Amazon Go

Amazon Go launching another store!

In what seems like a move to eradicate all jobs for customer advisors everywhere. Amazon are launching another Amazon go store. After the succesful launch of it’s first cashier-less store in Seattle in December 2016.

It’s second store will too open in Seattle and launched earlier this month. It’s part of the gradual roll out across America with other Amazon Go stores looking to open in LA, San Francisco and Chicago.

Amazon’s second store will be a smaller venue. It won’t feature a working kitchen like it’s main store. Neither will it include a liquor section. The smaller store is more aimed toward the office workers. Therefore will focusing on offering it’s customers baked goods and ready to go meals. Plus it’s own Blue-Apron-Like meal deals. It’s open from 7AM-7PM Monday – Friday and is situated on 5th and Marion in downtown Seattle.

Amazon Go: A Re-Cap.

Amazon Go is the world’s first cashier-less ‘regular’ store. It allows customers to enter the store by scanning a code on their app on a smartphone. You are then tracked by Amazon within the store by a ton of cameras above you. Amazon will then bill you when you take items off the shelves directly to the account which you used to enter the store. Therefore nulling the need fo a cashier. Verge are reporting that the cameras within the store are so smart they can even distinguish between three Amazon employees who dressed in Pikachu costumes to simulate robberies.

Would you use this if it was brought to the UK? What worries do you have or do you just see this as a way as us moving forward with technology? We shall see what the future holds for the jobs of many many people. However, some could argue that it’ll create more jobs?

(Verge)

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Lego Technic Car

LEGO do the IMPOSSIBLE?! The LEGO Technic Car

A week ago, Lego seemingly teased something that nobody could ever think could become reality. But we all imagined as a kid. a LEGO Technic Car. Who in their right mind would want to build a LEGO Technic Car? Think of all the intricacies that it will need. The moving parts. Not forgetting an engine?

Well LEGO have built a whole city in Windsor, producing a car is nothing short of impossible for them. While many of us remain skeptical it certainly seems that way. Afterall, LEGO got us thinking after a rather teasing tweet last week:

LEGO are teasing a working proper car that’s in similar shape to a Bugatti Chiron. Looking at the pieces it seems as though they’re the correct size. LEGO do make some spectacular creations so it’s not too far outside the realms of possibility for them.

Using the hashtag #BuildForReal, LEGO are putting a lot on the line here. Even if it’s just a marketing stunt, by saying ‘For Real’ it gets people expecting and can’t be letting people down!

However….it seems as though LEGO are proving everybody wrong…..

It looks like they have done the impossible, well hats off to them, because it certainly got us interested! It was a very long week waiting for LEGO reveal, what they had actually created. Many thought it was just a 1:1 replica. But they proved us wrong, they proved everyone wrong! It really is a LEGO Technic Car!

Nothing is impossible with Lego Technic! LEGO have once again gone above and beyond to amaze us all. We are seriously impressed.

(Gizmodo)

Now, let’s just go and dig out our LEGO Technic and see what we can come up with…..

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Windows 95

Windows 95 Lives Once AGAIN!

Windows 95 is BACK! Plus you can put it on your Mac too! What was once a powerhouse in home computing is now used as an indicator of what’s possible on modern computing devices.

We’ve seen the triumphant Windows 95 loaded on to just about anything these days. From an Apple Watch, an Android smartwatch, and the Xbox One. However the Verge are reporting that you can now run the ancient OS on an app on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. Guess the phrase “there’s an app for that” really does cover everything!

A developer from the awesome guys over at Slack, Felix Rieseberg is the man behind the web app. The nostalgia inducing app is based on an existing web project that currently supports Windows 95, 98, amongst others. You can use the Windows 95 web app, just like you did before. Play Minesweeper (how many hours was killed with THAT!?) or even use word pad. Only programme that doesn’t work is Internet Explorer.

