There are dogs, and then there are fancy dogs. This gift guide is for the fancy dogs. We're talking about the Roberts, the Katherines, the occasional Linda: The dogs who have somehow transcended the trappings of caninehood and acquired human names. Like fancy humans, these dogs have expensive taste and are probably snooty, but you still want to impress them. In fact, you might want to impress them desperately.
While design and behavior have always been linked, the connection is gaining a new significance thanks to the next-generation of technologies. Consequently, this next-generation of technologies will be unlike any we have seen so far. They will enable a new era of human augmentation, in which technologies look like us and act like us, often without our input. Human augmentation technologies will be game-changing for companies and their customers. They could open up new ways of engaging consumers -- from conversational interfaces that replace keyboards to digital assistants that autonomously make purchasing decisions -- and create a new generation of empowered "super consumers."
Each year, the artificial intelligence community convenes to administer the famous -- and famously controversial -- Turing test, pitting sophisticated software programs against humans to determine if a computer can "think." The machine that most often fools the judges wins the Most Human Computer Award. But there is also a prize, strange and intriguing, for the "Most Human Human." Brian Christian, a young poet with degrees in computer science and philosophy, was chosen to participate in a recent competition. This playful, profound book is not only a testament to his efforts to be deemed more human than a computer, but also a rollicking exploration of what it means to be human in the first place.
Robots and machines are getting smarter with the advancement of artificial intelligence, but they still lack the ability to touch and feel their subtle and complex surroundings like human beings. Now researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have invented a smart foam that can quite literally give machines more of a human touch, describing their results in the journal Nature Communications. The human sense of touch enables people to manipulate objects and operate effectively in unfamiliar environments. When machines that interact with humans possess this capability, robotic motion can be smoother, safer and more predictable. Take machines such as cleaning robots and robotic waiters as an example.