A literal mind at work

August 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Will your next boss be a robot? Researchers find we are more productive (and happier) with a machine in charge: “Human workers prefer to take orders from robots than their colleagues, researchers have found. They say that letting robots have control over human tasks in manufacturing is not just more efficient – it is actually preferred by workers. Researchers were stunned to find that in a series of management experiments, human workers were actually more content when a robot was in charge. In the study, groups of two humans and one robot worked together in one of three conditions: manual (all tasks allocated by a human); fully autonomous (all tasks allocated by the robot); and semi-autonomous (one human allocates tasks to self, and a robot allocates tasks to other human). The fully-autonomous condition proved to be not only the most effective for the task, but also the method preferred by human workers. The workers were more likely to say that the robots ‘better understood them’ and ‘improved the efficiency of the team.'”

Woman spends decades stashing savings in cupboard because she doesn’t trust banks… only to have it all eaten by TERMITES: “A woman who kept her life savings hidden in a cupboard because she didn’t trust banks has been left heartbroken – after the pile of notes was eaten by termites. Cai Hou went to check on the pile of notes she had spent decades building up at her home in the city of Jinjiang, in eastern China’s Fujian province, only to find it had been chewed to pieces. The thrifty 70-year-old – who had saved 10,000 Yuan (£1,000) – at first thought she had been burgled. But she then spotted the insects next to the shredded notes and realised what had happened. ‘I was heartbroken,’ she said. ‘I’d never trusted banks and I always thought it would be safer to hide the cash in a safe place at home. How wrong could I be?’. Cai’s family painstakingly managed to piece together 5,900 Yuan (£570) in nibbled notes and took them to two local banks. Bank officials managed to verify notes worth only 1,950 Yuan (£190) and rejected the rest as too damaged.”

The robot brain to rule them all: Plans for giant ‘central knowledge server’ to power millions of machines around the world revealed: “Researchers have begun work on a giant ‘robot brain’ they say could be used by millions of machines around the world. It will be a central store for everything from images to details of how to change a plug. Hosted on a server so any robot can access it, the system is currently downloading and processing 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. The information is being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format that robots will be able to draw on when they need it. Robo Brain will process images to pick out the objects in them, and by connecting images and video with text, it will learn to recognize objects and how they are used, along with human language and behavior. ‘Robo Brain is a large-scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources, computer simulations, and real-life robot trials,’ the researchers behind it say.

Farmers say sheep found wandering in Tasmania could be world’s woolliest: “Two Tasmanian farmers have found what they hope to prove is the world’s woolliest sheep. Peter Hazell said he had no trouble capturing the animal, which was wandering with its vision obscured by wool in scrubland on his property in Tasmania’s Midlands on Sunday. “He couldn’t see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him,” he said. Despite never having been shorn, the six-year-old merino ram was immediately dubbed Shaun the Sheep, after the popular kids’ television program. Netty Hazell said the sheep’s avoidance of the shearing shed had been weighing it down, with Shaun carrying an estimated 20 kilograms of fleece. “It is the heaviest sheep I’ve ever lifted,” she professed. “I just couldn’t believe it, I just could not believe a sheep could have so much wool.”

Man accused of attack ‘had name tattooed on his back’: “A man who allegedly took part in a vicious attack in Darwin has been rounded up by police after he took off his top and ran around, showing his name tattooed across his back. The man was with another man outside a convenience store in busy Mitchell Street about 10:30pm on Sunday when the pair asked a 27-year-old man whether he wanted to buy marijuana, police said. When the man they had approached refused the offer, the two men, aged 21 and 22 and from interstate, allegedly punched and kicked the victim. “After the assault they took their shirts off, placed them around their heads and ran around the block,” Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen from NT Police said. “Helpfully one of the offenders had his name tattooed on his back, so it wasn’t hard to locate him. “We found him at a nearby bar and he was arrested.” The victim suffered serious facial injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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