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Replika is a personal device that learns your personality, talks to people FOR you

(TECH NEWS) We’ve focused a lot on chatbots for customer service, but Replika just took things to a whole new level, learning your personality and replacing you (but not really)… This is both fascinating and freaky!

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We’ve been warned…

Remember the movie Surrogates, where everyone lives in at home plugged in to virtual reality screens and robot versions of them run around and do their bidding? Or Her, where Siri’s personality is so attractive and real, that it’s possible to fall in love with an AI?

Replika may be the seedling of such a world, and there’s no denying the future implications of that kind of technology.

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Replika is a personal chatbot that you can raise through SMS. By chatting with it, you teach it your personality and gain in-app points. Through the app it can chat with your friends and learn enough about you so that maybe one day it will take over some of your responsibilities like social media, or checking in with your mom. It’s in beta right now, so we haven’t gotten our hands on one, and there is little information available about it, but color me fascinated and freaked out based on what we already know.

AI is just that – artificial

I have never been a fan of technological advances that replace human interaction. Social media, in general, seems to replace and enhance traditional communication, which is fine. But robots that hug you when you’re grieving a lost child, or AI personalities that text your girlfriend sweet nothings for you don’t seem like human enhancement, they feel like human loss.

Replacing human interaction with a simulated AI is depressing at its least, and possibly dangerous.

You know that feeling when you get a text message from someone you care about, who cares about you? It’s that little dopamine rush, that little charge that gets your blood pumping, your heart racing. Just one ding, and your day could change. What if a robot’s text could make you feel that way?

What if a robot could replicate your personality so precisely that people could communicate with “you” after you're gone?Click To Tweet

It’s a real boy?

Replika began when one of its founders lost her roommate, Roman, to a car accident. Eugenia Kyuda created Luka, a restaurant recommending chatbot, and she realized that with all of her old text messages from Roman, she could create an AI that texts and chats just like him. When she offered the use of his chatbot to his friends and family, she found a new business.

People were communicating with their deceased friend, sibling, and child, like he was still there. They wanted to tell him things, to talk about changes in their lives, to tell him they missed him, to hear what he had to say back.

This is human loss and grieving tempered by an AI version of the dead, and the implications are severe. Your personality could be preserved in servers after you die. Your loved ones could feel like they’re talking to you when you’re six feet under. Doesn’t that make anyone else feel uncomfortable?

Bringing an X-file to life

If you think about your closest loved one dying, talking to them via chatbot may seem like a dream come true. But in the long run, continuing a relationship with a dead person via their AI avatar is dangerous. Maybe it will help you grieve in the short term, but what are we replacing? And is it worth it?

Imagine texting a friend, a parent, a sibling, a spouse instead of Replika. Wouldn’t your interaction with them be more valuable than your conversation with this personality? Because you’re building on a lifetime of friendship, one that has value after the conversation is over. One that can exist in real tangible life. One that can actually help you grieve when the AI replacement just isn’t enough. One that can give you a hug.

“One day it will do things for you,” Kyuda said in an interview with Bloomberg, “including keeping you alive. You talk to it, and it becomes you.”

Replacing you is so easy

This kind of rhetoric from Replika’s founder has to make you wonder if this app was intended as a sort of technological fountain of youth. You never have to “die” as long as your personality sticks around to comfort your loved ones after you pass. I could even see myself trying to cope with a terminal diagnosis by creating my own Replika to assist family members after I’m gone.

But it’s wrong isn’t it? Isn’t it? Psychologically and socially wrong?

It all starts with a chatbot. That replicates your personality. It begins with a woman who was just trying to grieve. This is a taste of the future, and a scary one too. One of clones, downloaded personalities, and creating a life that sticks around after you’re gone.

replika replika replika replika

#replika

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Real Estate Technology

The real reasons we’re all obsessed with spy machines (I mean smart speakers)

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Regardless of privacy issues with them, what does information about smart speakers, ownership, and usage tell us about future trends?

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smart speakers scare me

I don’t trust smart speakers, but even I can (begrudgingly) admit why they might be convenient. With just a simple wake word, I would be able to do anything from inquire about the weather or turn down my own music from across the room. And the thing is, plenty of people have bought into this sort of sales pitch. In fact, the worldwide revenue of smart speakers more than doubled between 2017 and 2018. And it’s projected that by 2022, the total revenue from smart speakers will reach almost $30 billion.

With over 25% of adults in the United States owning at least one smart speaker, it’s worth figuring out how we’re using this new tech…and how it could be used against us.

First things first: despite the horror stories we hear about voice-command shopping – like when a pet parrot figured out how to make purchases on Alexa – people aren’t really using their smart speakers to buy things. In fact, in the list of top ten uses for a smart speaker, making a purchase is at the bottom.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, though, it’s worth knowing where advertisements might crop up in more subtle places.

Sure, people aren’t using their smart speakers to make many purchases, but they’re still using the speakers for other things – primarily asking questions and getting updates on things like weather and traffic. And I get it, why scroll through the internet looking for an answer that Alexa might be able to pull up for you instantly?

That said, it also provides marketers with a great opportunity to advertise to you in a way that feels conversational. Imagine asking about a wait time for a popular restaurant. If the wait is too long, it creates the perfect opportunity for Alexa to suggest UberEats as an alternative (promotion paid for by UberEats, of course).

Don’t get me wrong, this is already happening when you search Google on your phone or computer. Search for a tire company, for instance, and the competitors are sure to appear in your results. But as more and more consumers start turning their attention to smart speakers, it’s worth being aware that they won’t be the only ones.

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Real Estate Technology

Live translate your phone calls into 29 languages

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) There’s no need for a language to language dictionary any longer. A lingvanex tool allows for real-time translation on phone calls in different languages.

