New HRI Podcast: Aldebaran Again

I recorded a new episode of the Human-Robot Interaction Podcast:

Aldebaran Again – Is this the end of Pepper?

Softbank Robotics sold their Nao and Pepper robots to the United Robotics Group (URG) which reversed the name of this business back to its orginal “Aldebaran”. In this episode Dwain Allan and I discuss the uncertain future of Nao and Pepper based on direct correspondence with URG. We try to answer the question whether you should still invest in this robotic platform. Is Aldebaran another zombie robotic company?

New HRI Podcast: Zombies – Can robots be conscious?

I recorded a new episode of the Human-Robot Interaction Podcast:

023: Zombies – Can robots be conscious?

Are robots zombies? This might seem like a strange question at first, but it leads to one of the most important questions in science today: what is consciousness and can robot’s become conscious? These questions fascinate many people. And when Blake Lemoine suggested that Google’s latest AI Lambda had become sentient, it triggered a worldwide media frenzy. In this HRI podcast episode, I talk with Professor Jack Copeland about machine consciousness.

Optimal Price For Swimming In Christchurch For Disabled Swimmers

The Christchurch City Council changed its fee structure for swimming pool admission as of October 1st, 2022. There are some important changes for disabled swimmers who have a Hāpai Access card.

While there is a 25% discount for annual pool membership, there is a 50% discount for casual entry fees. The later includes multi-visit pass. The question now is, how often do you need to swim per week before the annual membership becomes the cheaper option.

Annual Entry Costs based on number per weekly visits.

The graph above shows that you need to swim around 3.25 times on average per week before the annual membership becomes cheaper.

While I applaud the Christchurch City Council for increasing the discount for casual fees from 25% to 50%, I would have appreciated it even more if they had extended this discount to the annual membership. Active swimmers will be forced to give up their annual membership if they swim more than three times a week. Normally, discounts are setup so that the more you use a service, the higher the discount becomes.

No other discount category, such as Community Services Card or Super Gold Card, has this inconsistency.

For abled visitors with no discount or visitors with a 25% discount (Community Services Card or Super Gold Card), already visiting the pool more than twice a week justifies an annual pool membership:

 

It is unclear why the Christchurch City Council wants to make going to the pool for disabled swimmers more of a hassle than for others. Annual memberships is quick an easy. No need to constantly refresh the cards or pay every time at the counter.

It would be great if the CCC would make our live not only more affordable, but also easier.

New HRI Podcast: The Risks of Autonomous Vehicles

I recorded a new episode of the Human-Robot Interaction Podcast:

Autonomous Vehicles – Do We Really Know The Risks?

Autonomous Vehicles (AV) are the riskiest form of human-robot interaction. One the one hand they offer unparalleled improvements to the safety and comfort of drivers, passengers and other traffic participants. They also promise to reduce emission. On the other hand, they demand new considerations for trust and responsibilities in human-robot interaction. The field of tension between autonomy, trust and liability can only be manoeuvred on the basis of objective data. Government agencies will have to implement clear obligations and standards for reporting the performances of AVs. This is the only way for consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases and the associated risks. In this podcast episode we will critically review the available data, the market situation and the recent developments.

Mechanical Keyboards Guide

A short list of the best mechanical keyboards.

Once you typed on a mechanical keyboard, you never want to go back to the stock rubber dome keyboards that come with most computers. And I am not even a gamer. I just spend a lot of time in front of computers. Even Logitech has entered the mechanical keyboard market aside from gaming with their MX Mechanical. It has become its own hobby, with enthusiast spending many hours on selecting, assembling, modifying keyboards. It is another rabbit hole. “How deep?” you ask? Just check out these YouTube Channels.

Instead of spending my own thousands of dollars, I decided I should rather eatable you to do it for me. So here we go, a list of my favourite keyboards. I have settled on the 75% form factor as the most suitable for me.

Matias Mini Tactile Pro

This Matias Mini keyboard is heavily inspired by the good old Mac keyboards and it is one of the fews that have Alps switches. Continue reading “Mechanical Keyboards Guide”