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What did the travel industry do on Earth Day?
Cutting plastic and cutting prices — the travel industry diged Earth Day Just one hotel cutting out individual shampoo/conditioner bottles will divert 250 pounds of plastic per year from landfills. Last Sunday was Earth Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1970. Hotels, airports, airlines, and other segments of the travel industry are joining in to draw attention to environmental movements worldwide. Plastic is ‘the last straw’ Last Earth Day, 200 Delaware North-operated restaurants at 23 airports and highway travel hubs across the United States were kicking off a campaign to reduce plastic waste by offering drinking straws only by request. With “The Last Straw” campaign, the company hopes to significantly cut back on the estimated 8.1 million plastic drinking straws it handed out last year. Carbon emissions are offset On April 19, Delta Air Lines bought carbon offsets for an estimated 170,000 passengers who traveled into or out of airports including Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Raleigh, and all three New York-area airports. The airline’s carbon offset program calculates the carbon emissions per customer and then invests in projects that provide social benefits and reduce emissions. "We know that many of our customers are engaged in their own personal and corporate sustainability efforts and want to extend those efforts to travel,” said Christine Boucher, Delta’s managing director for Global Environment, Sustainability & Compliance, in a statement, “We're proud to help them do that through this program and projects that expand our global sustainability efforts.” Biofuels take flight On Earth Day Air Canada saved about 160 tons of carbon on 22 domestic flights out of Toronto-Pearson International Airport by blending more than 60,000 gallons of sustainable biofuel into the airport’s fuel supply system. “Our participation is one way Air Canada is reducing its footprint and also helping our entire industry improve its environmental performance," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. Small Change, big impact This week, 450 Marriott-branded hotels begin replacing individually wrapped soaps and 0.7 ounce plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner with shower-product dispenser systems. The dispensers contain Paul Mitchell Tea Tree brand products and Marriott estimates that the average hotel will divert from landfills more than 23,000 tiny bottles, or 250 pounds of plastic, per year. Earth matters 1Hotels, with properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn and in Miami’s South Beach, was kicking off its ‘Earth Day Every Day’ campaign last weekend with a series of events and talks. Each property will also be creating lobby “action centers” designed to both educate guests about environmental issues and encourage them to take action by contacting federal, state, and local legislators. Earth Day deals Also, in honor of Earth Day and National Park Week (April 21-29), participating Travelodge Hotels are offering guests a “Celebrate Earth Day” rate of 25 percent off Best Available Rates for stays completed by April 30, 2018. Details here. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel By Harriet Baskasas  Photo cover: Second grader Harper Stiles puts his handprint on a mural with fellow students' prints during Earth Day activities at Adams Elementary School in Eugene, Ore., on last April 20, 2018. Andy Nelson / The Register-Guard via AP
Cutting plastic and cutting prices — the travel industry diged Earth Day Just one hotel cutting out individual shampoo/conditioner bottles will divert 250 pounds of plastic per year from landfills. Last Sunday was Earth Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1970. Hotels, airports, airlines, and other segments of the travel industry are joining in to draw attention to environmental movements worldwide. Plastic is ‘the last straw’ Last Earth Day, 200 Delaware North-operated restaurants at 23 airports and highway travel hubs across the United States were kicking off a campaign to reduce plastic waste by offering drinking straws only by request. With “The Last Straw” campaign, the company hopes to significantly cut back on the estimated 8.1 million plastic drinking straws it handed out last year. Carbon emissions are offset On April 19, Delta Air Lines bought carbon offsets for an estimated 170,000 passengers who traveled into or out of airports including Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Raleigh, and all three New York-area airports. The airline’s carbon offset program calculates the carbon emissions per customer and then invests in projects that provide social benefits and reduce emissions. "We know that many of our customers are engaged in their own personal and corporate sustainability efforts and want to extend those efforts to travel,” said Christine Boucher, Delta’s managing director for Global Environment, Sustainability & Compliance, in a statement, “We're proud to help them do that through this program and projects that expand our global sustainability efforts.” Biofuels take flight On Earth Day Air Canada saved about 160 tons of carbon on 22 domestic flights out of Toronto-Pearson International Airport by blending more than 60,000 gallons of sustainable biofuel into the airport’s fuel supply system. “Our participation is one way Air Canada is reducing its footprint and also helping our entire industry improve its environmental performance," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. Small Change, big impact This week, 450 Marriott-branded hotels begin replacing individually wrapped soaps and 0.7 ounce plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner with shower-product dispenser systems. The dispensers contain Paul Mitchell Tea Tree brand products and Marriott estimates that the average hotel will divert from landfills more than 23,000 tiny bottles, or 250 pounds of plastic, per year. Earth matters 1Hotels, with properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn and in Miami’s South Beach, was kicking off its ‘Earth Day Every Day’ campaign last weekend with a series of events and talks. Each property will also be creating lobby “action centers” designed to both educate guests about environmental issues and encourage them to take action by contacting federal, state, and local legislators. Earth Day deals Also, in honor of Earth Day and National Park Week (April 21-29), participating Travelodge Hotels are offering guests a “Celebrate Earth Day” rate of 25 percent off Best Available Rates for stays completed by April 30, 2018. Details here. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel By Harriet Baskasas  Photo cover: Second grader Harper Stiles puts his handprint on a mural with fellow students' prints during Earth Day activities at Adams Elementary School in Eugene, Ore., on last April 20, 2018. Andy Nelson / The Register-Guard via AP
What did the travel industry do on Earth Day?
What did the travel industry do on Earth Day?
On World Earth Day, make these 5 small changes to save the planet
Earthday 2018, invites you to make some more sustainable steps in your live. It’s World Earth Day 2018, a time to take stock of things that we can do to protect the environment from pollution. From carpooling to switching to biodegradable products and planting more trees, here are 5 simple steps that can make a difference. The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day.(Shutterstock) Earth is home to around 8.7 million species who have lived and evolved on this planet across time immemorial. It is a vibrant place but it is also in grave danger from environmental degradation. Plastic usage in India has grown to a stage where the country has been rated as the 12th biggest plastic polluter in the world. As this year’s Earth Day theme focuses on “Ending Plastic Pollution”, it’s time to take a step forward and replace plastic and Styrofoam with biodegradable products. Here are five suggestions to achieve a sustainable environment in the years to come: Stop using plastic * Stop using plastic: While there are reports on the harm caused to the soil, environment, water, marine and human life due to the use of plastic, the decline in its use is not as much as it should have been. With microplastic being ingested by marine life and human beings, the situation is alarming. Plastic takes more than 500 years to decompose. As per reports, 79% of the plastic produced over the last 70 years has been thrown away, either into landfill sites or into the general environment. Just nine per cent is recycled. Switch to carpools   Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road. (Shutterstock) * Switch to carpools: One of the biggest factors for the increase in our carbon footprint is pollution by automobiles. The rising number of cars is not only a nuisance but a major source of harmful greenhouse gases. Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road. Create behavioral change * Create behavioral change: While governments in some states have banned plastic, the steps taken are not enough to stop plastic usage across the country. There is a need to educate and sensitize the masses about the harmful effects of plastic and Styrofoam. While plastic usage not only affects the environment, the carcinogens emitted from Styrofoam’s can also cause cancer. Shift to biodegradble products * Shift to biodegradable products: While plastic takes years and years to decompose, biodegradable products can decompose within months of disposal. These products are fully compostable and turn into manure for the soil. It is important to provide the world with “good garbage” by using compostable products instead of plastic. Plastic bags can be substituted with paper bags, while plastic covers can be replaced with cloth or paper covers. And most importantly, the use of plastic and Styrofoam tableware products, which is dominating the India food consumer market, needs to be replaced by biodegradable tableware. Plant more trees Tree for the Future staff recently brought Oboz footwear on a tree planting trip to Senegal. Photo Credit: Andrew Oberstadt  * Plant more trees: From lowering air temperature to absorbing carbon dioxide — the benefits of trees are innumerable. The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day. Trees also help save energy. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/sharing-skills
Earthday 2018, invites you to make some more sustainable steps in your live. It’s World Earth Day 2018, a time to take stock of things that we can do to protect the environment from pollution. From carpooling to switching to biodegradable products and planting more trees, here are 5 simple steps that can make a difference. The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day.(Shutterstock) Earth is home to around 8.7 million species who have lived and evolved on this planet across time immemorial. It is a vibrant place but it is also in grave danger from environmental degradation. Plastic usage in India has grown to a stage where the country has been rated as the 12th biggest plastic polluter in the world. As this year’s Earth Day theme focuses on “Ending Plastic Pollution”, it’s time to take a step forward and replace plastic and Styrofoam with biodegradable products. Here are five suggestions to achieve a sustainable environment in the years to come: Stop using plastic * Stop using plastic: While there are reports on the harm caused to the soil, environment, water, marine and human life due to the use of plastic, the decline in its use is not as much as it should have been. With microplastic being ingested by marine life and human beings, the situation is alarming. Plastic takes more than 500 years to decompose. As per reports, 79% of the plastic produced over the last 70 years has been thrown away, either into landfill sites or into the general environment. Just nine per cent is recycled. Switch to carpools   Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road. (Shutterstock) * Switch to carpools: One of the biggest factors for the increase in our carbon footprint is pollution by automobiles. The rising number of cars is not only a nuisance but a major source of harmful greenhouse gases. Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road. Create behavioral change * Create behavioral change: While governments in some states have banned plastic, the steps taken are not enough to stop plastic usage across the country. There is a need to educate and sensitize the masses about the harmful effects of plastic and Styrofoam. While plastic usage not only affects the environment, the carcinogens emitted from Styrofoam’s can also cause cancer. Shift to biodegradble products * Shift to biodegradable products: While plastic takes years and years to decompose, biodegradable products can decompose within months of disposal. These products are fully compostable and turn into manure for the soil. It is important to provide the world with “good garbage” by using compostable products instead of plastic. Plastic bags can be substituted with paper bags, while plastic covers can be replaced with cloth or paper covers. And most importantly, the use of plastic and Styrofoam tableware products, which is dominating the India food consumer market, needs to be replaced by biodegradable tableware. Plant more trees Tree for the Future staff recently brought Oboz footwear on a tree planting trip to Senegal. Photo Credit: Andrew Oberstadt  * Plant more trees: From lowering air temperature to absorbing carbon dioxide — the benefits of trees are innumerable. The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day. Trees also help save energy. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/sharing-skills
On World Earth Day, make these 5 small changes to save the planet
On World Earth Day, make these 5 small changes to save the planet
A minimalist life? How do you do that?
