The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

The US military, concerned about the welfare of children whose parents are abroad spreading democracy (or whatever), have hit upon the brilliant idea of … wait for it … virtual parents.

The proposal outlines the idea as follows:

The child should be able to have a simulated conversation with a parent about generic, everyday topics. For instance, a child may get a response saying “I love you”, or “I miss you”, or “Good night mommy/daddy.” This is a technologically challenging application because it relies on the ability to have convincing voice-recognition, artificial intelligence, and the ability to easily and inexpensively develop a customized application tailored to a specific parent.

As fucked up as this is, I approve of this type of research. Before you say, “think of the children”, think of this: these kids are pretty much doomed anyway. Not having parents means they’ll statistically be at a disadvantage. Giving them a “friend” to talk to can’t possibly hurt, especially when one thinks of all the other internet stuff an unsupervised child might stumble upon.

And the applications could be much further-reaching than virtual parents. I’d go more into this, but your imagination is probably better than mine. Once again it seems the sci-fi writers have predicted the state of things to come.

Meet the BoozBot

Jeff Crouse from NYC’s Eyebeam collective has created a robot that serves drinks. There’s one important difference between this so called “BoozBot” and all the other ones that have been popping up in hackers’ dorm rooms. Namely, the BoozBot banters with the customers and it’s actually a pretty cool idea. Video here:

BoozBot Demo

The “AI” is, of course, bullshit. There’s a man behind the curtain; computers are just not able to do this type of thing yet. Still though, it’s a pretty cool party trick.