With all those science fiction movies we have seen, it may seem that nothing can surprise us anymore. Zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, AI takeover – we have seen it all on the screen. But what about possessing a robot that has your deceased loved one’s personality? It’s not a sci-fi concept; it’s a real technology that can soon become a part of our daily life. Google has secured a patent which could result in the possibility of robots having downloadable personalities. Moreover, this technology will also allow to download a dead individual’s personality into a robot.
When Google announced securing a patent for robot personality development last April, some compared this news to a good April Fools’ joke, doubting that the company will ever proceed with the realization of this claim. Well, it seems that Google was not joking and is quite serious about providing robots with personalities as the patent was updated on February 2.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the way in which robots will have the possibility to attain a personality. In short, the process will be quite simple and could be compared to downloading an app for your smartphone from the Internet. It will be possible to download your own personality, one of your friend or a celebrity, and even the personality of your deceased family member! Moreover, personalities could become swappable among robots through a cloud system. The fact that personalities will be stored in a cloud also means that their lifespan will basically be unlimited.
To get the necessary information about a user’s personality, the robot will need to access their devices and be updated on their data, including those gained from speech and facial recognition systems. So, it basically means that your robot will be able to mimic your facial expressions or the particularities of your way of speaking.
“A robot may access a user device to determine or identify information about a user, and the robot may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the user based on identified information,” the patent states.
The robot will also be able to change mood and reflect different emotions. “These moods can again be triggered by cues or circumstances detected by the robot, or elicited on command.” Furthermore, the information about the user’s personality, preferences and habits will be collected into a history database, which will then allow the robot to anticipate the changes in their moods.
While all of this may sound somehow creepy, according to the Computer World, Google may have the best intentions and actually plans to use this technology in the field of service robots. Giving the machines some emotional and empathetic features could, in fact, revolutionize such industries as caregiving and health care.
At the moment, we know too little about Google’s patent for robot personality development, but the only thing is clear: science and technology are advancing so rapidly that our world may soon become unrecognizable. Whether it is good or bad, the time will show.
South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash
What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?
It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.
The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.
The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.
“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”
The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.
Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.
Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.
Get Castrated If You Want to Age Slower and Live Longer, Scientists Say
New research suggests that if men want to delay their aging in an effective way, all they have to do is – wait for it – get castrated.
A study by an international team of scientists from New Zealand’s University of Otago found that the castration of male sheep successfully delayed their aging compared to males whose genitalia was intact – and the same principle would hold for human males.
The study could give us some crucial insights into why women live longer than men.
“Both farmers and scientists have known for some time that castrated male sheep live on average much longer than their intact counterparts; however, this is the first time anyone has looked at DNA to see if it also ages slower,” said the lead author of the study, Victoria Sugrue.
The study also shows how cutting-edge technology has allowed us to gain surprising insights from DNA and the rate at which it ages, including the ability to estimate the age of humans based solely on analyzing their DNA.
“We developed a way to measure biological age in a broad range of mammals — we have looked at over 200 species so far and discovered surprising commonality in which animals age,” said study co-author Steve Horvath of UCLA. “But the sheep study was unique in that it specifically isolated the effects of male hormones on aging.”
Using an “epigenetic clock” invented by Horvath to measure age, researchers were able to find that male and female sheep had quite different aging patterns for their DNA.
“We found that males and females have very different patterns of DNA aging in sheep; and that despite being male, the castrates [wethers] had very feminine characteristics at specific DNA sites,” said research team co-leader Tim Hore.
These findings can also apply to humans.
“Interestingly, those sites most affected by castration also bind to receptors of male hormones in humans at a much greater rate than we would expect by chance,” Hore said. “This provides a clear link between castration, male hormones and sex-specific differences in DNA aging.”
Scientists Find Possible New Signs of Alien Life on Saturn’s Icy Moon
A new study suggests that Saturn moon Enceladus, which is covered in an icy crust, could be a great place for life to exist.
New evidence collected by NASA’s retired Cassini spacecraft offers tantalizing details on the chemical makeup of the water plumes erupting from Enceladus.
The heavy amount of methane – a gas associated with life on Earth – suggests that underneath the icy crust of Enceladus, there could be a huge ocean of briny water potentially teeming with life.
The new study by researchers from the University of Arizona and Paris Sciences & Lettres University also found that there was a relatively high concentration of molecules of dihydrogen and carbon dioxide.
“We wanted to know: Could Earthlike microbes that ‘eat’ the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” asked University of Arizona associate professor and lead author of the study Prof. Regis Ferriere.
Scientists have long speculated that conditions on Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and sources of warmth, could be conducive to the development of living creatures.
However, one possible explanation for the chemical composition of water on Enceladus could be the existence of microbes on the Saturn moon.
“In other words, we can’t discard the ‘life hypothesis’ as highly improbable,” Ferriere noted. “To reject the life hypothesis, we need more data from future missions.”
Confirmation of the “life hypothesis” will likely remain elusive for the foreseeable future.
“Searching for such microbes, known as methanogens, at Enceladus’ seafloor would require extremely challenging deep-dive missions that are not in sight for several decades,” Ferriere said.