Frances Ashcroft’s new book details how electricity in the body fuels everything we think, feel or do. She tells Fresh Air about discovering a new protein, how scientists are like novelists and how she wanted to be a farmer’s wife.
Tagged with “spark” (7)
This week on Spark: We find out all about Angelina, the AI program that designs simple video games from scratch. Also, how to make robots more lovable, how a Roomba can work in harmony with your cat, and whether humans are tempted to destroy robots if given the chance. More robot fever, on Spark!
Michael Cook is a PhD student at Imperial College, and he’s fascinated by video games. He’s also fascinated by artificial intelligence, and he’s fascinated by creativity. And so, he’s found the perfect research – exploring whether Angelina, an artificial intelligence program he’s created, can design video games from scratch.
We know that human beings attach emotions to robots. We tend to think of them as anthropomorphic, even if we know they’re not alive. Young designer Julia Ringler wanted to know if humans would actually hurt robots, given the chance and how humans would feel about doing it. She engineered an experiment to find out.
As we move towards a future with robots and smart devices everywhere, the focus is usually on designing these objects to be as smart as people. But what if we created them instead to be as smart as a puppies? That’s a design philosophy Matt Jones embraces. He’s a principal at a design company called BERG and he wondered if it was possible to develop user interfaces to be well, a little more loveable. He calls his design theory “Be as smart as a puppy” (or BASAAP) – instead of designing for “artificial intelligence” we should emphasize “artificial empathy”.
Carlos Asmat is a young Montreal engineer with an idea for a social networking service: a social network for robots. As we get more and more ‘smart’ objects in our environment – from sensors to Roomba robots – what would happen if you could connect those objects so they can share updates and data?
Jon Kalish brings us the latest DIY trend: hackerspaces popping up at public libraries across North America. He’ll tell us why the re-purposing of public libraries is revolutionizing the way we think about libraries, turning them into places where we can make things.
Last week, Nora interviewed David Weinberger about libraries of the future. David is a writer, a senior research at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and he’s the co-director of The Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Nora and David discussed two projects the lab is working on, both related to metadata – information about information – and how it impacts the ways we find and navigate knowledge.
So if you were waiting for a public radio podcast about library metadata (and really, who hasn’t?) today’s your lucky day.
Cathi Bond is here to talk about the trend of niche publications – having a subscription that’s not to a magazine, but to actual physical objects that come in the mail. It’s a different, analog approach to customization. Hyper-curated almost. And Cathi and Nora wonder if it’s an example of a post-digital fetishization of artifacts.
This week on Spark: There’s been a sharp decline in the number of young people going into the field of Computer Science lately. We try to find out why so-called digital natives lack interest in how our digital world works, and why learning to program should be basic literacy for us all.
On this episode of Spark: Programmers, Hybrids, and Cyborgs – oh my!
This week, Merlin looks at one of the most overlooked aspects of having a sustainable blog: managing expectations.