Download it here it will work on both macOS and Windows. It’ll only take up a small amount of RAM when using it too, the Verge are reporting that it takes up 200MB

(Verge)

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Mavic 2

Mavic 2: Brand new Drones!

Mavic 2 Pro

Made in Sweden, Hasselblad cameras are renowned for their iconic ergonomic design, uncompromising image quality, and Swedish craftsmanship. Since 1941, Hasselblad cameras have captured some of the world’s most iconic images – including the first moon landing.

Co-engineered in partnership with Hasselblad after two years of tireless research, the Mavic 2 Pro comes equipped with the all-new Hasselblad L1D-20c camera. The L1D-20c possesses Hasselblad’s unique Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution (HNCS) technology, helping users to capture gorgeous 20-megapixel aerial shots in stunning color detail.

1-inch CMOS Sensor

The brand new 1-inch CMOS sensor has an active sensing area four times more effective than the original Mavic Pro. The large sensor also means better performance in low-light environments with a more extensive ISO range, max ISO lifted from 3200 to 12800.

10-bit Dlog-M Color Profile

The Mavic 2 Pro supports a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile that yields higher dynamic range for more flexibility in the grading room. The system records over 1 billion colors (compared to the 16 million colors from traditional 8-bit color coding technologies) and retains more in-depth details in both highlights and shadows. Now you can capture the subtlest gradations at sunset or sunrise, leaving greater space for post-production.

HDR Video

With 4K 10-bit HDR support, the Mavic 2 Pro can be plugged into a 4K TV with HLG and will immediately play back footage with the right color tones. The brighter highlights and increased contrast are what make HDR video so appealing.

Adjustable Aperture

The f/2.8-f/11 adjustable aperture delivers outstanding image quality both in high and low-light environments. When shooting in low light, set the aperture to f/2.8 to allow more light in and to capture bright and clear photos. When shooting in well-lit environments, set the aperture to f/11 to lower the shutter speed and make your videos smoother.

Mavic 2 Zoom

Powered by a 1/2.3-inch 12-megapixel sensor with up to 4x zoom, including a 2x optical zoom (24–48 mm), 4 the Mavic 2 Zoom is all about dynamic perspectives. Capture everything from wide angle to mid-range shots for even more creative options.

More Expressive Mid-Range Shots

Compared to a 24mm wide angle lens, the 48mm telephoto lens compresses your perspective, enhancing the parallax effect for a classic cinematic look. 4 Now a whole new world of aerial photography is open to explore with even more epic, cinematic shots.

A Worry-Free Way to Find a View

When shooting Full HD video, 4x lossless zoom (including 2x optical zoom) gives you a closer view of faraway subjects, making unique scenes more accessible to capture at a distance. This option also helps you maintain a safer distance from buildings, vehicles, animals, and people.

Quick and Accurate Focus

Hybrid autofocus on the Mavic 2 Zoom combines phase and contrast detection for higher focus accuracy with an increased focus speed of up to 40% more than before. The autofocus tracking system makes subjects appear clear and sharp when zooming in and out.

Zoom During Flight

Dolly Zoom is a new QuickShot for the Mavic 2 Zoom, offering an otherworldly perspective in a fully-integrated drone. Dolly Zoom automatically adjusts focus when flying, adding an intense, warping visual effect to your video. When flying manually, you can also set proper focus speed values for even more creative shot options.

Super Resolution Photos

The Mavic 2 Zoom also has a brand new Super Resolution feature. An asset when capturing the vivid details your landscape photography deserves. When taking a picture with a 24 mm equivalent field-of-view, 4the camera will capture and patch nine photos with its telephoto lens, resulting in a 48-megapixel super resolution photo. Compared to ordinary panoramas, the super resolution photos retain the original look of the shooting targets with a more accurate composition.

