Amazon Drivers Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Deliveries

Amazon contract delivery drivers in Chicago are allegedly hanging their smartphones outside warehouses and delivery points to boost their chances of getting delivery orders.

Major news outlet Bloomberg last week reported on a strange new trend among Amazon and Whole foods contract drivers in Chicago – hanging their smartphones in trees close to the companies’ warehouses and parking their cars nearby to get first dibs on accepting new delivery orders. Amazon’s system allegedly chooses drivers based on who is closest to the pickup location, so even the slightest advantage over the stiff competition among drivers can boost chances of getting access to the offers first. The phones in the trees have the Amazon Flex app installed and are synched with other phones belonging to other drivers, to make it harder for Amazon to detect offenders.

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Engineer Creates ‘A.I. Jesus’ Trained Only on King James Bible

An artificial intelligence engineer has created an intriguing algorithm that learned human language from reading “the bible and nothing else” and is now churning out ominous prophecies based on the Holy Book.

George Davila Durendal, a childhood coding prodigy and current AI engineer and entrepreneur, recently unveiled his wackies creation yet, an A.I. algorithm trained solely on the King James Bible and dubbed “AI Jesus”. Described by Durendal himself as an “A.I. clone of Jesus”, the software is a Boltzmannian natural-language processing model that “tries to replicate the style of the King James Bible without quite copying it”. Designed to write about 3 different topics – ‘The Plague’, ‘Caesar’ and ‘The End of Days’ – using the language of the Bible, AI Jesus has so far come up with some pretty scary, if somewhat nonsensical, prophecies…

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Deepfake Journalist Is a Terrifying Sign of Things to Come

It’s almost impossible to tell, but the man featured in the photos below doesn’t exist. He is a deepfake, a persona created by a computer algorythim. However, the articles this “journalist” published in several popular newspapers are very real, and a sign of things we can expect from a fast-evolving AI.

Oliver Taylor first got the attention of international news agency Reuters after being alerted about him by London Mazen Masri about an article Taylor had written about him and his wife, Palestinian rights campaigner Ryvka Barnard, in which they were described as “known terrorist sympathizers”. The couple were taken aback by the allegation, especially since it came from a a university student. But the more Masri looked at Taylor’s profile photo, the more convinced he was that something was off about him…

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Window Swap – A Site That Lets You Experience the Views From Total Strangers’ Windows

In a time when traveling the world isn’t as simple as it used to be, a site that lets you experience the view from a window halfway around the world sounds pretty interesting. That’s where Window Swap comes in.

Developed by Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, a husband and wife team from Singapore, as a quarantine project, Window Swap is an easy and ingenious way to travel all around the world, from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is visit the Window Swap website and click on the “Open a new window somewhere in the world” button to instantly be transported in a stranger’s home in cities like London, Bangalore or Jakarta from the windows of whom you can admire the views they wake up to every day.

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Automation Studio Creates Robot Swift That Flies Just Like the Real Bird

German automation company Festo recently unveiled its latest bio-inspired creation, the Bionic Swift, a lightweight robot capable of mimicking the flight of an actual swift.

Over the last decade Festo has unveiled an impressive number of robots inspired by the Earth’s fauna, from bionic ants and butterflies, to penguins, jellyfish and even kangaroos. Earlier this month, the robotics studio showcased their newest invention, a lightweight flying robot inspired by the swift and capable of mimicking its flight maneuvers with impressive accuracy. From steep turns and drops to nausea-inducing loops, the new Bionic Swift can pull of most, if not all, of a real swift’s movements.

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Artificial Intelligence ‘Actor’ Cast in Lead Role of $70 Million Sci-Fi Movie

If you thought creative jobs like acting would be among the last to be taken over by AI-powered robots, think again, as ‘b’, the world’s first film to feature an AI robot in the lead role was just announced.

The upcoming film, which reportedly revolves around “a scientist who discovers dangers associated with a program he created to perfect human DNA and helps the artificially intelligent woman he designed (Erica) escape,” stars Erica, a humanoid robot powered by artificial intelligence which is also conveniently immune to the highly contagious novel coronavirus.

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This Japanese Smartphone Won’t Let You Take Inappropriate Photos

Japanese company Tone Mobile has been getting a lot of attention ever since it launched its Tone e20 model, the world’s first smartphone that prevents users from taking “inappropriate” (nude) photos.

The Tone e20 is not a particularly attractive phone, and its spec sheet isn’t exactly impressive either, but it does one thing that no other phone in the word does – it uses artificial intelligence to prevent users from taking nude photos of themselves or anyone else. Aimed primarily at parents who want to ‘protect children from predators’, the phone can also ‘connect’ with other devices and notify their owner if the connected phone has clicked an inappropriate photo.

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Man Creates Virtual Traffic Jam on Google Maps by Dragging Small Cart with 99 Phones on Empty Street

German artist Simon Weckert recently went viral after posting a video on YouTube dragging a small cart with 99 smartphones on an empty street and tricking Google Maps into showing a traffic jam.

