“I saw you might need assistance?”

We’ve been talking about patents in some classes this week, and the patents for novel and unusual ideas that sometimes garner Nobel and Ig Nobel Prizes.

This patent seems worthy of the Ig Nobel Prize. It’s a shopping cart that can read your pulse and temperature. Read the article to find out why Walmart thinks this is a good idea.


History in your pocket

We still have no women on U.S. paper currency. In 2016, a decision was made to put abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill and move former president Andrew Jackson to the back, but the current administration so far seems unwilling to do this.

There are plenty of other women who might also be appropriate, and Google has a new app out that uses A.R. to help you visualize this new faces on currency.

A research idea:

Find out how many women are on currency around the world, or in a country you’re studying about.

A writing / speaking prompt:

Which Japanese women do you think would be good to put on paper currency here? Who would you trade out and why?

Recipes for success (or not)

“The AI revolution will be led by toasters, not droids” (from Aeon Magazine)

This article talks about how we may expect AI to become “wonder boxes” in part because of the movies we see (think C-3PO in Star Wars or any of these). But at this stage, we shouldn’t expect too much. If the technolgoy is used for more specific purposes and skills, it’s much more successful.

There’s a funny, if a bit scary, algorithmically generated photo, and an equally funny (and scary) recipe generated by looking at 30,000 recipes of all different kinds. The result is … head-scratching:

The last part says “Bake at 350F for 2 to 1 hour.” Okay…

When the algorithm was created to look at only recipes of cakes, it did much better, though it’s still a recipe for something inedible.

The article goes on to explain that ANI (artificial restricted intelligence) — focusing on specific, narrower functions, is working well.


3rd generation bots will need therapy

This funny video imagines a future where A.I. robots are so human-like that they feel anxiety and need to go to therapy. Their “parents'” generation cured cancer and refroze the arctic. But this generation of bots suffers from growing up with too much privelege: they’re wealthy and educated but bored.

“Without any real purpose, they’ve gravitated towards fields like art and … deejaying.”

Pause the video at 1’30 and you can see the titles of the books, like “100 Years of Brexit Negotiations” and “The Rise and Rise of Lindsay Lohan”.