(DJI)

There is so much more information on DJI’s website! It details all about the cool things that the new DJI Mavic 2 can do! Such as  Active Tracking 2.0 which includes: High speed tracking, trajectory prediction, precise recognition and obstacle sensing. Lowlight improvements, hyperlapse capabilities and longer and quiet flight time. However to get the low down on what these super cool Mavic 2 drones can do head on over to their website here.

 

 

Check out their press release here:

 

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Robot peer pressure

Robot Peer Pressure

According to a study published by the journal of Science Robotics, researchers from Germany and the UK demonstrated that children are susceptible to peer pressure by robots.  Scarily the findings, say the researchers that as robots and AI’s become more and more intergrated into our lives, we as humans need to be careful how they influence us. Especially the young. As it can be stated that the AI and robots could change the way that we act. Our entire behaviour could be changed by Robot peer pressure.

Authors of the paper were asking:

“if robots recommend products, services, or preferences, will compliance […] be higher than with more traditional advertising methods?”

The researches made an effort to note that robots are being introduced to plenty of other places where social influence could be important. These social environments include places of health care, education and security.

The paper was a study of a social experiment on social conformity. It’s slightly been adjusted for the modern day robotics environment. It’s called the Asch experiment.

Asch Experiment:

The experiment was that there was no correct answer to the ambiguous autokinetic experiment.  How could we be sure that a person conformed when there was no correct answer?

Asch (1951) devised what is now regarded as a classic experiment in social psychology, whereby there was an obvious answer to a line judgment task.  If the participant gave an incorrect answer it would be clear that this was due to group pressure.

Aim: Solomon Asch (1951) conducted an experiment to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform.

Procedure: Asch used a lab experiment to study conformity, whereby 50 male students from Swarthmore College in the USA participated in a ‘vision test.’ Using a line judgment task, Asch put a naive participant in a room with seven confederates. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task.  The real participant did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves.

asch (1951) line study of conformity

Groupthink

Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious.  The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last.

There were 18 trials in total, and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trails (called the critical trials).  Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view. Asch’s experiment also had a control condition where there were no confederates, only a “real participant.” (Simple Psychology)

 

The test is used to illustrate how humans can be influenced by groupthink. To the point where people will deny even the most obvious of facts.

One of the cards used in the original Asch test. Participants had to say which line on the right was closest in length to the line on the left.

Image: Creative Commons

Group Influence

In the experiment Asch invited 50 males students to take part in the line vision test. They were all asked to sit around a table. They were then shown a line on a chart next to a group of three other lines in varying lengths. Each labled A, B, Or C. They were then asked which line is the closest in length to the first. While the answer is obvious only one participant is ‘real’ the rest are actors.

The actors would all vote for an incorrect answer, the test was done to see if group responses can influence someone. In the test, the real one. The person who isn’t an actor would 1/3rd of the time cave to social pressure. Giving the same wrong answer as those before them. (The real participant, always would answer last) Over the course of 12 different tests 75% of participants conformed at least once while a quarter never conformed to social pressure.

Robot Peer Pressure

It is here where scientists wanted to see if it would work with Robots. Tony Belpaeme, a professor of robotics at the University of Plymouth, looked to repeat this experiment with humans/robots. With both adults and children to see what the outcome would be.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Adults didn’t feel the need to follow the example of the robot peer pressure. However, when the children were involved with the test, they wre much more likely to cave to social pressure from the robots.  “When the kids were alone in the room, they were quite good at the task, but when the robots took part and gave wrong answers, they just followed the robots,” said Belpaeme.

 

Images showing the robot used (A); the setup of the experiment (B and C); and the “vision test” as shown to participants (D).

Photo by Anna-Lisa Vollmer, Robin Read, Dries Trippas, and Tony Belpaeme

Results

The Verge are reporting that although robot peer pressure and the susceptibility of the children that’s most shocking, it’s also the fact that adults weren’t swayed which is also significant. As it goes against the theory in sociology known as “computer are social actors” (CASA) The theory deems that humans tend to interact with computers as if they are humans. The results of the 1996 study highlights that there are limits to this theory.

