Posts tagged “human”

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.

Core77 Wiretap: Portigal Consulting talk about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine

Check out Core77 Wiretap: Portigal Consulting talk about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine. Here’s a teaser

Wonder what the conversation is like at someone else’s shop? Ever wanted to go backstage at a design firm? We asked Steve Portigal, Julie Norvaisas, and Dan Soltzberg of Portigal Consulting to sit down and share what they’re talking about. Here’s their open mike/chin-wag/theory slam.

Dan: I envisioned sitting down here to have this conversation and trying to figure out what we’re really talking about. So I pulled this statement out of some notes Steve wrote the other day: “The Analog Human; The Digital Machine.” I thought that was really provocative, so I wanted to start by asking you to say a little more about this idea?

Steve: I feel like there’s this tension that goes on in business and especially in marketing, this conceit that we can take humans-you know, messy, irrational, organic-and somehow cut them open and figure out the binary, rational, predictable, money-making algorithms that determine what they do. You see all this harnessing of science, you know, whether it’s neuro-this or lie detector-that or psychotherapy-this that gets used in the service of, not helping people, but helping marketers crack the nut of what people want, where is the desire center in the brain. You know, that we can learn things about people in a way that is “true”-that is predictable and true, and will determine consumption patterns. I find the idea that we should be able to do that just fascinating, because that’s not the world of people that we live in as people, so why as marketers or designers or producers do we think that we should turn people into things that they really aren’t?

Julie: There’s another aspect of that that I find really fascinating too: that you’re just talking about it in this dichotomy like there’s “us,” and then there’s “people.” Well, we’re people, right? We’re people trying to understand people and trying to create these scientific methods of doing it is just-I think you’re absolutely right-a conceit, and we often kind of remove ourselves from the situation. And I think empathy is a much more powerful tool than science in that case.

Meanwhile, here’s a few links we’ve come across in the past few days that pick up on some of the themes we explore in our dialog.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Streisand effect – The Streisand effect is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no censorship had been attempted.. Origin is in reference to a 2003 incident in which Barbra Streisand unsuccessfully sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photograph of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns
  • NYC replaces automated toilets with staffed restrooms, a signifier of trust – But where the floors of the old restrooms had a tank-tread-like surface that automatically rotated across a scrubbing system after each use, and the toilets themselves were cleaned by a rim-mounted U-shaped traveling brush, the new ones are inspected, mopped and scrubbed — 15 to 25 times a day — by eagle-eyed, uniformed men and women.

    “It’s an attendant who knows what’s going on and has functions that go from sanitation to exchanging a few words with you to generally having a sense of what should be done,” said Jerome Barth, the partnership’s vice president for operations. “People see them, and they know the bathrooms are clean.”

  • Florida judges shouldn’t friend Florida lawyers on Facebook – A new advisory warns it may create the appearance of a conflict. Being a "fan" is still okay.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Japanese robots not finding their market, recession and high prices blamed (but not fundamental mismatch between need and solution?) – Roborior by Tmsuk — a watermelon-shape house sitter on wheels that rolls around a home and uses infrared sensors to detect suspicious movement and a video camera to transmit images to absent residents — has struggled to find new users. A rental program was scrapped in April because of lack of interest. Though the company won’t release sale figures, it has sold less than a third of the goal, 3,000 units, it set when Roborior hit the market in 2005, analysts say. There are no plans to manufacture more.

    That is a shame, Mariko Ishikawa, a Tmsuk spokesman, says, because busy Japanese in the city could use the Roborior to keep an eye on aging parents in the countryside. “Roborior is just the kind of robot Japanese society needs in the future,” Ms. Ishikawa said.

    Sales of a Secom product, My Spoon, a robot with a swiveling, spoon-fitted arm that helps older or disabled people eat, have similarly stalled as caregivers balk at its $4,000 price.

  • Chris Anderson on the differences between scarcity thinking and abundance thinking – When scarce resources become abundant, smart people treat them differently, exploiting them rather than conserving them. It feels wrong, but done right it can change the world. The problem is that abundant resources, like computing power, are too often treated as scarce.

Body Self-Image

Photos from my various travels depicting global cultural variations of the fundamental person icon.

Bali, Indonesia. They’re some pretty small people, so why does that first person seem so hulking and Cro-Magnon-y?

Taipei, Taiwan. Note the hip chapeau the stroller is sporting, and the protective headgear (?) worn by the worker.

London, UK. This fellow toils as above, but without the benefit of a helmet. Less chance of sunburn, maybe?

Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese cute aesthetic shows up in the large head and even larger cigarette.

Bangkok, Thailand. Who takes care of children?

Providence, RI, USA. Not just walking, but actively moving forward, dancing, and exuding joie de vivre.

And Karrie Jacobs has a nice example here.


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