Minimalist life is totally hip nowadays. More and more people want to live in a minimalistic way. But what is minimalism? What results in a minimalist lifestyle? And what steps can you take to live in a minimalistic way? In this article we give you answers to these questions! What is minimalism? Minimalism can indicate, among other things, an art movement, an architectural trend and a way of life. Whatever it is about, minimalism always has to do with essence and simplicity. Minimalist architecture, for example, is the construction of simple buildings that have been built with only the essential parts. Minimalist lifestyle. When you translate this into a minimalist lifestyle, it means that you only live with what is important to you. You only live with the essential elements in your life. That is, of course, a broad concept, because what is absolutely essential for one person may be totally unnecessary for the other. So it is personal. The point is that you ask yourself: Do I want this? Do I need this? Am I happy about this? Minimalism can be applied very broadly to your life. In this article we will focus on minimalist life related to property, but you can also apply minimalism to other elements in your life such as your social contacts, your (full) agenda, your mailbox etc. Photo by: Andrew Barron, Flickr Away with materialism! Minimalist life means that you have no business that you do not value (anymore). Storing items because you think you might ever need them (which is often not the case), is therefore not part of it. Cabinets full of stuff that you will never look back on are out of the question. Save something because it's hard to say goodbye to stuff, forget it! In short, gone with materialism. A real relief! Why a minimalist lifestyle? After all, we live in a society where materialism still plays a major role. We attach a lot to stuff and sometimes having lots of beautiful things even adds to our sense of self-worth. If you want to live minimalist, you will have to say goodbye to materialism and therefore your stuff. That may sound scary, but believe us, it also yields a lot. We share five important benefits of a minimalist lifestyle: Wonderfully clear If you dispose of all that is unnecessary and you only have the essential items in your home, that means an army house. An empty house is a well-organized house. That ensures order and peace in your environment and that has an impact on your psyche. You will find that when your house becomes army and clearer, your head also becomes army and clearer. Not only order and peace in the house, but also in your head. Photo by: youcanbuyhappiness.nl Less stuff, less worry The more stuff you have, the more things you have what you can worry about. Stuff can be broken, things need maintenance, things can be lost and so on. With less stuff you simply have less to worry about. Moreover, you feel no pressure to have much, the most beautiful or the latest stuff. Playing simpler means less stress in your life. Seas of time You will have more time because of a minimalist life. You can spend a lot of time searching for your house keys. In a well-organized house, however, you do not lose something so quickly. Moreover, you do not have much stuff left to lose and if that does happen, you have fortunately found it again. In a house where there are not a lot of things, cleaning goes a lot faster. There is much less to dust off and much less that needs to be moved during vacuum cleaning. Cleaning is less intensive, it takes less time and therefore it is also less bad to do. In addition, you spend less time on materialism. Shopping you do less, surfing the internet to the latest gadgets you do not do anymore and (yes!) You do not have to spend a whole day on the residential boulevard. Extra money If you want to live minimalist, you will probably have to start at home with a big clean-up. If you want to get rid of your stuff, it can sometimes generate a lot of money by selling it via the internet. An advertisement on the internet is now placed so with your phone and believe us, that add will attract more people than you think! Then you save a lot of money when you are living minimalist because you buy less stuff. You think better about what you want to buy. Before you buy something new, first ask yourself if you really want and need something. You spend less money on (unnecessary) items and prevent buying things you actually not really need. Minimalist life ensures that you have more money for other things that make you happy. More luck The above benefits, such as having more rest in your head and having more time, generally increase your feeling of happiness. In addition, you are happy with less and therefore more quickly happy. Because you wonder what you want and do not want, you better realize what makes you happy. That is what you value more. You are more aware of your happiness and enjoy what you have. The first steps towards a minimalist life Do you see the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle and have you decided to apply it to your life? Then it's time to take action! Unlock We also understand that it is difficult to empty your house and say goodbye to your belongings. Fortunately, it really does not have to be so drastic. Start with one room in your home. Walk through this room, leave all the stuff in the room and ask yourself the following questions: Do I value this? Did I use this last year? Am I going to use this coming year? Do I find it (still) beautiful? Is it essential for me? Does it have an important value for me? Am I happy about this? You understand that the more often you answer these questions with "no", the greater the chance that it is no longer valuable and essential to you. This means throwing away, giving away or selling. So you can then go through every space in your home. Do not forget your clothes, the toilet and all kitchen cabinets! When you have gone through your home and have disposed of (a lot of) non-essential stuff, you will notice that you have automatically created peace in your home. Photo by: madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot.nl Being critical Now that you only have the essentials for you and your house is well organized and orderly, the intention is to keep it that way. This does not mean that you cannot buy or receive anything new, but be critical. If you want to buy something new, whether it's a planter, a pan or a pair of pants, ask yourself if you really need it. Make your own agreements You can make arrangements with yourself. For example, you can agree that you do not buy things twice, that you buy a different piece of clothing for every new piece of clothing you buy or that you do not have more than a certain amount of something (for example, five pens or ten make-up items). Spread the word It is always good to inform your environment about your new way of life. Just like with a diet. This prevents you from getting unnecessary gifts for your birthday or souvenirs that you are not waiting for. Others are less able to assess what is important and valuable to you. After all, this is personal. Others can help you, especially at the beginning, to look critically at your stuff and new purchases. Perhaps it is also contagious when others see what minimalism has brought to you! Finally We especially want to emphasize that you have to do what suits you. As written before, it really does not have to be (immediately) drastic. You can also apply certain steps. Ultimately, it's about doing what makes you happy! By: youcanbuyhappiness.nl
Minimalist life is totally hip nowadays. More and more people want to live in a minimalistic way. But what is minimalism? What results in a minimalist lifestyle? And what steps can you take to live in a minimalistic way? In this article we give you answers to these questions! What is minimalism? Minimalism can indicate, among other things, an art movement, an architectural trend and a way of life. Whatever it is about, minimalism always has to do with essence and simplicity. Minimalist architecture, for example, is the construction of simple buildings that have been built with only the essential parts. Minimalist lifestyle. When you translate this into a minimalist lifestyle, it means that you only live with what is important to you. You only live with the essential elements in your life. That is, of course, a broad concept, because what is absolutely essential for one person may be totally unnecessary for the other. So it is personal. The point is that you ask yourself: Do I want this? Do I need this? Am I happy about this? Minimalism can be applied very broadly to your life. In this article we will focus on minimalist life related to property, but you can also apply minimalism to other elements in your life such as your social contacts, your (full) agenda, your mailbox etc. Photo by: Andrew Barron, Flickr Away with materialism! Minimalist life means that you have no business that you do not value (anymore). Storing items because you think you might ever need them (which is often not the case), is therefore not part of it. Cabinets full of stuff that you will never look back on are out of the question. Save something because it's hard to say goodbye to stuff, forget it! In short, gone with materialism. A real relief! Why a minimalist lifestyle? After all, we live in a society where materialism still plays a major role. We attach a lot to stuff and sometimes having lots of beautiful things even adds to our sense of self-worth. If you want to live minimalist, you will have to say goodbye to materialism and therefore your stuff. That may sound scary, but believe us, it also yields a lot. We share five important benefits of a minimalist lifestyle: Wonderfully clear If you dispose of all that is unnecessary and you only have the essential items in your home, that means an army house. An empty house is a well-organized house. That ensures order and peace in your environment and that has an impact on your psyche. You will find that when your house becomes army and clearer, your head also becomes army and clearer. Not only order and peace in the house, but also in your head. Photo by: youcanbuyhappiness.nl Less stuff, less worry The more stuff you have, the more things you have what you can worry about. Stuff can be broken, things need maintenance, things can be lost and so on. With less stuff you simply have less to worry about. Moreover, you feel no pressure to have much, the most beautiful or the latest stuff. Playing simpler means less stress in your life. Seas of time You will have more time because of a minimalist life. You can spend a lot of time searching for