Belpaeme though was unswayed by this, as he stated that they were ‘expected’ as the robots that they used in the experiment were ‘too toylike’ to be influential to the adults. After the experiment the adults were quizzed and they informed researchers that they though the Robots were malfunctioning or weren’t intelligent enough to correctly answer.

As a result Belpaeme suggests that if they were to undertake the experiment again, with more impressive robots, the results may be different.

Human behaviour around robots

The Verge are reporting that while this experiment doesn’t prove the CASA theory, it does highlight human behaviour when it comes to robots. Previous studies have proved that we’re more likely to enjoy interacting with robots that are more human like. Or those that reflect the same personality as us.

We as humans even stereotype robots based on their perceived gender, as shown by the virtual assistant. (Which begs the question, why do nearly all of them have female names, Siri, Cortanta, Alexa?) Social instincts are also affecting our behaviour when talking to robots. It’s been said that we find it more difficult to turn off robots if they’re begging us not to.  Another study even suggested that we are better at paying attention if we are being watched by a robot that we perceive as mean.

Children Vs Adults

The report means that it’s children whom are more likely to give in to robot peer pressure. While researchers warn that adults aren’t immune. The dynamic between us and robots is something that we need to pay attention to. Even more so as AI is getting highly sophisticated. A good example of how easily we can be swayed by social pressure is the personal data scandal from Cambridge Analytica. If combined with social AI, it could be very messy. Belpaeme states ‘This technoligy will be used as a channel to persuade us, probably for advertising’. However it could also be used in a merciless manner.

While robot peer pressure can be used for good, such as educational settings to in still good learning habits, furthermore there’s evidence that robots can help develop social skills in autistic children.

(Verge)

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Apple Health

Apple Health Improvements

According to a new job listing Apple are working on improving their health data. Apple Health may soon be a lot more deeper than it is currently according to job listings that are undearthed by CNBC. It is said that Apple are working on a dedicated health chip. A dedicated health chip that will help improve the way that it processes biometric data from it’s array of devices. Apple currently design their own custom chops for iPhone and it’s rumoured to be doing the same for the Macs as early as 2020. That being said that Apple Watch is powered by a custom S3 chip. Yet if the report is to be believed future Apple Watches will include a specific special Apple Health chip to improve health data reporting.

Job Listings

CNBC are reporting that the new job listings will promote Apple’s indications towards health data. It could be that a chip that will be solely responsible for processing data for the heart rate for example, alongside helping to improve battery efficiency as there are two chips doing the work instead of one. Consequently it could be one better chip that simply helps share it’s workload better, thus, improving battery life.

The Verge are reporting that one listings read (before they were removed)

“We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analog as well as digital ASIC architects.”

“Help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors.” 

How will it be used?

Verge are reporting that they aren’t aware if Apple are looking at integrating better health tracking and monitory features or sensors into its existing chip. Or if it’s interested in developing a custom chop that would work in tandem with other hardware components. Apple currently uses a custom optical sensor for measuring your ticker. Consequently a new chip could work with the existing sensor to help process the data more efficiently.

The A11 Bionic chop thats in both the iPhone X and 8, contain a special Neural Engine. This chip is dedicated to helping speed up AI related tasks such as Animoji and FaceID. A new Apple Health chop could work similarly. It could be responsible for the standard computing tasks in addition to health ones. When this new chip may come to fruition?  It may not be for some time as the Verge are reporting that the listings are newer.

 

(Verge)

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PicDrift

PicDrift: Bringing a new lease of life to photos!

PicDrift are an amazing company that do absolutely amazing things with photos. They bring a whole new look on what we believe photos to be and blends them with video to make truly amazing pieces of content. Blending together videos and pictures to make breathtaking pieces of art. It’s not a gif though! Far from it. The pieces of content that they make are high quality animations to bring your ideas and creations to life!

