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Empathy, Authority, and Virtual Reality

Suggestion has been used for a long time by pseudo-psychics, hypnotism, and other form of magicians.  Regardless of some straight-out frauds, this is telling of the way our mind interprets perceptions does not conform to a deterministic way people sometimes try to see their ‘reasoning’.

An important factor on most of the explored means of tapping into suggestion was interaction with other person (the hypnotist).  Authority plays a major role in this.  As human communication is more and more mediated by technology, would our perception of authority be migrating as well?  One may see a big data miracle if amazon guess someone is pregnant by her shopping history, but take for granted if a local pharmacist do so?

Would empathy, hand-in-hand with suggestion and authority, be migrating to be mediated by virtual reality?

Not surprisingly, as businesses get the taste of the market potential of this shift, here is a new batch of articles on the matter.  Too many in this trendy topic to pick one, sorry.

Inside the Empathy Machine: VR, Neuroscience, Race and Journalism” by Joel Beeson at Media Shift.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell steps into virtual reality at Stanford lab” by Bjorn Carey

The Limits of Virtual Reality: Debugging the Empathy Machine” by Ainsley Sutherland from MIT

The Future of Empathy-Generating Virtual Reality Is Here” by Bill Desowitz

How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine” – TED Talk with Chris Milk


Is It Really So Bad If We Prefer Virtual Reality to Reality?” by Sveta McShane


“Science Isn’t Broken” by CHRISTIE ASCHWANDEN

Article from fivethirtyeight.com:

“If you follow the headlines, your confidence in science may have taken a hit lately.

(..) International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology recently accepted for publication a paper titled “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List,” whose text was nothing more than those seven words, repeated over and over for 10 pages. Two other journals allowed an engineer posing as Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel to publish a paper, “Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations.”

Revolutionary findings? Possibly fabricated. In May, a couple of University of California, Berkeley, grad students discovered irregularities in Michael LaCour’s influential paper suggesting that an in-person conversation with a gay person could change how people felt about same-sex marriage. The journal Science retracted the paper shortly after, when LaCour’s co-author could find no record of the data.

Taken together, headlines like these might suggest that science is a shady enterprise that spits out a bunch of dressed-up nonsense. But I’ve spent months investigating the problems hounding science, and I’ve learned that the headline-grabbing cases of misconduct and fraud are mere distractions. The state of our science is strong, but it’s plagued by a universal problem: Science is hard — really fucking hard.Continue reading

“You Have a Notification: Welcome to the 24/7 Work Culture” by VIVEK WADHWA

Article featured in Singularity Hub‘s series ‘Future of Work’

“Netflix recently announced an unlimited paid-leave policy that allows employees to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption. It is trying to one-up tech companies that offer unlimited vacation as a benefit. These are all public-relations ploys and recruiting gimmicks. (…)

Urgent or not, the emails continue for 24 hours a day—even on weekends. (…)

The reality is that there is no 9 to 5 any more. We are always connected, always on, always working— (…) as we became chained to the Internet. (…) There is no longer an excuse for not working.” read full article

Interspecies organ transplant

It is now long awaited that some day humans will be able to raise human spare parts in other species.  Pigs are among the favored donors – perhaps due to the similar diet habits.

As this story by Antonio Regalado reports, researchers are presenting impressive progress in swapping hearts and kidneys among pigs and baboons (that would be us).  Get me a new liver and a double dry martini to celebrate, please.

And then we know as well that (other) scientific experiments made mice smarter by inserting human brain cells in them.

Now we just have to be careful how to mix (shake, don’t stir) these practices.  Make the pig too smart and I bet it won’t give away a heart so easily.

“When Machines Can Do Most Jobs—Passion, Creativity, and Reinvention Rule” by VIVEK WADHWA

story from Singularity Hub:

“(…) Now, by my estimates, the half-life of a career is about 10 years(…)  within a decade (…)  five years. Advancing technologies will cause so much disruption to almost every industry that entire professions will disappear. (…)

 Change is happening so fast that our children may not even need to learn how to drive. (…) 

 English, psychology, history, and arts majors have been at a financial disadvantage over the past few decades. Parents have encouraged their children to go into fields such as finance, engineering, law and medicine, because they’re where the big money has been. But that is changing.(…) . It doesn’t matter whether they want to be artists, musicians, or plumbers; the key is for children to understand that education is a lifelong endeavor and to be ready to constantly reinvent themselves.

We will all need to be able to learn new skills, think critically, master new careers, and take advantage of the best opportunities that come our way.

Technology is now as important a skill as are reading, writing, and mathematics. (…)

But this too is changing (…)  design and the soft sciences will gain increasing importance.

(…) Education will always be a platform on which to build success, but it really doesn’t matter what you study. (…) ”  Read full story

Tangible Holographic Plasma

beer delivery soon?

“Mind reading viable as scientists reconstruct speech from brain activity” By Matthew Humphries

Article from GEEK

“…speech is produced using the cerebral cortex of the brain, meaning with the right electrodes and system in place we should be able to reconstruct speech just from brain waves.

This is what a team from Cognitive Systems Lab at KIT and the Wadsworth Center in New York has managed to do. Using 7 epileptic patients who volunteered for the study, they each had an electrode array attached to the surface of their cerebral cortex in order to monitor brain waves related to speech. A combination of this information combined with machine learning and linguistic knowledge allowed a system to be created that can reconstruct what is being spoken.

The video below shows the speech decoding system in action.” read full article

the world. live from ISS soon streaming HD video




Above videos are teasers.  UrtheCast plans to open it's Iris camera oepn for streaming late July.

Iris, installed at the ISS, capture videos in 4k.  Each pixel in the images is about 1 meter on earth.

Beware of robots from the future…