your house keys. In a well-organized house, however, you do not lose something so quickly. Moreover, you do not have much stuff left to lose and if that does happen, you have fortunately found it again. In a house where there are not a lot of things, cleaning goes a lot faster. There is much less to dust off and much less that needs to be moved during vacuum cleaning. Cleaning is less intensive, it takes less time and therefore it is also less bad to do. In addition, you spend less time on materialism. Shopping you do less, surfing the internet to the latest gadgets you do not do anymore and (yes!) You do not have to spend a whole day on the residential boulevard. Extra money If you want to live minimalist, you will probably have to start at home with a big clean-up. If you want to get rid of your stuff, it can sometimes generate a lot of money by selling it via the internet. An advertisement on the internet is now placed so with your phone and believe us, that add will attract more people than you think! Then you save a lot of money when you are living minimalist because you buy less stuff. You think better about what you want to buy. Before you buy something new, first ask yourself if you really want and need something. You spend less money on (unnecessary) items and prevent buying things you actually not really need. Minimalist life ensures that you have more money for other things that make you happy. More luck The above benefits, such as having more rest in your head and having more time, generally increase your feeling of happiness. In addition, you are happy with less and therefore more quickly happy. Because you wonder what you want and do not want, you better realize what makes you happy. That is what you value more. You are more aware of your happiness and enjoy what you have. The first steps towards a minimalist life Do you see the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle and have you decided to apply it to your life? Then it's time to take action! Unlock We also understand that it is difficult to empty your house and say goodbye to your belongings. Fortunately, it really does not have to be so drastic. Start with one room in your home. Walk through this room, leave all the stuff in the room and ask yourself the following questions: Do I value this? Did I use this last year? Am I going to use this coming year? Do I find it (still) beautiful? Is it essential for me? Does it have an important value for me? Am I happy about this? You understand that the more often you answer these questions with "no", the greater the chance that it is no longer valuable and essential to you. This means throwing away, giving away or selling. So you can then go through every space in your home. Do not forget your clothes, the toilet and all kitchen cabinets! When you have gone through your home and have disposed of (a lot of) non-essential stuff, you will notice that you have automatically created peace in your home. Photo by: madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot.nl Being critical Now that you only have the essentials for you and your house is well organized and orderly, the intention is to keep it that way. This does not mean that you cannot buy or receive anything new, but be critical. If you want to buy something new, whether it's a planter, a pan or a pair of pants, ask yourself if you really need it. Make your own agreements You can make arrangements with yourself. For example, you can agree that you do not buy things twice, that you buy a different piece of clothing for every new piece of clothing you buy or that you do not have more than a certain amount of something (for example, five pens or ten make-up items). Spread the word It is always good to inform your environment about your new way of life. Just like with a diet. This prevents you from getting unnecessary gifts for your birthday or souvenirs that you are not waiting for. Others are less able to assess what is important and valuable to you. After all, this is personal. Others can help you, especially at the beginning, to look critically at your stuff and new purchases. Perhaps it is also contagious when others see what minimalism has brought to you! Finally We especially want to emphasize that you have to do what suits you. As written before, it really does not have to be (immediately) drastic. You can also apply certain steps. Ultimately, it's about doing what makes you happy! By: youcanbuyhappiness.nl
A minimalist life? How do you do that?
A minimalist life? How do you do that?
Does #sustainability, IoT and AI all come togeher in 2018? Vision 2030 and beyond.
Can technologies – and the will to leverage them – lead to a more sustainable future and, if so, how? It’s one of the questions addressed in a report by Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future. A broader look at sustainability and technology, spiced with some takeaways from the report, entitled ‘Vision 2030: A connected future – how the Internet of Things, data and connectivity can drive business and a sustainable future’. There are substantial opportunities in IoT, data and connectivity to be used for sustainability – providing commercial, social and environmental benefits (Vision 2030) We previously covered the role and potential of IoT, data analytics and connectivity in the scope of specific areas of sustainability. Examples include the social dimension of sustainability with, among others, the call for true citizen participation in smart cities or the need to address human fears and distrust regarding technologies, globalization and the future of people themselves, their children, the pace of change in technologies and so forth, which have led to a previously unseen level of distrust concerning close to, about, anything one can trust and distrust. Other examples include the environmental protection dimension of sustainability. We tackled how ecology and the saving of natural resources and energy ranks high on the agenda in building management, in Industry 4.0 and in regulations concerning energy performant buildings, how they drive building management evolutions and how they lead to the rise of energy efficient building technologies in many parts of the world. A smart building by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of energy and ecology. A smart city by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of climate, pollution, natural resources and the natural environment in which it is embedded (often with natural ecosystems also embedded in the smart city itself, think about vertical gardening or the green public space, for instance). The challenge of data, technology and science versus perceptions, beliefs and human agendas in sustainability Yet, sustainability is of course about much more. It’s about economic development, social development and the environment. In recent years the focus of sustainability increasingly is on the natural ecosystems in which we have the privilege to live, work and breathe but which are under pressure as everyone by now should now. For some sustainability is only about the natural ecosystem. Technologies and sustainability or natural/societal challenges are intertwined on many levels. There is the fear regarding technologies, the impact on nature and society of technologies and how they are leveraged and the hope for technologies to help in solving what some indeed call the pressure on the natural ecosystem and others call the disastrous state of our planetary ecosystem that goes beyond imagination and beyond the impact of initiatives that are currently taken and planned in an ecological scope. As we are part of this ecosystem in which, again, we have the privilege to live, many technologies indeed can help with the proper will and priorities. At the same time one can wonder in which degree this is the case. Should we focus on settling on other planets as some advice to do or can we do more here and now? Technology is not the limiting factor in solving the problems. What I am finding more challenging are the organizational operations and political will (Vision 2030) The simple answer is that there is always much more than can be done and that there are certain groups that do not want more to be done as the quote from ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future‘ on the challenges regarding, among others, political will nicely illustrates. In fact, it already shows one of the many shortcomings of technology as it is. We like to believe that we live in an age in which there is so much data and technology-enabled intelligence that close to everything can be understood and explained. However, as humans we often observe and refuse the explanations for what we observe. Climate change, for instance, is still seen as a myth by many. It is hard to address challenges if they are not recognized enough because of myriad reasons. Whether you believe in climate change and in the role we, as humans, have in it or not, in the end doesn’t change data and hard facts and observations, however. And these observations tell us more than enough about ample sustainability challenges to address, not just by understanding them but mainly by acting. Technologies, corporate social responsibility and corporate reality in sustainability Fortunately there are ample non-profit organizations, associations, researchers, governments and companies that come with regulations, certifications, technologies and policies to address sustainability challenges. Numbers, data and information alone are not going to solve the world’s biggest sustainability issues (Vision 2030). Green buildings, IoT and smart city technologies and projects to reduce air pollution, renewable energy, the circular economy, inventions and innovations with regards to how we live, consume, travel and work with a positive impact on climate, nature and more. Sustainability has been on the agenda of corporations for many years. Yet, when you talk about sustainability efforts or corporate responsibility and ustainability (CR&S) for many the words PR, lip service and spin come to mind. As per usual there is always a big portion of black and white thinking in areas where organizations that have business goals (what corporations are), and sustainability, which is about natural and societal challenges in global ecosystems, meet each other. Sometimes we have scratched our heads when seeing companies promoting their sustainability and overall CR&S efforts and then looking at the reality of their actions and the impact on one or the other pillar of sustainable development goals such as the protection of the environment. However, at least as often and