Tagged: technology

The Simulated Counselor Experiment

Under the wide screen where Ellie’s image sits there are three devices. A video camera tracks facial expressions of the person sitting opposite. A movement sensor — Microsoft Kinect — tracks the person’s gestures, fidgeting and other movements. A microphone records every inflection and tone in his or her voice. The point, Rizzo explains, is to analyze in almost microscopic detail the way that people talk and move — to read their body language.

“We can look at the position of the head, the eye gaze,” Rizzo says. Does the head tilt? Does it lean forward? Is it static and fixed?” In fact Ellie tracks and analyzes around 60 different features — various body and facial movements, and different aspects of the voice.

The theory of all this is that a detailed analysis of those movements and vocal features can give us new insights into people who are struggling with emotional issues. The body, face and voice express things that words sometimes obscure.

Read More: If Your Shrink Is A Bot, How Do You Respond?

Digital C.Elegans…Coming Soon?

Are digital c.elegans coming soon? Their entire genome has been mapped and a virtual connectome has been published, now can we simulate the entire biology of the worm or worms with different mutations? Alexis Madrigral discusses this topic in a provoking article in The Atlantic:

…What’s so hard about simulating its behavior?

Basically, everything.

We don’t know how to simulate every single protein and nucleic acid in a cell. And even if we could, it would be computationally staggering to try to model each and every cell in the worm down to that atomic level, figuring out each and every molecular interaction inside these densely packed cells. No experiments can output that data.

The Power Of A Photograph (before instagram)

A man who knew Thomas Jefferson

Razib Khan of Wired recently blogged about this daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams taken in the 1840’s, noting that the photograph is of poor quality and lacking in color. Khan subtly suggests an observation, that our eyes have become accustomed to refinement of the photograph over time. Today we can easily manipulate an image at the touch of a button through applications like instagram, but does making an image look special mean it’s a photograph? Unlike digital images, this photo materializes the private modality that has been lost with the advent of social applications, it emits power through the chemical process of its time, and natural light transforms the image of Adams into a portrait. “I am a man of reserved, cold, austere and forbidding manners,” John Adams said in his diary. This information has not been lost or overly manipulated. What we see is the beauty that is…time captured and a portrait of an austere man who was born in 1767.