They cater to everyone too, videographers who want to breathe a new lease of life into their video projects. Wedding Photographers who want to bring something different to their work. Website designers who want to draw people into their content and make themselves stand out from the rest. PicDrift also create social media posts for yourselves or influencers who want to wow their followers.

Simply send them your photo(s) and they will do the rest. They can make animations from almost any still photo! They then build layers from your image(s) and create custom animations that can last from 5-20seconds long. Then it’s delivered to you in whatever format you wish. Be that if you want them to be ready for social media posts, any size web banner or broadcast quality videos for content as high as 4K video projects!

We think that they’re absolutely incredible and think that you’ll love them!

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Apple's worth $1TRILLION

Apple’s worth $1TRILLION!

So, Apple’s worth $1TRILLION, yes you read that right, Apple’s worth $1TRILLION!! (We have to say it $1TRILLION because even we can’t fathom how much money that is!)

Apple have become the world’s first company to hit the $1TN mark after it’s stock soared on theback of some excellent financial results. It wasn’t before a slight delay though as the stock app on Apple’s iPhone jumped the gun a little before it was officially announced that they had broken through the ceiling. For those wondering what $1TN looks like with lots of zeros, well it’s a lot. $1,000,000,000,000. That’s many many MANY zeros!

The impressive stock value was due to the biggest gain in over 18months for apple. Rising above the $207.04 a share threshold to tip them over the edge into Trillion dollar territory. This is a 5.89% rise from the close of $201.50 last Wednesday. The rise in stock is reportedly due to impressive sales of iPhone X’s, Macbook Pro’s and other expensive products on Apple’s product line.

Apple’s worth $1TRILLION is arguably down to the market changing iPhone. Which has been a decade since the fist one was released and now we can no longer imagine a non smart smartphone. Apple’s worth $1TRILLION marks the company’s shift from a small player in the computers market to a global electronics powerhouse. Selling a whole range of goods from smartwatches, hi-fi’s, phones and of course computers. All from a company that was started 42 years ago. Originally based in a small garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak too!

Before the boom

All this seems very impressive, but it was in 1997 when Apple were very close to bankruptcy with stock falling as low as $1. It wasn’t until the company hired back, (after firing) Steve Jobs as the interim CEO. The company then asked Microsoft for a $150million cash infusion to get Apple back on it’s feet. Then, the rest is history.

(Metro)

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Hot summer

Hot Summer, Hot Earth?

Summer may be great but there could be doom ahead. It’s a hot summer of summer 2018. All across the world everyone is enjoying this glorious weather that we’re having. Though could there be something sinister approaching? It’s all our own fault too. 

Hothouse Earth

Scientists believe that we could be heading to an area that we cannot turn back from. A tippy point that triggers an area of global warming that would trigger a domino effect. Consequently affecting the future of mankind. This is deemed ‘Hothouse Earth’ a period. Which will pose ‘severe risks for health, economies, political stability, and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans.’ This was described by international scientists who wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study shows that long term, the planet would stabilise at a global average of 4C-65C above pre-industrial levels.

If this increase occurs, areas of the planet, LARGE areas of the planet around the equator would become uninhabitable. Sea levels are already at an all time high. Up to 60meters higher, as a result threatening coastal cities livelihoods.

Tipping points

The threshold for the tipping point will be reached when average global temperatures are 2C higher than they were pre-industrial era. We are already at a 1C increase and as summer 2018 shows we are still rising. Feedback mechanisms which will act like a ‘row of dominoes’ will spin the world as we know it into such a state of uncontrollable climate change. Even if we do things when it’s too late. It will be the absolute definition of too little too late. The research states that theere are 10 feedback processes that are predicted it kick in at 2C warming.  While the ‘tipping’ elements could turn natural carbon storage systems or sinks into hugely powerful greenhouse gas emitters.