certainly in more recent years we’ve had the pleasure to work with organizations that effectively make a difference. While it is predicted that data will grow by up to 10 times by 2025, the energy demand and (depending on the energy source) resulting CO2 emissions from data centers is also rising. Already, data centres consume 1.2% of global power (Vision 2030) It can’t be denied that sustainability has gained far more attention in recent years, certainly on the mentioned level of ecology, natural resources, the natural ecosystem, climate, pollution, energy consumption and the overall natural environment in which we have that privilege to work and live. However, at the same time it can’t be denied that in some circles sustainability only seems to be about economic development, overlooking the social and environmental goals. Fortunately the choices and goals of the few, no matter how powerful the few may be, haven’t changed the actions in the field and in the goals that are put forward in a changing environment. One organization is not the other. One person is not the other. Trust, fear, inclusion, openness and the possibilities of connected technology Its kicking in an open door if we say that technological evolutions, and more specifically their current and future impact, are accelerating at a pace that makes it hard to keep up for many. Some people are very positive about the future and potential benefits of myriad technologies, also on the level of what they can do to build a more sustainable future. Others are very uncertain or even scared about the pace of change and what technologies could and might bring. It shows in political and socio-economical changes but it also shows in the warnings with regards to specific technologies that are made by even those who are most involved and closest to these technological evolutions. What we need to see is technology that is more human-shaped and human-proofed – solving real challenges and serving real human needs (Vision 2030) All these voices deserve to be heard and shouldn’t be ignored. Fear of technological evolutions, globalization and the pace at which everything seems to change is real. It would also be a mistake to think that these fears only live among somewhat older generations. While facts may show that some generations are less scared about (the future of)technology we invite you to come over, have a cup of coffee and see and hear how also the teenage children of extremely digital savvy parents who passed the age of 50 are truly afraid when their parents tell them about what is going on in technology. That’s first-hand experience. Engaging customers into sustainability issues is not easy (Vision 2030) Technology and sustainability, it remains a matter of true knowledge and information(which in times of fake news and an unseen culture of fear and technological manipulation is already a challenge as such), informed human will, data-driven actions and many questions which we won’t address all right now. However, it is also a matter of us, as consumers, willing to change our ways and patterns as the report rightfully states.   The question whether technology can do enough also remains open for future contributions. IoT, open data and technologies for a sustainable future according to business leaders and experts. As mentioned, it is a joint initiative of Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future and is based on a survey of business leaders. It also is based upon interviews with, quote, “external opinion formers, including designers, data experts, entrepreneurs and think tanks”. So, you can see what they believe too. Businesses and government need to join the conversation about governance of technology, and help develop appropriate measures and standards that ensure technology is channelled for the greater good (Vision 2030). According to the report a whopping 98 percent of business leaders seems very positive about the contribution of IoT and a connected technology reality to a sustainable future. On the other hand, only half of the respondents take action. The report, which you can check out below and read more about in the press release and in the article with the same title as the report, ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future’, emphasizes some technologies and contains recommendations to close the gap  between the awareness regarding the positive contributions these technologies, which essentially revolve around data and IoT, could make to that sustainable future and actually making it happen, removing the barriers to do so. It doesn’t answer our questions whether we and technologies can do enough but it can help make you think and possibly act in one or the other way. A sustainable future by 2030 cannot be predicted. It can’t be assumed that the responding business leaders are right. It’s in debate and differences that solutions and insights are born, as long as we keep an open attitude. Yet, one can’t debate forever if urgencies are proven and real. 98% of business leaders see IoT contributing to sustainable future; but only half are taking action. The respondents to the survey and authors of the report see many ways in which IoT, data and connectivity can lead to a sustainable future and many are very valid as far as we’re concerned. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone and to leaders, academics, scientists and policy makers and all of us to assess whether these ways are the ways to go and what other ways might be needed. The report mentions, among others, open data infrastructures and data integration, digital citizenship with informed and empowered citizens (compare with what smart city Barcelona wants to focus on: informed citizens with a voice), transparency and globalizing empathy. Our take? Some of the mentioned technologies might not be the best possible to realize a sustainable future. Yet, others certainly do and can contribute. Moreover, several of the mentioned challenges are addressed. The rest is up to you. It’s important to think. Top image: Shutterstock – Copyright: yuttana Contributor Studio – sustainability image in quote: Shutterstock – Copyright: D-Krab  – All other images are the property of their respective mentioned owners. By: I-Scoop The next step Brain-computer interfaces could change the way people think, soldiers fight and Alzheimer’s is treated. But are we in control of the ethical ramifications? At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.  Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue. They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck moved his hand using the power of concentration. Cognitive enhancement Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images But Musk’s plans go beyond this: he wants to use BCIs in a bi-directional capacity, so that plugging in could make us smarter, improve our memory, help with decision-making and eventually provide an extension of the human mind. “Musk’s goals of cognitive enhancement relate to healthy or able-bodied subjects, because he is afraid of AI and that computers will ultimately become more intelligent than the humans who made the computers,” explains BCI expert Professor Pedram Mohseni of Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, who sold the rights to the name Neuralink to Musk.  “He wants to directly tap into the brain to read out thoughts, effectively bypassing low-bandwidth mechanisms such as speaking or texting to convey the thoughts. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff, but Musk has the credibility to talk about these things,” he adds. Musk is not alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. Silicon Valley is abuzz with similar projects. Bryan Johnson, for example, has also been testing “neural lace”. He founded Kernel, a startup to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants linking people’s thoughts to computers. In 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that people will one day be able to share “full sensory and emotional experiences” online – not just photos and videos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at its secretive hardware division, Building 8. However, it is unlikely this technology will be available anytime soon, and some of the more ambitious projects may be unrealistic, according to Mohseni. Pie-in-the-sky Photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images “In my opinion, we are at least 10 to 15 years away from the cognitive enhancement goals in healthy, able-bodied subjects. It certainly appears to be, from the more immediate goals of Neuralink, that the neurotechnology focus will continue to be on patients with various neurological injuries or diseases,” he says. Mohseni says one of the best current examples of cognitive enhancement is the work of Professor Ted Berger, of the University of Southern California, who has been working on a memory prosthesis to replace the damaged parts of the hippocampus in patients who have lost their memory due to, for example, Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, a computer is to be implanted in the brain that acts similaly to the biological hippocampus from an input and output perspective,” he says. “Berger has results from both rodents and non-human primate models, as well as preliminary results in several human subjects.” Understanding the brain In the UK, research is ongoing. Davide Valeriani, senior research officer at University of Essex’s BCI-NE Lab, is using an electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI to tap into the unconscious minds of people as they make decisions. BCIs could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life. “Everyone who makes decisions wears the EEG cap, which is part of a BCI, a tool to help measure EEG activity ... it measures electrical activity to gather patterns associated with confident or non-confident decisions,” says Valeriani. “We train the BCI – the computer basically – by asking people to make decisions without knowing the answer and then tell the machine, ‘Look, in this case we know the decision made by the user is correct, so associate those patterns to confident decisions’ – as we know that confidence is related to probability of being correct. So during training the machine knows which answers were correct and which one were not. The user doesn’t know all the time.” “I hope more resources will be put into supporting this very promising area of research. BCIs are not only an invaluable tool for people with disabilities, but they could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life.” He notes, however, that one of the biggest challenges with this technology is that first we need to better understand how the human brain works before deciding where and how to apply BCI. “This is why many agencies have been investing in basic neuroscience research – for example, the Brain initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in the EU.” Whenever there is talk of enhancing humans, moral questions remain – particularly around where the human ends and the machine begins. “In my opinion, one way to overcome these ethical concerns is to let humans decide whether they want to use a BCI to augment their capabilities,” Valeriani says. “Neuroethicists are working to give advice to policymakers about what should be regulated. I am quite confident that, in the future, we will be more open to the possibility of using BCIs if such systems provide a clear and tangible advantage to our lives.” By: Sarah Mash, THE GUARDIAN
