Archive for March, 2009

Google is breaking up marriages

March 31, 2009 Comments off

Google has already taken a good deal of grief over its Street View technology, which allows the user to get a ground’s-eye view of maps. The feature has drawn criticism from a number of privacy watchdogs, including Canada’s, but now Google can add another hater to the list: adulterers.

According to Metro in the United Kingdom, a London woman has launched divorce proceedings after seeing her husband’s distinct Range Rover parked outside a female friend’s house. Apparently the husband was supposed to be on a business trip at the time. Doh!

Speaking of Street View and Canada, Google last week announced it would be shooting pictures in a number of Canadian cities. Of course, because they have nothing better to do, our politicians are already objecting. I, for one, find it an amazing technology that’s very handy when you’re heading somewhere new. I’ve been late for interviews a few times because I had no idea where I was going - any new tech that helps with that is surely welcome.

Categories: 3D, britain, Google, internet, photos, sex

Child porn definitions called into question

March 30, 2009 Comments off

Here’s a crazy can of worms: prosecutors have charged two 13-year-old Pennsylvania girls with distributing child pornography. Now, just about no sane person approves of child pornography, but the problem in this case is that the material in question were pictures the girls took of themselves in their skivvies on their cellphones. The photos were then sent around in a process being dubbed “sexting.” The girls, if convicted, could face prison time and would qualify as sex offenders, even though the prosecutors are apparently only wanting them to attend “re-education” courses to teach them the errors of their ways.

To complicate the issue, the girls’ parents and the American Civil Liberties Union last week sued the district attorney, claiming they did nothing wrong. “I certainly don’t want pedophiles looking at my daughter in her bra, but I don’t think that was the intention to begin with,” one of the girls’ mothers told the Associated Press. “This is absolutely wrong on [the DA's] part. It’s abuse of his authority.”

The case mirrors a recent incident wherein a 14-year-old teen girl posted nude photos of herself on MySpace, apparently because she wanted her boyfriend to see them. She too was charged with distributing child porn:

The cases bring up many questions regarding all the technology we have at our fingertips. Obviously what the girls in each case did was pretty dumb and will likely come back to haunt them in the future, but is it illegal to distribute nude pictures of yourself? Can it be considered a form of free speech? Should the rules be different based on your age? And how can parents effectively teach their kids to avoid exposing themselves (literally) online?

UPDATE: A judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the DA from pressing charges.

Categories: internet, mobile, online, photos, sex

Sex with robots? Not if, but when

March 27, 2009 Comments off

Today’s post follows on the logic of a few of the last posts. If you take the fully functional, anatomically correct, orgasm-having robot of yesterday’s post together with the Real Touch computerized sex toy of a few days ago, put it together with the Real Doll (warning: fake nudity) or the plethora of other sex dolls being created, and some advanced artificial intelligence, well… you start to come up with a very interesting picture. Namely, sex robots.

Humans having sex with robots is a theme that’s been speculated about for as long as there’s been science-fiction. If you take the above formula, however, we’re on the very cusp of it. Le Trung, the creator of the Aiko robot who I interviewed this week, said the only reason we haven’t heard about the mass production of sex robots is because of the high research and development costs behind such a process. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening on a small scale. Here’s a video with more:

Here’s a longer interview with Love + Sex With Robots author David Levy, on Al Jazeera no less.

Showing off the robot "girlfriend"

March 26, 2009 Comments off

I took a trip up to Brampton (a suburb of Toronto) yesterday to interview Le Trung, the fellow who got a ton of media attention a few months ago - like here, here and here - for building himself a robot “girlfriend.” Aiko, the aforementioned robot, was in a bit of disrepair as she was recently damaged during transport from one of her many public appearances, but she was still working well enough to wow me.

Trung showed me a myriad of Aiko’s capabilities, including her ability to recognize faces, read text put in front of her, and react to touches. The robot seemed a little bit primitive compared to some of the things we’ve seen out of Japan - i.e. dancing and singing robots - but in actuality, Aiko is quite advanced. Most Japanese robots are purpose-built to do one or two things well, but Trung’s creation is multi-talented.

Of course, inquiring minds want to know whether Aiko has any other, ahem, talents (wink, wink). Trung says she is not built for sex, but she does have sensors in the appropriate areas and is programmed to have an orgasm. Sex robots are entirely possible right now, he said, but nobody is making them because of the required funding. Check out the video to see what he says (note: turn up your volume as he’s pretty soft-spoken):

Categories: robots, sensors, sex

Bionic warriors to smash puny humans

March 25, 2009 Comments off

And here I thought Lockheed Martin only built aircraft and missiles! No sirree Bob - Lockheed Martin is very obviously a full-service military contractor, if this new soldier exoskeleton technology is any indication. The exoskeleton - suitably named the HULC (rarr! smash puny humans!) - will enable soldiers to carry up to 200 pounds with minimal effort, the company says. As we can see in the somewhat-boring demo video below, the HULC could also have some very obvious commercial applications. I seem to remember a day-long hike in the mountains of Peru many years ago that almost killed me. A bionic suit that lightened my load would have been most welcome. I wonder what such a skeleton would sell for?

One thing is for sure - the military’s work on bionic exoskeletons means we are one step closer to bringing my favourite Jean Claude Van Damme movie to life.

Categories: army, bionics, lockheed martin, u.s., war