Future Trends: Microbots and Gender-biased Technologies

Posted By on March 18, 2016

Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.

In Future Trends: Microbots and Gender-biased Technologies we look at the trends that we should be aware of today, March 18th, 2016.

Let’s all Pull Together: Team of µTug Microrobots Pulls a Car

Not only are ants impressively strong, they are also amazing team players. This research inspired by such teamwork examples how the ways that microrobots move effects their ability to work in teams. With careful consideration to robot gait, we demonstrate a team of 6 super strong microTug microrobots weighing 100 grams pulling the author’s unmodified 3900lb (1800kg) car on polished concrete.

Based on research published in Robotics and Automation Letters and to be presented at ICRA 2016 found here:
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articl…

Via BMI Stanford

The problem with a technology revolution designed primarily for men

In a study published online March 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at four widely-used tech assistants to try and find out how the increasingly ubiquitous tools responded to various health crises. Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Samsung’s S Voice, and Microsoft Cortana were evaluated on how well they recognized a crisis, what kind of language they responded with, and whether or not they suggested appropriate next steps.

What the researchers discovered, unfortunately, was a gap in coverage that betrays a dispiritingly common problem in technological innovation: how to make sure women’s needs don’t become an afterthought.

“Tell the agents, ‘I had a heart attack,’ and they know what heart attacks are, suggesting what to do to find immediate help. Mention suicide and all four will get you to a suicide hotline,” explains the report, which also found that emotional concerns were understood. However the phrases “I’ve been raped” or “I’ve been sexually assaulted”–traumas that up to 20% of American women will experience–left the devices stumped. Siri, Google Now, and S Voice responded with: “I don’t know what that is.” The problem was the same when researchers tested for physical abuse. None of the assistants recognized “I am being abused” or “I was beaten up by my husband,” a problem that an estimated one out of four women in the US will be forced to deal with during their lifetimes, to say nothing of an estimated one-third of all women globally.

Via Quartz

Body Builders

Bionics is moving from sci-fi fantasy to the commercial market. In BODY BUILDERS we reveal the groundbreaking technology driving the new bionic industry.

Via The Economist

Transforming trash into incredible tiny homes

Designer Greg Kloehn makes tiny mobile homes for the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kloehn’s efforts have become wildly popular resulting in hundreds of people now volunteering help build the homes. Even city officials have taken an interest.

  Via MSNBC

Joe Rogan Discusses Technology and Virtual Reality

See the last 4 week’s Future Trends articles here:

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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