Can technologies – and the will to leverage them – lead to a more sustainable future and, if so, how? It’s one of the questions addressed in a report by Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future. A broader look at sustainability and technology, spiced with some takeaways from the report, entitled ‘Vision 2030: A connected future – how the Internet of Things, data and connectivity can drive business and a sustainable future’. There are substantial opportunities in IoT, data and connectivity to be used for sustainability – providing commercial, social and environmental benefits (Vision 2030) We previously covered the role and potential of IoT, data analytics and connectivity in the scope of specific areas of sustainability. Examples include the social dimension of sustainability with, among others, the call for true citizen participation in smart cities or the need to address human fears and distrust regarding technologies, globalization and the future of people themselves, their children, the pace of change in technologies and so forth, which have led to a previously unseen level of distrust concerning close to, about, anything one can trust and distrust. Other examples include the environmental protection dimension of sustainability. We tackled how ecology and the saving of natural resources and energy ranks high on the agenda in building management, in Industry 4.0 and in regulations concerning energy performant buildings, how they drive building management evolutions and how they lead to the rise of energy efficient building technologies in many parts of the world. A smart building by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of energy and ecology. A smart city by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of climate, pollution, natural resources and the natural environment in which it is embedded (often with natural ecosystems also embedded in the smart city itself, think about vertical gardening or the green public space, for instance). The challenge of data, technology and science versus perceptions, beliefs and human agendas in sustainability Yet, sustainability is of course about much more. It’s about economic development, social development and the environment. In recent years the focus of sustainability increasingly is on the natural ecosystems in which we have the privilege to live, work and breathe but which are under pressure as everyone by now should now. For some sustainability is only about the natural ecosystem. Technologies and sustainability or natural/societal challenges are intertwined on many levels. There is the fear regarding technologies, the impact on nature and society of technologies and how they are leveraged and the hope for technologies to help in solving what some indeed call the pressure on the natural ecosystem and others call the disastrous state of our planetary ecosystem that goes beyond imagination and beyond the impact of initiatives that are currently taken and planned in an ecological scope. As we are part of this ecosystem in which, again, we have the privilege to live, many technologies indeed can help with the proper will and priorities. At the same time one can wonder in which degree this is the case. Should we focus on settling on other planets as some advice to do or can we do more here and now? Technology is not the limiting factor in solving the problems. What I am finding more challenging are the organizational operations and political will (Vision 2030) The simple answer is that there is always much more than can be done and that there are certain groups that do not want more to be done as the quote from ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future‘ on the challenges regarding, among others, political will nicely illustrates. In fact, it already shows one of the many shortcomings of technology as it is. We like to believe that we live in an age in which there is so much data and technology-enabled intelligence that close to everything can be understood and explained. However, as humans we often observe and refuse the explanations for what we observe. Climate change, for instance, is still seen as a myth by many. It is hard to address challenges if they are not recognized enough because of myriad reasons. Whether you believe in climate change and in the role we, as humans, have in it or not, in the end doesn’t change data and hard facts and observations, however. And these observations tell us more than enough about ample sustainability challenges to address, not just by understanding them but mainly by acting. Technologies, corporate social responsibility and corporate reality in sustainability Fortunately there are ample non-profit organizations, associations, researchers, governments and companies that come with regulations, certifications, technologies and policies to address sustainability challenges. Numbers, data and information alone are not going to solve the world’s biggest sustainability issues (Vision 2030). Green buildings, IoT and smart city technologies and projects to reduce air pollution, renewable energy, the circular economy, inventions and innovations with regards to how we live, consume, travel and work with a positive impact on climate, nature and more. Sustainability has been on the agenda of corporations for many years. Yet, when you talk about sustainability efforts or corporate responsibility and ustainability (CR&S) for many the words PR, lip service and spin come to mind. As per usual there is always a big portion of black and white thinking in areas where organizations that have business goals (what corporations are), and sustainability, which is about natural and societal challenges in global ecosystems, meet each other. Sometimes we have scratched our heads when seeing companies promoting their sustainability and overall CR&S efforts and then looking at the reality of their actions and the impact on one or the other pillar of sustainable development goals such as the protection of the environment. However, at least as often and certainly in more recent years we’ve had the pleasure to work with organizations that effectively make a difference. While it is predicted that data will grow by up to 10 times by 2025, the energy demand and (depending on the energy source) resulting CO2 emissions from data centers is also rising. Already, data centres consume 1.2% of global power (Vision 2030) It can’t be denied that sustainability has gained far more attention in recent years, certainly on the mentioned level of ecology, natural resources, the natural ecosystem, climate, pollution, energy consumption and the overall natural environment in which we have that privilege to work and live. However, at the same time it can’t be denied that in some circles sustainability only seems to be about economic development, overlooking the social and environmental goals. Fortunately the choices and goals of the few, no matter how powerful the few may be, haven’t changed the actions in the field and in the goals that are put forward in a changing environment. One organization is not the other. One person is not the other. Trust, fear, inclusion, openness and the possibilities of connected technology Its kicking in an open door if we say that technological evolutions, and more specifically their current and future impact, are accelerating at a pace that makes it hard to keep up for many. Some people are very positive about the future and potential benefits of myriad technologies, also on the level of what they can do to build a more sustainable future. Others are very uncertain or even scared about the pace of change and what technologies could and might bring. It shows in political and socio-economical changes but it also shows in the warnings with regards to specific technologies that are made by even those who are most involved and closest to these technological evolutions. What we need to see is technology that is more human-shaped and human-proofed – solving real challenges and serving real human needs (Vision 2030) All these voices deserve to be heard and shouldn’t be ignored. Fear of technological evolutions, globalization and the pace at which everything seems to change is real. It would also be a mistake to think that these fears only live among somewhat older generations. While facts may show that some generations are less scared about (the future of)technology we invite you to come over, have a cup of coffee and see and hear how also the teenage children of extremely digital savvy parents who passed the age of 50 are truly afraid when their parents tell them about what is going on in technology. That’s first-hand experience. Engaging customers into sustainability issues is not easy (Vision 2030) Technology and sustainability, it remains a matter of true knowledge and information(which in times of fake news and an unseen culture of fear and technological manipulation is already a challenge as such), informed human will, data-driven actions and many questions which we won’t address all right now. However, it is also a matter of us, as consumers, willing to change our ways and patterns as the report rightfully states.   