Posts tagged “anthropomorphism”

Out and About: Steve in Baltimore

During last week’s trip to Baltimore, I had just a little bit of time to explore. Here’s what I saw:

I had a really delicious meal at The Food Market in the hip neighborhood of Hampden, but I did snort with laughter when they brought over what I thought was going to be a beet salad.



Have we hit Peak Experience (and not in the Maslovian sense) when donuts are reframed as experiences? Closing the loop on my last visit to the area, this was a total disappointment. Disappointing donuts and a weird experience. Fractured Prune was located in an Italian restaurant but I could not figure out where the donut counter was. It turned out to be shared with the restaurant. I had to ask two people once I was actually in this little restaurant where the donuts were. There’s no familiar visual cue of shelves of donuts, since all are made-to-order. I did have nice chat with a fellow patron who told me they were great donuts. I didn’t let him see me leave the half-eaten ones sitting in the bag on the picnic table outside. Not good.

Street art in Hampden.

Out and About: Steve in Toronto

I was in my old hometown of Toronto last week for Interaction13. Of course, I did spend some time wandering and (shivering and) taking pictures. The Flickr set is taking shape here but meanwhile some faves for you are below.

Homeless memorial

What is dangerous?

Bash Back

Sushi Dry Cleaner

Evan Penny



Steam Whistle





ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Autom, a weight-loss robot coach – Autom's human qualities, if primitive, were an important factor in keeping 15 dieters motivated during a trial in the Boston area. Another 15 slimmers were given a computer with a touch screen running identical software to Autom's and 15 had a paper log. Each had to stick to a certain eating and exercise regime. The average time someone used the robot — almost 51 days — was nearly twice as long as with paper — almost 27 days — and 40 percent longer than with the computer. "Even if you have an animated character that looks exactly like Autom on the computer screen, you cannot have the same interaction as you can with an actual robot," Kidd says. Kidd says the fact that people were able to humanise Autom made the information it gave them seem more credible. Maya, Casper and Robbie were among the names users gave their robots. Some even dressed them in hats and scarves.
  • We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat [CBC News] – Companies working off Nova Scotia's coasts have been told to supersize their lifeboats to accommodate bigger workers. The current standard for lifeboats is based on a person weighing 165 pounds in a survival suit. The proposed standard is 220 pounds. "The reality is such that the workforce is considerably larger nowadays," said Dave Scratch, the regulator's chief safety officer. A lifeboat may be rated for 50 people, but that doesn't mean they all fit. "We've had a number of [exercises and drills] where they actually wouldn't. We found that most lifeboats had to be downsized just because people were larger and wouldn't fit in the allocated locations," said Scratch. The board is following the lead of the U.K., which adjusted safety regulations after a study found offshore workers are heavier now than 20 years ago.


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