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Bizzare & Odd

The ‘Human Uber’ Lets You Hire Someone to Do Your Dirty Work

Wouldn’t you love to lead a full, rich social life without the hassle of getting out of bed in the morning?

Soon, you may be able to, thanks to a new prototype of a product called the ChameleonMask, which debuted earlier this week at the MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference in Singapore, NYMag.com reported.

Touted by creator Jun Rekimoto, deputy director of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., as a “human Uber,” the service would essentially allow customers to hire a living, breathing human to walk through the world in his or her stead.

“To do this,” Rekimoto wrote on his website, “a surrogate user wears a mask-shaped display that shows a remote user’s live face, and a voice channel transmits a remote user’s voice.” While the remote user looks through a video-enabled tablet attached to the front of the surrogate’s mask, the surrogate sees the same view through a concealed mobile phone inside the mask. The surrogate’s screen also displays any text instructions that the remote user might type in from home. [5 Intriguing Uses for Artificial Intelligence (That Aren’t Killer Robots)]

Simply put: It’s like Skype, but with a paid stranger wearing your face over his face!

Similar telepresence devices have existed for more than a decade, primarily in the form of roving robots that can be controlled by remote users. Such robo-surrogates have been used to attend meetings, conduct surgery and even help active-duty military members meet their newborn children from afar.

The ChameleonMask, however, is the first device to ditch the droids in favor of a good, old-fashioned Homo sapiens laborer, according to Rekimoto.

“This design is based on our hypothesis assuming physical and social telepresence can be embodied by such a surrogate human who imitates the remote user,” Rekimoto wrote. “It also eliminates many difficulties of teleoperated robots wandering in the environment. Our pilot study confirmed that people could regard the masked person as [the remote operating] person.”

In one pilot test, Rekimoto and his colleagues sent a ChameleonMask-wearing surrogate to a government office to obtain a document on a remote user’s behalf. It’s unclear from footage whether the document-fetching mission was a success, but the (mildly confused) office clerk readily addressed the face he saw on the screen, rather than the surrogate.

ChameleonMask does not have an official launch date as of yet. Until it does, you’ll just have to continue canceling all your social obligations like a normal person.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Bizzare & Odd

Strange sprite occurrences in Mexico: Signs of thing to come?

In the evening of July 11, 2020, the inhabitants of the Mexican province of Tabasco faced the following strange atmospheric phenomenon:

These obscure lights hung in the sky for several minutes, so some witnesses of the phenomenon could record everything on video:

The official explanation of what is happening, is the sprites. According to official statements, sprites are lightning, only very high. They do not last very long, therefore, they say, they have not been seen for such a long time and could only be discovered for the first time in 1989.

However, as is obvious from the video, “sprites” hung in the sky for a very long time. In addition, there were no thunderstorms and atmospheric fronts in this area, so they are not sprites by any means. Furthermore, if some kind of “sprites” were in nature – the Aztecs would draw them on their pyramids, and the ancient Romans would either have attributed the creation of sprites to Jupiter, which is metal lightning, or to a delegated authority to create sprites by other gods. Nevertheless, this is nothing – neither in myths, nor in rock art, so “sprites” are a completely new phenomenon that has only been observed in recent decades. But what is this phenomenon?

There are several explanations for the phenomenon and the most widespread suggests some global transformations of reality; Either something incomprehensible happens to the Earth, or something happens in the surrounding outer space, as a result of which such light phenomena appear in the sky.

The second explanation connects the “sprites” with the activities of aliens who either drove some new type of vehicles to the planet, or did something like terramorphing. Finally, there is also a third explanation that links the “sprites” to some secret military activity. It can be manipulations with the ionosphere or some holographic tricks with satellites, chemical trails and so on.

On the night of January 3rd to 4th of this year, the Iraqi people saw exactly the same thing:

And they saw the same thing a bit earlier in Texas and Canada:

The next important question is what should the Mexicans expect now?Nothing extraordinary happened after the sprites, although, given the incomprehensible source of this light, everything can occur soon – starting from an earthquake and ending with unknown developments.