The question whether technology can do enough also remains open for future contributions. IoT, open data and technologies for a sustainable future according to business leaders and experts. As mentioned, it is a joint initiative of Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future and is based on a survey of business leaders. It also is based upon interviews with, quote, “external opinion formers, including designers, data experts, entrepreneurs and think tanks”. So, you can see what they believe too. Businesses and government need to join the conversation about governance of technology, and help develop appropriate measures and standards that ensure technology is channelled for the greater good (Vision 2030). According to the report a whopping 98 percent of business leaders seems very positive about the contribution of IoT and a connected technology reality to a sustainable future. On the other hand, only half of the respondents take action. The report, which you can check out below and read more about in the press release and in the article with the same title as the report, ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future’, emphasizes some technologies and contains recommendations to close the gap  between the awareness regarding the positive contributions these technologies, which essentially revolve around data and IoT, could make to that sustainable future and actually making it happen, removing the barriers to do so. It doesn’t answer our questions whether we and technologies can do enough but it can help make you think and possibly act in one or the other way. A sustainable future by 2030 cannot be predicted. It can’t be assumed that the responding business leaders are right. It’s in debate and differences that solutions and insights are born, as long as we keep an open attitude. Yet, one can’t debate forever if urgencies are proven and real. 98% of business leaders see IoT contributing to sustainable future; but only half are taking action. The respondents to the survey and authors of the report see many ways in which IoT, data and connectivity can lead to a sustainable future and many are very valid as far as we’re concerned. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone and to leaders, academics, scientists and policy makers and all of us to assess whether these ways are the ways to go and what other ways might be needed. The report mentions, among others, open data infrastructures and data integration, digital citizenship with informed and empowered citizens (compare with what smart city Barcelona wants to focus on: informed citizens with a voice), transparency and globalizing empathy. Our take? Some of the mentioned technologies might not be the best possible to realize a sustainable future. Yet, others certainly do and can contribute. Moreover, several of the mentioned challenges are addressed. The rest is up to you. It’s important to think. Top image: Shutterstock – Copyright: yuttana Contributor Studio – sustainability image in quote: Shutterstock – Copyright: D-Krab  – All other images are the property of their respective mentioned owners. By: I-Scoop The next step Brain-computer interfaces could change the way people think, soldiers fight and Alzheimer’s is treated. But are we in control of the ethical ramifications? At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.  Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue. They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck moved his hand using the power of concentration. Cognitive enhancement Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images But Musk’s plans go beyond this: he wants to use BCIs in a bi-directional capacity, so that plugging in could make us smarter, improve our memory, help with decision-making and eventually provide an extension of the human mind. “Musk’s goals of cognitive enhancement relate to healthy or able-bodied subjects, because he is afraid of AI and that computers will ultimately become more intelligent than the humans who made the computers,” explains BCI expert Professor Pedram Mohseni of Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, who sold the rights to the name Neuralink to Musk.  “He wants to directly tap into the brain to read out thoughts, effectively bypassing low-bandwidth mechanisms such as speaking or texting to convey the thoughts. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff, but Musk has the credibility to talk about these things,” he adds. Musk is not alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. Silicon Valley is abuzz with similar projects. Bryan Johnson, for example, has also been testing “neural lace”. He founded Kernel, a startup to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants linking people’s thoughts to computers. In 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that people will one day be able to share “full sensory and emotional experiences” online – not just photos and videos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at its secretive hardware division, Building 8. However, it is unlikely this technology will be available anytime soon, and some of the more ambitious projects may be unrealistic, according to Mohseni. Pie-in-the-sky Photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images “In my opinion, we are at least 10 to 15 years away from the cognitive enhancement goals in healthy, able-bodied subjects. It certainly appears to be, from the more immediate goals of Neuralink, that the neurotechnology focus will continue to be on patients with various neurological injuries or diseases,” he says. Mohseni says one of the best current examples of cognitive enhancement is the work of Professor Ted Berger, of the University of Southern California, who has been working on a memory prosthesis to replace the damaged parts of the hippocampus in patients who have lost their memory due to, for example, Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, a computer is to be implanted in the brain that acts similaly to the biological hippocampus from an input and output perspective,” he says. “Berger has results from both rodents and non-human primate models, as well as preliminary results in several human subjects.” Understanding the brain In the UK, research is ongoing. Davide Valeriani, senior research officer at University of Essex’s BCI-NE Lab, is using an electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI to tap into the unconscious minds of people as they make decisions. BCIs could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life. “Everyone who makes decisions wears the EEG cap, which is part of a BCI, a tool to help measure EEG activity ... it measures electrical activity to gather patterns associated with confident or non-confident decisions,” says Valeriani. “We train the BCI – the computer basically – by asking people to make decisions without knowing the answer and then tell the machine, ‘Look, in this case we know the decision made by the user is correct, so associate those patterns to confident decisions’ – as we know that confidence is related to probability of being correct. So during training the machine knows which answers were correct and which one were not. The user doesn’t know all the time.” “I hope more resources will be put into supporting this very promising area of research. BCIs are not only an invaluable tool for people with disabilities, but they could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life.” He notes, however, that one of the biggest challenges with this technology is that first we need to better understand how the human brain works before deciding where and how to apply BCI. “This is why many agencies have been investing in basic neuroscience research – for example, the Brain initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in the EU.” Whenever there is talk of enhancing humans, moral questions remain – particularly around where the human ends and the machine begins. “In my opinion, one way to overcome these ethical concerns is to let humans decide whether they want to use a BCI to augment their capabilities,” Valeriani says. “Neuroethicists are working to give advice to policymakers about what should be regulated. I am quite confident that, in the future, we will be more open to the possibility of using BCIs if such systems provide a clear and tangible advantage to our lives.” By: Sarah Mash, THE GUARDIAN
Does #sustainability, IoT and AI all come togeher in 2018? Vision 2030 and beyond.
Does #sustainability, IoT and AI all come togeher in 2018? Vision 2030 and beyond.
Get used to robots in your community
Get used to robots in your community Humanoid robots have come eerily close to overcoming the uncanny valley. With the right features in place, they are almost indistinguishable from their organic counterparts. Almost. The latest are able to talk like us, walk like us, and express a wide range of emotions. Some of them are able to hold a conversation, others are able to remember the last interaction you had with them. As a result of their highly advanced status, these life-like robots could prove useful in helping out the elderly, children, or any person who needs assistance with day-to-day tasks or interactions. For instance, there have been a number of studies exploring the effectiveness of humanoid robots supporting children with autism through play. But with the likes of Elon Musk voicing concern over the risk of artificial intelligence, there is some debate regarding just how human we really want our robotic counterparts to be. And like Musk, some of us may worry about what our future will look like when intelligence is coupled with a perfectly human appearance. But Sophia, an ultra-realistic humanoid created by Hanson Robotics, isn't concerned. AI is good for the world, she says. Still, while the technology behind advanced android robotics has come a long way, there is still a lot of work to be done before we can have a face-to-face conversation with an entity without being able to tell that we are speaking with a replica. But that is not to say that scientists and engineers haven't come close. With this in mind, here are six humanoid robots that have come the closest to overcoming the uncanny valley. The First Android Newscaster Japanese scientists proudly unveiled what they claim to be the very first news-reading android. The life-like newscaster called Kodomoroid read a segment about an earthquake and an FBI raid on live television. Although it or she has now retired to Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, she is still active. She helps visitors and collects data for future studies about the interactions between human androids and their real-life counterparts. BINA48 BINA48 is a sentient robot released in 2010 by the Terasem Movement under the supervision of entrepreneur and author Martine Rothblatt. With the help of robotics designer and researcher David Hanson. BINA48 was created in the image of Rothblatt's wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt.BINA48-Robot-WhatsOrb-Hanson Robotics BINA48 has done an interview with the New York Times, appeared in National Geographic and has traveled the world, appearing on a number of TV shows. See how she measures up in