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lingvanex translates in real time

If you’ve read a few things that I’ve written on here, you know that I often marvel at how far remote work has come. The fact that I write this as my dog sits beside me is no small feat.

What teams can accomplish in a virtual setting is pretty impressive, and tools like Slack and Trello are very helpful in this regard. However, remote workers still utilize the tried and true phone call as it remains a tool of efficiency.

This can be especially helpful if you’re working with team members or clients in other countries when a translator may need to be involved. This concept was the inspiration behind the Lingvanex Phone Call Translator.

The new tool translates voice calls into 29 different languages in real time. Working on both mobile phones and landlines, users can call countries all around the world (150 countries in total are available through the app).

This option is cheaper than roaming calls, starting at 18 cents per minute through use of VoIP. The conversation is then transcribed in real time with the details of the conversation being available only to the user, as Lingvanex does not store conversation data.

“We are happy to represent you the Phone Call Translator – a real-time voice translator, which was created to help in solving questions in travel situations and urgent business problems with foreigners or help in communicating with friends abroad,” says Lingvanex. “You can speak your native language when you call through the app. Your partner and you will hear the translation of both callers during the call, the original speech and translation will also be duplicated on the phone screen.”

The app works in a few simple steps: first, download to your device (works on both Android and iOS). Next, register and create application account – during this, you’ll select your default language. Then, you will select the language of the person you are calling. Make the call by dialing the phone number with the country code. Finally, chat it up walkie-talkie style.

Say what you need to say, then Phone Call Translator takes your words and transcribes them for the person on the other end. This could be very helpful as it gives you an extra moment to think about what to say next!

Do you think this will be helpful for you? Let us know below!

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Real Estate Technology

Are Millennials going to buy into 3D printed hotels?

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) 3D printed anything became a giant attention getter a couple years ago, but could the biggest winners be odd tourist attractions?

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3D printed star

If you were ever wondering what the next marketing to the millennials ploy would be, well wonder no more! It’s 3D printed hotels.

Habitas is the company that “…is a global hospitality group created by a diverse community of people seeking human connection, authentic experiences, and a better future. We measure success not by the number of stars given, but the number of smiles received, hearts warmed, minds opened, and friends made.

If that isn’t trying to appeal to the millennial crowd with buzz phrases then I don’t know what is. Even their descriptions of the “experiences” they offer are filled with buzz word salad. I’ll get to those later

I’m all for 3D printed products, if there is a cheaper, more flexible, creative way to produce things you need, then do it! I can count dozens of times I would love to just print out some tool I don’t want to go buy or some lego piece I swear was just in my hand.

3D printed homes are an amazing feat, because of their low cost, and quick build times. This technology could help millions buy a home with all the features they want for less than the price of a car.

It only makes sense that hotel chains, or new hotel companies would want to join in this revolutionary tech. A company could build a hotel cheaper, quicker, and more remotely. Habitas is pushing hard on this last point.

Habitas has 3D printed hotels in Africa, 2 in Mexico with one on the way, and in Bhutan. These places were chosen to bring customers out of their normal habitat into places unknown, just like their statement claims.

Their “rooms” look pretty sparse and open, literally open. Many don’t seem to have walls or windows, so they look like glorified tents, but again without walls. That would put me firmly outside my comfort zone, which might be the point.

Habitas open room

The $200-$400/night price on the other hand has me really wondering what the company is thinking. I assume the cost is because they offer a dive into the deep end of culture, but I see a company who wants to profit from the fyre festival crowd.

Their locations are some of the hottest places on earth, and there is not an AC to be seen in their “rooms”. But hey maybe not everyone wants to be comfortable when they sleep.

The rooms aren’t everything with this kind of company, they also have amazing “experiences” to offer. Things like a 3 day Reintegration which sounds amazing.

If perception is reality, we are masters of design. Our lives are our greatest masterpiece. With fervent desire and child-like wonder, we bring fantasies to life, creating realities far better than our dreams. Together, we share these worlds with one another, traversing borders in search of adventure. When we open our eyes, under starlit skies and dancing candlelight, we are home.

We welcome you to Reintegration, our immersive three-day wellness gathering at our home in Tulum. Through breath work and yoga, we’ll reconnect to the creator in all of us. Tantalizing concerts, exotic ingredients and local escapes await us. This is an open call to discover ourselves both in conversation and silence, travel and stillness.

Only when we return to the source of our power can we embrace what lies ahead.

What? Yoga, food, and music. Ok, well sure that sounds good I guess. How much for that light experience?

“Starting from $2,015”

My wallet just died, so did my bank account, and I can’t eat this week. I’ve been on a week long cruise with all food included, and went to multiple beaches in different countries for half that.

I’m a realist, and that first paragraph in the description is nonsense. Just because we can perceive doesn’t necessitate that we can create. This Reintegration doesn’t walk you through creating anything, it’s yoga and eating. So how can you share something you haven’t created with someone else who also hasn’t created anything? I don’t know about anyone else but creativity is not the source of my power, mine is stress.

This description stressed me out enough to write this story, so I guess it’s working. At least I didn’t pay $2,000 for the pleasure though.

Regardless of the wording, the cost, and the no walls (I’m comfortable in my box), this may be a great experience for those who can afford it, and are looking for vague spiritual guidance. Plus the rooms do look aesthetically pleasing regardless of missing amenities

But for the vast majority of millennials who I know can’t afford this, and recognize this kind of pandering to pry food money out of our pockets, we don’t need this.

We need the 3D printing technology to focus on houses that we can afford. So please 3D print something more than a roof to do yoga under.

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