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Meet Susan: how working remotely will change us in the future

© DirectlyApply

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected the labor market. Employers transferred employees to a remote mode of operation, scientists are trying to understand how the new conditions will affect us and what will happen if we keep them. 

Some large companies are already thinking about closing their offices and points of sale in favor of working through the Internet, and Twitter invited all employees to stay on the remote forever.

Susan model illustrating the effect of office work on the body / © DirectlyApply
Susan model illustrating the effect of office work on the body / © DirectlyApply

According to a study conducted by IWG (International Workplace Group) , before the pandemic, 80% of respondents would prefer a job with more flexible working conditions. In April of this year, commercial property provider Cresa presented its study, which showed that 29% of people who switched to remote work feel less productive than in the office, despite the control of their bosses.

At the same time, some companies noted that the hybrid mode of operation (combining an office and a remote office) seems to them effective, and they are going to use it further. But such a schedule can affect people’s health. The DirectlyApply job search platform has shown what consequences await the “remote” workers if they do not change their daily habits.

Its creators invited a group of clinical psychologists and fitness experts to study how udalenka affects a person physically and psychologically. Experts explained what changes will occur with this mode of operation after 25 years. As a result, Susan appeared – a model of a typical remote employee of the future, on which they analyze in detail all the negative consequences.

50% of people around the world work outside the office for approximately 2.5 days

So, a constant presence in front of the monitor will cause “computer vision syndrome”, in which the eyes become dry and sore, and vision – blurred. In addition, red spots will begin to appear on the squirrels, and large bruises under the eyes.

Lack of physical activity and sitting in the wrong position will lead to curvature of the spine, back and neck pain, obesity and a tech neck (the effect of constantly looking at mobile devices and tablets): the skin will sag around the neck, and a second chin will appear. From constant work on the keyboard, the hands are deformed. A lack of vitamin D will cause hair loss, the skin will turn pale, dull and wrinkle.

Susan / © DirectlyApply
Susan / © DirectlyApply

Finally, a person working remotely will be constantly under stress, which will cause a mode of work and lack of personal contacts. From this, in turn, blood pressure rises, and the state of health worsens even more.

To preserve it, the authors of the study advise to adhere to several rules. It is important to maintain a constant mode of work, regularly perform physical exercises and from time to time go out to recover after a day spent at the computer. Psychologist Rachel Allan notes:

“Adhering to one lifestyle and level of productivity is necessary to maintain emotional health when working remotely. Routine gives us the opportunity to manage our time and maintain our attention. Think about how you want to manage your time and what will work best in the wider context of your life.”

One of the main problems that we encounter when working remotely is the lack of direct contact with people. Staying alone for long periods can increase the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Dr. Allan believes that “some of our most important professional relationships come from informal conversations and unstructured moments that organically arise in the physical workplace.” According to her, “remote work may require us to consciously create opportunities for informal communication with colleagues.”

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1947 film predicts smartphones and other modern technology

Inspired by Barjavel’s essay, a 70-year-old documentary offers the evolution of portable pocket television as well as a way people interact with objects. Today, parallels are drawn between the objects, like smartphones described in a short documentary.

Anne-Katrin Weber, television historian at Lausanne University, said:

People using miniature television devices in public places; professional meetings held by telephones with a picture; cars equipped with television screens; shops that advertise their products on television: these topics are from the 1947 short film Television: Oeil de Demain. Produced and directed by Raymond-Millet.

The film combines documentary and science fiction sequences, while also offering a television image in post-war France, as well as creative speculation about future developments.

While Raymond-Millet’s work is almost forgotten today, his film received a standing ovation for “predicting our present” and although the small portable devices used in the film have long retractable antennas that resemble the first cell phones, it shows that 70 years ago smartphones already existed. In fact, they mirror today’s smartphones that are in the pockets of almost every person.

At the end of the film, the audience is transferred to the bedroom, where the man is having trouble sleeping. He seems to be “invoking” the hologram of a dancing woman who appears on the bed and looks at her while his wife is sleeping.

The film outline about upcoming television shows, really look like a fairly accurate forecast of modern digital media in terms of flexibility and hybridity of media technologies and their various forms of consumption.

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