Furthermore the dangers identified were thawing permafrost, release of methane trapped on the ocean floor, weakening lands, ocean carbon sinks, increased carbon dioxide production by ocean bacteria, Amazon rainforest die-back, coniferous forest die-back, reduced northern hemisphere snow cover, loss of Arctic summer sea ice, reduced Antarctic sea ice and melting polar ice sheets. That’s a lot of scary stuff! Which by the sounds of it, will only make the earth hotter!

Which is echoed by the scientists in the report:

‘Our analysis suggests that the Earth system may be approaching a planetary threshold that could lock in a continuing rapid pathway toward much hotter conditions – Hothouse Earth. This pathway would be propelled by strong, intrinsic, biogeophysical feedbacks difficult to influence by human actions, a pathway that could not be reversed, steered or substantially slowed. ‘Where such a threshold might be is uncertain, but it could be only decades ahead at a temperature rise of (around) 2C above pre-industrial.’

Avoiding it

So, how do we avoid this nightmare?

According to the research, it would require deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Plus a very concerted effort to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. How do you do this? Well, the report highlights that it can be tackled by preserving natural carbon sinks and using technology. It is not a matter of scaring people anymore. The issues facing Earth are very real! .

‘In the context of the summer of 2018, this is definitely not a case of crying wolf, raising a false alarm. The wolves are now in sight.’ Dr Phil Williamson, from the University of East Anglia

Furthermore, Chris Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London said:

‘Previous research has shown that an increase in the mean global temperature of 11-12C would make more than half of the land area currently occupied by humans uninhabitable. So, a ‘runaway’ warming to a new and uncontrollable hot state would represent an existential threat to humanity and the majority of existing species.’

(Metro)

Well doesn’t this sound lovely?

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alien contact

Alien contact?

Has there been some Alien contact??? Are we seeing (or rather hearing) our alien brothers and sisters? That’s what scientists think with this latest discovery!

A fast burst of audio

They have detected a rare deep space signal called a ‘fast radio burst’. While the source of the signal is as of yet unknown. Astronomers are claiming that the sound can be from an all manor of things. Such as exotic stars, exploding black holes or, as we all like to romanticise, alien civilisations! We may finally have Alien contact! The reason we have been able to pick up this sound is due to a Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME). It’s so powerful and so sensitive it was able to pick up the emission, which has the lowest frequency of any burst that we as human’s have been able to record.

As a result, whatever produced the sound has been named ‘‘FRB 180725A’ which in turn is allegedly said that it must have been very powerful. There have only ever been two dozen fast radio bursts, the first which was disovered in 2007. They’re deemed as being extremely unusual, consequently why the theory of alien lifeforms being put forward.

What could it be?

Metro are reporting that Christopher Conselice, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, told MailOnline the discovery of the latest FRB is very helpful! As it could help to pave the way for a greater understanding of what causes FRBs:

‘We don’t know their origin, they could be caused by a number of things,’ he said. ‘The fact the lower frequency FRB has been detected provides hope that we can understand more about where they come from and what causes them. ‘They could be caused by exploding stars, supernova, exotic stars like pulsars, magnetars, neutron stars or massive black holes at the centre of distant galaxies. ‘It could even be some other physical mechanism that we don’t yet understand.’

Difficulties

While it can be argued that it is unlikely that it is of alien origin. As we are unable to identify what caused the FRB, we cannot rule out Alien contact. Speaking in 2011 Avi Loeb, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics research institute, stated of FRB’s:

 ‘Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven’t identified a possible natural source with any confidence…An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.’

(Metro)

Could we be hearing Aliens?

What would actually happen if we did make contact with Aliens?

Also, would the government keep it a secret or let us all know? Would there be pandemonium in the streets?

What do Aliens look like? Furthermore, is there a possibility that Aliens could be other humans on another planet and we are all exactly the same but live on different planets?

So many questions!?! Let us know what you think by reaching out on our socials! @howtokillanhour on all platforms!

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