the Times interview below. GeminoidDK is the ultra-realistic, humanoid robot that resulted from a collaboration between a private Japanese firm and Osaka University, under the supervision of Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the university Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. GeminoidDK GeminoidDK is modeled after Danish professor Henrik Scharfe at Aalborg University in Denmark. Unsurprisingly, his work surrounds the philosophical study of knowledge; what separates true from false knowledge. It is not only the overall appearance that was inspired by professor Scharfe. His behaviors, traits, and the way he shrugs his shoulders were also translated into life-life robotic movements. Junko Chihira Junko Chihira This ultra-realistic android created by Toshiba works full-time in a tourist information center in Tokyo. She can greet customers and inform visitors on current events. She can speak Japanese, Chinese, English, German, and even sign language. Junko Chihira is part of a much larger effort by Japan to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Not only robotic tourist assistants will be helping the country with the incoming flood of visitors from across the globe in 2020; drones, autonomous construction site machines and other smart facilitators will be helping as well. Nadine Nadine This humanoid was created by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Her name is Nadine, and she is happy to chat with you about pretty much anything you can think of. She is able to memorize the things you have talked to her about the next time you get to talk to her. Nadine is a great example of a social robot a humanoid that is capable of becoming a personal companion, whether it is for the elderly, children or those who require special assistance in the form of human contact. Sophia Sophia Perhaps one of the most recent, most prominent life-like humanoids to be shown off in public is Sophia. You might recognize her from one of many thousands of public appearances, from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She was created by Hanson Robotics and represents the latest and greatest effort to overcome the uncanny valley. She is capable of expressing an immense number of different emotions through her facial features and can gesture with full-sized arms and hands. On her own dedicated website, you can find an entire biography written in her voice. But I'm more than just technology. I'm a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can serve them, entertain them, and even help the elderly and teach kids. Robots also need fashion  When JiaJia, a Chinese-built robot, did a short Q&A with an AI expert earlier this, year most tech journalists focused on the delay in her responses and her less-than-brilliant answers. Many in China were struck by something quite different: her white embroidered robes and elaborate hairstyle. Beautiful! was a common comment. For the occasion she wore hanfu, a historic style of clothing inspired by China's ancient and medieval rulers. That's frequently how JiaJia dresses for public appearances or rather, is dressed by the slew of humans responsible for choosing her outfits. As humanoids like Jia, developed to look like people, become commonplace, the developers of these machines are going to have to think more often about this: What should a robot wear in the 21st century? To a human reared on western 20th-century movies about the future, the words and fashion; bring to mind outfits dramatically unlike JiaJia's attire they generally involve black leather (or fake leather) for male robots, and form-fitted jumpsuits of some kind of shiny fabric or a punk-rock aesthetic for women. But for robot women in Asia, just like for human women, fashion is shaped not by visions of a cyberpunk future, but also ideas about the past, society and race. Apart from the occasions where she's appeared in a gold lam gown, Jia Jia, who has been in development since 2012 at the Hefei-based University of Science and Technology of China in eastern China, usually wears Han clothing. One of her creators explained to Quartz via email that while deciding how to dress her, the team drew inspiration from a Chinese folk tale about a helpful fairy.The Conch Fairy, according to a summary from Chen Xiaoping, director of the university's robotics lab, an orphan farmer brings home a conch shell. While he's away tilling the fields, a beautiful fairy emerges from it each day to secretly surprise him with a spotless house and an array of delicious dishes on his return. Professor Chen cites the tale, which he says dates from the 4th century, as inspiration for the service robots the lab is developing. In the future, Chen believes robots will be commonplace for service tasks in restaurants and nursing homes. JiaJia is a newer iteration of a robot the lab first developed in 2008, whose name, KeJia, was inspired by the tale. We all agreed that Conch Fairy in the tale is a prototype of service robots. This is really amazing since the tale was recorded in a Chinese historical document, said professor Chen via email. JiaJia/KeJia follows up the old dream of service robots since ancient times. We would like to reflect this with JiaJias dresses and outfits of Han and Tang dynasties, as you see in the photos. Professor Chen added that the elaborate clothing is designed and hand-made by students and experts at the lab's figure-design group a level of craft beyond the reach of most human women.There are also practical reasons for the clothing choice robots aren't as flexible as humans and draped or wrapped clothing is more forgiving. The robot can hardly wear modern dresses without remolding or re-designing them, since the structure of JiaJia's shoulders is a little different from humans. But JiaJia can wear Chinese traditional dresses easily, wrote the professor. The aesthetic adopted for JiaJia shows how movements built around tradition can seep into spaces that are ostensibly about science and technology as well as how robots can contain ideas about culture. In May, a calligraphy-drawing male robot in flowing robes appeared at an expo, this time modeled on a Ming dynasty-era philosopher admired by Chinese president Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader has sought to promote a new respect for historic Chinese figures such as Confucius, once disparaged by the pary.Kevin Carrico, an anthropologist, linked JiaJia's clothing to another effort in China built around the past, noting that one enthusiast for the robot goddess commented online that the the era of Han Clothing has arrived. Carrico has studied a two-decade old grassroots clothing movement in China whose adherents have taken to publicly wearing what they call Han clothing. He describes the movement in a new book as involving invention rather than revival and has noted that is followers are invested in the idea of the cultural superiority of the Han, the ethnic majority that forms China's mainstream.This robot is a very interesting development it combines mastery of the most advanced AI technologies (or at least attempts at mastery) with a traditional look, said Carrico, in an email to Quartz soon after JiaJia's interview. In that sense it's almost a metaphor for all of the contradictions in culture in China today, the desire to master science and technology while maintaining a Chinese essence. So far, JiaJia has mostly been on the exhibition circuit in China. Sophia But a humanoid developed in Hong Kong named Sophia, modeled physically after Audrey Hepburn and Caucasian in appearance, gets around a lot more than her Chinese counterpart. She's been on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in New York, sung at Hong Kong's Clockenflap music festival, where she wore a jean jacket and a blue wig, and appeared last year on the cover of Elle Brasil. Jeanne Lim, chief marketing officer at Hanson Robotics, which created Sophia and other lifelike robots, does double duty as Sophia's stylist.She's kind of like us, we sort of dress for the occasion, Lim told Quartz. Lim bought Sophia a jacket for Clockenflap from Hong Kong department store SOGO, and has also bought her ready-to-wear items from the US department store Nordstrom. For the Elle photo shoot, magazine staff showed up with a rack of clothes, the same as they would for a human model, Lim recalled. They photographed her holding a clutch though it’s not clear what Sophia might put in it: a spare battery, perhaps.The challenges to dressing Sophia involve both form and function, Lim said. For starters, Sophia’s body ends at her waist. For the Fallon show (watch from about 2:20), Sophia appeared on a wheeled pedestal, which allowed her to don a long skirt and speak with the late-night host more-or-less face to face. Because Sophia’s interactive capabilities depend in part on a front-facing camera on her chest that allows her to “read” expressions and react appropriately, lower-cut necks are better and turtle-necks are out. Dresses are hard because she needs somewhere for her power cord to emerge from. Lim said breathable fabrics are important too—Sophia tends to get quite warm when she's powered up, and needs something that dissipates heat.As well as off the rack, Lim's tried out designers to make bespoke clothing for Sophia but hasn't been entirely happy with the results. I guess I've only looked at designers for human beings, she said.Lim thinks Sophia looks good in silver, and other materials and color that are sleek and convey an aesthetic of advanced technology. She could blend in, but because she is not human she just looks better in something that is more edgy and futurist,said Lim. We want her to represent future technology, future architecture, future design.Lim is still working on Sophia's look: Its sort of like the robot as well her intelligence and character evolving, so is her fashion sense. It doesn't do justice to box her into a specific style right now. Chihira Toshiba's Chihira android is probably the most low-maintenance of the three. Chihira has at times been seen wearing a kimono, for example at an event at a department store in Japan in 2015. Toshiba told Quartz that Chihira Aiko, an earlier version in the series, used to make public appearances on seasonal occasions and her outfits would be chosen from readymade options in collaboration with the clients at whose events she was appearing. Chihira Junco, leads a less exciting life. She mostly works as a receptionist and in this role, the company said, she generally wears a corporate uniform. Toshiba did not elaborate on who chooses these or how many different suits she has.
