basis of our fascination with AI?

While trying to answer the first question, I thought back to one of my favorite scenes from iRobot and came to the conclusion that yes, yes it could. Dr. Lanning states:

“There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul.”

As strange as this explanation is, I believe it to be true. If we imagine the code that computers use to function is a form of DNA, analogous to human DNA, and we accept the fact that there are unintended segments of code that due to faulty human programming, exist in computer systems, then there is statistically a possibility that random bits of code might come together to create “unexpected protocol,” or a kind of free will. This is no more forward than claiming that random bits of DNA cross over during meiosis in order to form new human traits.

So now that we have established that AI is not only possible, but that it is inevitable as long as we continue to use computers, the question about the nature of AI is raised.  Is AI necessarily bad? Why don’t we trust it? And of course, is AI really all that different from regular human intelligence? Is it better?

Blade Runner attempts to answer many of these difficult questions. In the movie, Harrison Ford is a “Blade Runner,” an officer sent to dispose of rogue androids who have rebelled and are now killing humans. At first it seems so clear, but as the movie progresses, lines continue to blur. Harrison Ford ends up having sex with one of the Androids in what seems like an act of pure love. The motto for the company that produces these androids is even “More human than human.” And when Ford is hanging from the edge of a building, the leader of the Android rebellion pulls him up to safety while howling like a wolf, clearly not characteristic of a robot. The android seems almost primal, throwing our perceptions of computer based beings out the window.

But one might ask oneself, what are we if not computer based beings? Our brain acting as the central processing unit and our DNA being the programming. Is an artificial intelligence that can feel, that can experience emotion, that can learn and replicate itself any different from a human? I’m not so sure anymore. And with Watson now beating human players on Jeopardy, I wonder how far we are from the beginnings of artificial intelligence.