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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:47 pm 
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I used to be a rabid fan of cyberpunk author William Gibson. He envisioned a Japanese garden with a wandering robotic crab of tastefully rusted iron, scissors for its claws, always at work trimming the grass. I want one for my yard.

I might settle for a Roomba one day, but then I'd have to get a cat. No Roomba is complete without a cat to ride it.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:37 am 
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My workplace now has food delivery robots--a fleet of 25 of them. They're like a six wheeled cooler with headlights and sensors on the front. They have a little LED pennant flying on a whip antenna. They're all over campus, everywhere you walk you see them. Students put an app on their phone, place their order, the food place puts it in the cooler, and the robot drives across campus on the footpaths and sidewalks, then notifies the student when it's reached the dorm. He comes down and unlocks the cooler using his phone.

They're cute looking and they seem pretty smart--they stop at crosswalks, they adjust their course when you walk in front of them; they don't run into things. They stop and think about it sometimes. They don't care about rain although they aren't going to work in snow or heavy ice. I don't know if they use GPS or a combination of a preloaded map and environmental sensors. Its fun to watch them rolling purposefully all over the campus.

Image


They don't seem better than human delivery people--they seem much slower, because they pause for a long time at the crosswalks and they only have one speed, like a modest walk. Also some kid was helping pay for his college education by delivering food. Now that job's gone. I'm pretty sure the company that makes them got a hefty subsidy to try out the product


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:33 pm 
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Have any been tagged with graffiti yet? That's a lot of blank space just ripe for the taking. Hey: admin should consider having the art department glorify the little tykes.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:03 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Have any been tagged with graffiti yet? That's a lot of blank space just ripe for the taking. Hey: admin should consider having the art department glorify the little tykes.


Yes we are all waiting for the inevitable student pranks


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:34 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Have any been tagged with graffiti yet? That's a lot of blank space just ripe for the taking. Hey: admin should consider having the art department glorify the little tykes.


Yes we are all waiting for the inevitable student pranks


Any idea what the weight bearing capacity is? If Charles Darwin could ride Galapagos tortoises, I don't see why students shouldn't get to ride those puppies.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:27 am 
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AaronFW wrote:
PB+J wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Have any been tagged with graffiti yet? That's a lot of blank space just ripe for the taking. Hey: admin should consider having the art department glorify the little tykes.


Yes we are all waiting for the inevitable student pranks


Any idea what the weight bearing capacity is? If Charles Darwin could ride Galapagos tortoises, I don't see why students shouldn't get to ride those puppies.


They would be rideable but I doubt they can bear more than the weight of a few sandwiches and a couple soft drinks. They slow down a bit going up hill.

The whole thing seems kind of dumb to me but they are cute as hell wandering all over campus


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:14 pm 
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More of the same-old same-old:

A Security Flaw Lets Hackers Overfill Your Pet's Bowl

Just one more reason for me to hold certain technologies at arm's length.

But why on Earth would any able-bodied pet owner have an automatic feeder? Feeding is interaction. If you don't want to interact with your pet, why do you even have it? I mean, seriously.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:54 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
More of the same-old same-old:

A Security Flaw Lets Hackers Overfill Your Pet's Bowl

Just one more reason for me to hold certain technologies at arm's length.

But why on Earth would any able-bodied pet owner have an automatic feeder? Feeding is interaction. If you don't want to interact with your pet, why do you even have it? I mean, seriously.


You hit the nail on the head with ’able-bodied’. I’ve worked on stuff that is a true enabling technology for certain groups. I mean, now they can communicate where as before they were silent, sort of enabling. The company makes a profit from those products but still tries to push the technology to other markets where consumers just aren’t sure if they want the technology in products not. One man’s ’must’ is another man’s ’meh’. Some of the strange stuff we see is companies that are trying to maximise return on development costs so they find themselves with a solution in search of a problem.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:05 pm 
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bwat wrote:
You hit the nail on the head with ’able-bodied’.

That's because I recognize that there will be legitimate applications for certain technologies in the case of disabilities. But when you have one simply as a high-tech toy, essentially, then I have a dim view of the validity of its use. I think automated pet feeders can also be fine if you have to be absent from home for more than a day, but why should they be connected to the Web and be vulnerable to hacking? To put it bluntly, I think that's just stupid. There are other, less vulnerable ways. More than anything, if I had to be away I would rather have a friend look in on my pet and keep it real. Except in extraordinary cases, it's better for the animal's emotional well-being.