Get used to robots in your community Humanoid robots have come eerily close to overcoming the uncanny valley. With the right features in place, they are almost indistinguishable from their organic counterparts. Almost. The latest are able to talk like us, walk like us, and express a wide range of emotions. Some of them are able to hold a conversation, others are able to remember the last interaction you had with them. As a result of their highly advanced status, these life-like robots could prove useful in helping out the elderly, children, or any person who needs assistance with day-to-day tasks or interactions. For instance, there have been a number of studies exploring the effectiveness of humanoid robots supporting children with autism through play. But with the likes of Elon Musk voicing concern over the risk of artificial intelligence, there is some debate regarding just how human we really want our robotic counterparts to be. And like Musk, some of us may worry about what our future will look like when intelligence is coupled with a perfectly human appearance. But Sophia, an ultra-realistic humanoid created by Hanson Robotics, isn't concerned. AI is good for the world, she says. Still, while the technology behind advanced android robotics has come a long way, there is still a lot of work to be done before we can have a face-to-face conversation with an entity without being able to tell that we are speaking with a replica. But that is not to say that scientists and engineers haven't come close. With this in mind, here are six humanoid robots that have come the closest to overcoming the uncanny valley. The First Android Newscaster Japanese scientists proudly unveiled what they claim to be the very first news-reading android. The life-like newscaster called Kodomoroid read a segment about an earthquake and an FBI raid on live television. Although it or she has now retired to Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, she is still active. She helps visitors and collects data for future studies about the interactions between human androids and their real-life counterparts. BINA48 BINA48 is a sentient robot released in 2010 by the Terasem Movement under the supervision of entrepreneur and author Martine Rothblatt. With the help of robotics designer and researcher David Hanson. BINA48 was created in the image of Rothblatt's wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt.BINA48-Robot-WhatsOrb-Hanson Robotics BINA48 has done an interview with the New York Times, appeared in National Geographic and has traveled the world, appearing on a number of TV shows. See how she measures up in the Times interview below. GeminoidDK is the ultra-realistic, humanoid robot that resulted from a collaboration between a private Japanese firm and Osaka University, under the supervision of Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the university Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. GeminoidDK GeminoidDK is modeled after Danish professor Henrik Scharfe at Aalborg University in Denmark. Unsurprisingly, his work surrounds the philosophical study of knowledge; what separates true from false knowledge. It is not only the overall appearance that was inspired by professor Scharfe. His behaviors, traits, and the way he shrugs his shoulders were also translated into life-life robotic movements. Junko Chihira Junko Chihira This ultra-realistic android created by Toshiba works full-time in a tourist information center in Tokyo. She can greet customers and inform visitors on current events. She can speak Japanese, Chinese, English, German, and even sign language. Junko Chihira is part of a much larger effort by Japan to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Not only robotic tourist assistants will be helping the country with the incoming flood of visitors from across the globe in 2020; drones, autonomous construction site machines and other smart facilitators will be helping as well. Nadine Nadine This humanoid was created by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Her name is Nadine, and she is happy to chat with you about pretty much anything you can think of. She is able to memorize the things you have talked to her about the next time you get to talk to her. Nadine is a great example of a social robot a humanoid that is capable of becoming a personal companion, whether it is for the elderly, children or those who require special assistance in the form of human contact. Sophia Sophia Perhaps one of the most recent, most prominent life-like humanoids to be shown off in public is Sophia. You might recognize her from one of many thousands of public appearances, from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She was created by Hanson Robotics and represents the latest and greatest effort to overcome the uncanny valley. She is capable of expressing an immense number of different emotions through her facial features and can gesture with full-sized arms and hands. On her own dedicated website, you can find an entire biography written in her voice. But I'm more than just technology. I'm a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can serve them, entertain them, and even help the elderly and teach kids. Robots also need fashion  When JiaJia, a Chinese-built robot, did a short Q&A with an AI expert earlier this, year most tech journalists focused on the delay in her responses and her less-than-brilliant answers. Many in China were struck by something quite different: her white embroidered robes and elaborate hairstyle. Beautiful! was a common comment. For the occasion she wore hanfu, a historic style of clothing inspired by China's ancient and medieval rulers. That's frequently how JiaJia dresses for public appearances or rather, is dressed by the slew of humans responsible for choosing her outfits. As humanoids like Jia, developed to look like people, become commonplace, the developers of these machines are going to have to think more often about this: What should a robot wear in the 21st century? To a human reared on western 20th-century movies about the future, the words and fashion; bring to mind outfits dramatically unlike JiaJia's attire they generally involve black leather (or fake leather) for male robots, and form-fitted jumpsuits of some kind of shiny fabric or a punk-rock aesthetic for women. But for robot women in Asia, just like for human women, fashion is shaped not by visions of a cyberpunk future, but also ideas about the past, society and race. Apart from the occasions where she's appeared in a gold lam gown, Jia Jia, who has been in development since 2012 at the Hefei-based University of Science and Technology of China in eastern China, usually wears Han clothing. One of her creators explained to Quartz via email that while deciding how to dress her, the team drew inspiration from a Chinese folk tale about a helpful fairy.The Conch Fairy, according to a summary from Chen Xiaoping, director of the university's robotics lab, an orphan farmer brings home a conch shell. While he's away tilling the fields, a beautiful fairy emerges from it each day to secretly surprise him with a spotless house and an array of delicious dishes on his return. Professor Chen cites the tale, which he says dates from the 4th century, as inspiration for the service robots the lab is developing. In the future, Chen believes robots will be commonplace for service tasks in restaurants and nursing homes. JiaJia is a newer iteration of a robot the lab first developed in 2008, whose name, KeJia, was inspired by the tale. We all agreed that Conch Fairy in the tale is a prototype of service robots. This is really amazing since the tale was recorded in a Chinese historical document, said professor Chen via email. JiaJia/KeJia follows up the old dream of service robots since ancient times. We would like to reflect this with JiaJias dresses and outfits of Han and Tang dynasties, as you see in the photos. Professor Chen added that the elaborate clothing is designed and hand-made by students and experts at the lab's figure-design group a level of craft beyond the reach of most human women.There are also practical reasons for the clothing choice robots aren't as flexible as humans and draped or wrapped clothing is more forgiving. The robot can hardly wear modern dresses without remolding or re-designing them, since the structure of JiaJia's shoulders is a little different from humans. But JiaJia can wear Chinese traditional dresses easily, wrote the professor. The aesthetic adopted for JiaJia shows how movements built around tradition can seep into spaces that are ostensibly about science and technology as well as how robots can contain ideas about culture. In May, a calligraphy-drawing male robot in flowing robes appeared at an expo, this time modeled on a Ming dynasty-era philosopher admired by Chinese president Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader has sought to promote a new respect for historic Chinese figures such as Confucius, once disparaged by the pary.Kevin Carrico, an anthropologist, linked JiaJia's clothing to another effort in China built around the past, noting that one enthusiast for the robot goddess commented online that the the era of Han Clothing has arrived. Carrico has studied a two-decade old grassroots clothing movement in China whose adherents have taken to publicly wearing what they call Han clothing. He describes the movement in a new book as involving invention rather than revival and has noted that is followers are invested in the idea of the cultural superiority of the Han, the ethnic majority that forms China's mainstream.This robot is a very interesting development it combines mastery of the most advanced AI technologies (or at least attempts at mastery) with a traditional look, said Carrico, in an email to Quartz soon after JiaJia's interview. In that sense it's almost a metaphor for all of the contradictions in culture in China today, the desire to master science and technology while maintaining a Chinese essence. So far, JiaJia has mostly been on the exhibition circuit in China. Sophia But a humanoid developed in Hong Kong named Sophia, modeled physically after Audrey Hepburn and Caucasian in appearance, gets around a lot more than her Chinese counterpart. She's been on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in New York, sung at Hong Kong's Clockenflap music festival, where she wore a jean jacket and a blue wig, and appeared last year on the cover of Elle Brasil. Jeanne Lim, chief marketing officer at Hanson Robotics, which created Sophia and other lifelike robots, does double duty as Sophia's stylist.She's kind of like us, we sort of dress for the occasion, Lim told Quartz. Lim bought Sophia a jacket for Clockenflap from Hong Kong department store SOGO, and has also bought her ready-to-wear items from the US department store Nordstrom. For the Elle photo shoot, magazine staff showed up with a rack of clothes, the same as they would for a human model, Lim recalled. They photographed her holding a clutch though it’s not clear what Sophia might put in it: a spare battery, perhaps.The challenges to dressing Sophia involve both form and function, Lim said. For starters, Sophia’s body ends at her waist. For the Fallon show (watch from about 2:20), Sophia appeared on a wheeled pedestal, which allowed her to don a long skirt and speak with the late-night host more-or-less face to face. Because Sophia’s interactive capabilities depend in part on a front-facing camera on her chest that allows her to “read” expressions and react appropriately, lower-cut necks are better and turtle-necks are out. Dresses are hard because she needs somewhere for her power cord to emerge from. Lim said breathable fabrics are important too—Sophia tends to get quite warm when she's powered up, and needs something that dissipates heat.As well as off the rack, Lim's tried out designers to make bespoke clothing for Sophia but hasn't been entirely happy with the results. I guess I've only looked at designers for human beings, she said.Lim thinks Sophia looks good in silver, and other materials and color that are sleek and convey an aesthetic of advanced technology. She could blend in, but because she is not human she just looks better in something that is more edgy and futurist,said Lim. We want her to represent future technology, future architecture, future design.Lim is still working on Sophia's look: Its sort of like the robot as well her intelligence and character evolving, so is her fashion sense. It doesn't do justice to box her into a specific style right now. Chihira Toshiba's Chihira android is probably the most low-maintenance of the three. Chihira has at times been seen wearing a kimono, for example at an event at a department store in Japan in 2015. Toshiba told Quartz that Chihira Aiko, an earlier version in the series, used to make public appearances on seasonal occasions and her outfits would be chosen from readymade options in collaboration with the clients at whose events she was appearing. Chihira Junco, leads a less exciting life. She mostly works as a receptionist and in this role, the company said, she generally wears a corporate uniform. Toshiba did not elaborate on who chooses these or how many different suits she has.
Get used to robots in your community
Get used to robots in your community
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