Basically, Weckert loaded 99 smartphones with Google Maps turned on onto a small wagon cart and then pulled that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office building. He was thus reportedly able to fool Google’s GPS app into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets. And because the phones were being carried in a slow-moving cart, the app was also tricked into thinking that it was detecting a traffic jam.

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Single Woman Creates Light Bulb Device That Turns on Whenever Someone Breaks Up on Social Media

Japanese YouTuber Marina Fujiwara managed to put a smile on the faces of single people this holiday season with a smart light bulb that lights up whenever couples break up on social media.

As a single person, there is nothing worse than watching happy couples doing couple things during the winter holidays, like doing holiday shopping together, walking through the street hand in hand, and, obviously, posting photos of themselves online. Luckily, a young Japanese inventor has come up with a way of making other single people feel better about their situation with the help of a simple yet ingenious device – a smart light bulb that lights up whenever someone breaks up with their partner via social media.

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World’s Smartest Chess Board Lets You Move Physical Pieces Without Touching Them

Square Off, the world’s smartest, most connected chess board, gives the centuries-old sport of chess a 21st century touch by allowing players halfway around the world to interact with physical pieces without actually touching them.

Chess has been available as a digital game for years, but true fans know that there’s nothing like playing on a high-quality physical board. That’s hard to do when your opponent is thousands of miles away, or at least it was until someone came up with away to allow people halfway around the world to play chess on a physical board made of rosewood. It looks like a magical set out of a Harry Potter movie, but it’s actually a wonder of technology that harnesses robotics and internet connectivity to make the impossible possible.

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Russian Cows Wear VR Headsets to Reduce Their Anxiety, Increase Milk Production

In an attempt to reduce cows’ anxiety and hopefully increase their dairy production, a cattle farm in Moscow’s Ramensky district has equipped its herd with specially-designed virtual reality headsets.

Research has shown that there is a link between a cow’s emotional state and it’s daily milk yield. In the past, we’ve heard of dairy farms playing soothing classical music for their cows in order to lower their stress level and increase productivity, but as technology advances, new mood-altering solutions are introduced. For example, the RusMoloko farm in Moscow recently equipped its cattle with VR systems adapted for the “structural features of cow heads”.

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Chinese Researchers Create Stretchable Display Thin Enough to Be Worn as Temporary Tattoo

A team of researchers from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Nanjing University recently unveiled an innovative display that is thin and flexible enough to be worn on skin, like a type of temporary tattoo.

Having to check a stopwatch to see your time while running, or looking at your smartphone screen to see who is calling may soon be things of the past thanks to a new and revolutionary human-machine interface that allows information to be displayed directly on human skin. Called alternating-current electroluminescent (ACEL) display, this new invention consists of an electroluminescent layer made of light-emitting microparticles sandwiched between two flexible silver nanowire electrodes. The ceramic nanoparticles embedded in stretchable polymer make this ACEL display brighter than any other, allowing it be clearly visible even in a well-lit room.

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Harry Potter Fans Eye Toyota’s New Electrically-Powered Witch’s Broom

Called an “e-broom”, Toyota’s latest mobility platform looks like a futuristic witch’s broom that users can ride to get around. Apparently, quidditch fans found the concept very intriguing.

Unfortunately, Toyota’s e-broom isn’t yet able to make quidditch players airborne, like in the popular Harry Potter books, but they are capable of propelling people on the ground, as long as they are wearing roller-skates. The e-broom is meant to be ridden like a witch’s broom, only instead of relying on magic to whisk its users towards the sky, it relies on an electrical motor and a wheel at the bottom to propel its rider forward at moderate speed. It’s not as impressive as we’d like it to be, but at least it’s a step toward a real life quidditch broom.

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French Researchers Build Creepy Phone Case That Mimics Human Skin

A team of French and English researchers recently showcased a prototype phone case called Skin-On, which not only mimics the look and feel of human skin, but also enables interaction communication through gestures like pinching or tickling.

Developed by researchers at the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecomm ParisTech and Sorbonne University, Skin-On consists of a layer of stretchable copper wire in between two different forms of silicone layers. The materials are mass-produced, and the creators of Skin-On claim that the cost of a commercial version of the case would be around $6.5. While anyone could build it, project leader Marc Teyssier admitted that finding the right balance to create what is essentially artificial skin was challenging, considering the case was also supposed to detect touch. But why bother making a smartphone case that everyone generally agrees is “decidedly creepy”. Dr Anne Roudaut, Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction, explains:

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You Can Now License Your Face to Be Used on a Humanoid Robot

If you’re short on cash and don’t mind selling the rights to your face, you can stand to make £100,000 ($130,000) by licensing your mug to a robotics company to be used on one of their humanoid robots.

According to a recent blog post by London-based outsourcing company Geomiq, a robotics company is currently looking for a “kind and friendly” to put on a humanoid robot once it goes into production. This will potentially entail using this person’s face on thousands of robots around the world, so the company is willing to pay no less than £100,000 ($130,000) in licensing fees. The robot in question is designed to be a “virtual friend” for elderly people, and is scheduled to go into production next year.

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