Tuesday, September 25, 2007


IWB on Social Robots

Irving has an interesting post on robots in virtual social networks. He sez:

The Huggable is a robotic communication avatar designed for social interactions, education, healthcare and other applications. It is essentially a very cute teddy bear, with a sensitive skin, embedded "intelligence" (i.e., hardware and software), wireless communications and the ability to see, hear, speak, touch and move. But what I find so compelling about The Huggable is that it can operate as an autonomous personal robot and as a semi-autonomous robotic avatar that is part of a human social network, providing a much richer set of interactions to the members of the network than is possible using PCs and similar devices.

There is a lot of activity in intelligent, autonomous, mobile robots for entertainment, education, protection and many other applications. Applications range from helping doctors and nurses perform their duties better (even remotely), to providing assistance to the elderly for improved mobility and strength (e.g., vacuuming, helping in getting out of bed, even companionship). Aging populations around the world are a big driver of personal robot products and applications.

The concept of semi-autonomous robots integrated into a social network is new, at least for me. But once you start thinking about potential applications, many come to mind, in areas as diverse as family communications, healthcare, education and entertainment.

For example, imagine faraway grandparents being able to interact with their young grandchildren who are holding and playing with The Huggable. You can talk, read stories and sing to them. You can (virtually) hug them. You can watch and listen to their reactions as well as sense the way they hold and touch the teddy-bear-like device. Imagine a similar scenario with soldiers stationed around the world, being able to interact with their young children in a far richer, more emotional and satisfying way than a phone conversation. Or imagine the help it could provide children not getting enough nurturing and stimulation from their parents, by enabling family members, professionals or volunteers to get involved in their care.

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Virtual World News

3PointD has two interesting postings. The first discusses the virtual Vietnam War Memorial in Second Life and the second speculates on the Google Earth virtual world.

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Monday, September 24, 2007


Bin Laden Word Cloud

Dave pointed me to a interesting ManyEyes visualization of Bin Laden's recent speech.

I registered and uploaded the Gutenberg.org Alice in Wonderland. Guess which words are most frequent before clicking. . . here or here.

Here is some population data to play with from the Census Bureau.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Fight for Kisses

Doc pointed me to a very clever Wilkinson advertisement using avatars for actors. I understand that creating advertisements in virtual worlds is much less expensive than hiring a sound stage and actors. Virtuality is beginning to become mainstream. Video courtesy of DailyMotion.

Fight for Kisses
Uploaded by fight-for-kisses

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I just discovered a good short summary of transformation theory by Marcia Daszko and Sheila Sheinberg. Here is a snippet. (scroll down . . .)


Motivation for ChangeBetter, Faster, CheaperFix a problemSurvival,Environment,World Changes, Breakthrough needed
Degree of ChangeIncremental improvementsTransition from old to new; A to BRevolutionary
Necessary ThinkingImproveChange management; strategic planningRadical shifts in mindset/thinking/actions
ActionsManage and control processesDesign the plan; implement the planWhole system change, complete overhaul of mindset, paradigms, culture

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Friday, September 07, 2007


Shift Happens

Thanks to my friend, Mike, for the pointers:

The old one - - -

The new one - - -

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Thursday, September 06, 2007


More Women in the Family Tree

The TierneyLab blog over at the NYTimes has an interesting post about the genetic evidence that there are more women in our individual and collective family trees than men. The sociological explanation is that, in the past, lots of men had no offspring (killed in war, killed hunting, killed fooling around, had bad B.O., etc.), thus the remaining (fewer men) had the job to help the unmatched lonely women have children. So, historically, the reproductive men had more children per person (through multiple partners), than reproductive women had per person. Over the generations, descendants of these men married each other. Thus these men would should up in multiple ancestral lines with different female partners. As a result there are fewer male progenitors than female. Polygamous societies contributed to this phenomenon -- as did victorious armies in raping the widows of the defeated armies.

This phenomenon is also evident in the animal kingdom, such as the seal and big cat polygamous societies.

Post Script: A couple of people have reminded me that in previous generations there was a high death rate in childbirth. This meant that a man could have children by two or three wives over the course of his life, in a serial monogamy fashion.

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