Now, one automated pet care gadget that I think is probably a good idea all around (but only if you have realistic circumstances for setting it up) is the automated cat box. It would be logistically untenable in my apartment, though. If I did have one, I would NOT have it connected to the Web. Same goes for a Roomba, or any other appliance.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:59 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
bwat wrote:
You hit the nail on the head with ’able-bodied’.

That's because I recognize that there will be legitimate applications for certain technologies


Who legitimises? In this case it is the market. What’s the other option? Letting the state license what devices can be connected to the net (just like the telephone networks used to require).

If Omni Consumer Products has spent a shed load developing a chip that contains a 4G modem and runs a TCP/IP stack to provide internet access for its new robot police officer, they may then decide to embed said chip in its PetBowl 3000 Nourishment Solution to be launched at Cat World 2020 - greater volume reduces chip manufacturing costs. Nobody has a clue if it will sell, why not try it and see?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:25 pm 
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bwat wrote:
Who legitimises?

Common sense, if you've rightly absorbed my post's meaning, but given what follows in your post, I'm not sure you have. I'll try again: Let's say I have a condition that makes feeding my pet difficult at best. In that case, an assisting technology like an automated pet feeder has legitimate application. If I'm a hale and hearty 25-year-old, it does not, because then it is merely elective, and a whim. I think disability assistance is an entirely reasonable measure when one raises intangible concepts like "legitimate application". Perhaps "legitimately beneficial application" would be a better choice of words.

I have no concern for market manipulations and skulduggery in the point I was making. That is another issue, and I am not conversant in its nuts and bolts, unless it is by chance. In this case I'm only concerned with why someone uses something at the practical level.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:54 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
bwat wrote:
Who legitimises?

Common sense, if you've rightly absorbed my post's meaning, but given what follows in your post, I'm not sure you have. I'll try again: Let's say I have a condition that makes feeding my pet difficult at best. In that case, an assisting technology like an automated pet feeder has legitimate application. If I'm a hale and hearty 25-year-old, it does not, because then it is merely elective, and a whim. I think disability assistance is an entirely reasonable measure when one raises intangible concepts like "legitimate application". Perhaps "legitimately beneficial application" would be a better choice of words.

I have no concern for market manipulations and skulduggery in the point I was making. That is another issue, and I am not conversant in its nuts and bolts, unless it is by chance. In this case I'm only concerned with why someone uses something at the practical level.


I see you’re not big on freedom. Personally, I’d let that 25 year old go about their lawful business. I would argue against ’common sense’ being used as an argument to modify their behaviour in this case.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:25 pm 
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bwat wrote:
I see you’re not big on freedom. Personally, I’d let that 25 year old go about their lawful business. I would argue against ’common sense’ being used as an argument to modify their behaviour in this case.

Not big on freedom? Hoo, boy. If only you knew me... :lol:

I am big on seeing straight, however.

Who says I'm trying to modify behavior? If my observations open eyes to some things not previously considered, that's nice, possibly even for the better, but I don't expect it, because I'm well aware that my observations will be unpopular with a lot of people, just as with you. If that's leverage, it's news to me. And when did I ever say that elective use of a household technology should not be one's free and lawful right? Just because I consider one reason for it to be more legitimate than another, it's not the same as insisting one size should fit all. You're reading far too much erroneous subtext about me in what is simply a personal observation of what I consider to be self-evident realities. If you want to use a Web-connected security system or pet feeder, that's your business. I'm not going to tell you to stop. But I'm not going to think highly of it either, precisely because of its inherent vulnerability, and that vulnerability is already a matter of record; I merely remind. If I were in your home, I would never have the bad manners to stick my nose in and launch a jeremiad about the the Internet of Things; as I said, that's your business. If you asked, though, then that's different, and I would voice my concerns about hacking risks. Even if your pet feeder weren't connected to the Web, I would still privately question its worth in the big picture of pet stewardship, but it wouldn't burden me; you might have perfectly good reasons for it. Again, it's your business, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But I have very good reasons for my wariness over blind adoption of anything that comes along simply because it's the latest thing - particularly if it's Web-connected - and all of that is why this thread exists. There is a world of difference between an opinion and a mission. If I have any mission, in this thread it is only to point out things that people may have missed, or would prefer to ignore. What they do with it is out of my hands.

If I didn't know better, I would think I had struck a nerve. :wink: :poke:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:21 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
If I didn't know better, I would think I had struck a nerve. :wink: :poke:


Oh very droll :P


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:02 am 
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What on earth has concerns about the usefulness of internet-connected cat feeders to do with freedom?


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