Early version of “ican the robot” detected

“Ican the robot” is an entertainment robot in Disneyland. Or to be more specific, he drives around in Tomorrowland and talks with people. The inofficial predecessor is called “Sprockit The Robot” and is shown in youtube videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qebnnH2KrlA They have the style of the 1980s and the interesting feature is, that the robot has no fairing. Instead, the servo motors are clearly visible. How “Sprockit The Robot” was controlled is unclear. What is seen from the video is, that no man is inside, instead it is either a remote controlled robot or an advanced software.

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Can we trust the robotics community?

In the year 2006 a video was published on the internet which shows the Honda Asimo Robot in a stair climbing task. To be more specific, in the video Asimo failed the task and falls down. What the public doesn’t know is, if the falling was staged or not. Let us go into the details.

The so called Hebocon challenge is not about building a robot who wins a game, but the intention is the opposite. According to self-definition, in the Hebocon challenge the entrants will need to surrender. That means, a robot will pass the test if he fails the task. Can we formalize falling down? Yes, in some papers, “falling strategies” are discussed with a mathematical background, for example here: “Safe Fall: Humanoid robot fall direction change through intelligent stepping and inertia shaping, 2008” The idea is to plan the movement of a humanoid robot who is loosing control.

The title of this blog-post was: can we trust the robotics community? The answer is no. Because it is not known, what the goal of the competition was in which Honda Asimo failed the test. If the task was to climb stairs, than the algorithm has failed. But if the task was called Hebocon challenge and the movement were planned with a falling planner then Honda Asimo was successful. The main problem with large scale robotics projects is, that the public doesn’t know the technology which was used, and the public is also not aware about the task itself. So they have to guess both.

From an abstract perspective this is the opposite of science. It is called magic. In contrast a science project is transparent. That means, the goal is communicated and also the steps to reach the goal. From a robotics perspective it is valid to construct robots who are falling backward the stairs. I would guess, if somebody can plan this behavior he is a robotics engineer. But if he doesn’t tell the public what his project was really about and if he hides the sourcecode and doesn’t publish a paper about it, such a project can’t be called academic. Instead it is some kind of magic with the intention the deceive the public.

Let us take a simple research what is known about the Honda Asimo project. The sourcecode is not available, and the competition is not described in detail. So it can be anything or nothing. And this is the reason why we can’t trust Honda. Sure, they are building robots and perhaps they have programmed them, but they are doing so against academic principle. That means, their work can’t be reproduced. Honda is some kind of magician with a great knowledge but has no intention to share the knowledge with the public.

Can we trust Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is known as the most serious search engine for science related information in the internet. Most of the papers in the index are quality controlled by humans and the researcher can trust the content on the website. But there are some information inside google Scholar which looks a bit uncommon. If we are searching for the term “exopolitics” we find a document in which the following sentence is given as an introduction:

“There is startling evidence from a number of independent sources that ‘human looking’ extraterrestrial visitors have integrated with and lived in major population centers up until recently”

This paper is indexed in the Google Scholar catalog under the bibtex entry “Salla, Michael E. “Extraterrestrials Among Us.” Exopolitics Journal 1.4 (2006): 284-300.” That the internet is full of conspiracy theories is already known, but why we must read such nonsense in the Google Scholar archive? Let us investigate what that means in reality. The above citation claims, that Aliens are living on earth. If somebody would submit a paper to a science journal with the same claim, he can reference to that paper because it is already in google Scholar, so it must be scientific. Sometimes, the famous Jeremy Stribling’s “rooter paper” was called a worst-case scenario, but this kind of disclosure goes far beyond that scope.

The problem is, that Google Scholar think that exopolitics is a legitimate topic and the authors who are writing papers about it are scientists. That is perhaps the reason why the above cited paper can be found in Google Scholar. But, if Alien stories are science, what is nonsense and spam? I’m not against conspiracy theories. TV Series like the x-files are funny and if a tabloid magazine like “THE SUN” want’s to talk about Alien Autopsy they should. But my belief is, that Google Scholar and similar platform should be a place, in which the quality is higher.

Exopolitics lecture on public universites

It is not a problem only of Google Scholar to teach exopolitics. Other well known institutions like the Edinburgh University https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/Astrobiology+and+the+Search+for+Extraterrestrial+Life/1_2m2x0p5u have something similar to offer. Under the above URL a complete course including lectures are held which is research questions like “are we alone in the universe”, or “are living Alliens on earth?”.

A lack of quality control is present at the CiteseerX searchengine too. Under the url http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.590.9371&rank=2 a paper is given which describes a first contact scenario with Aliens. quote:

“In the Billy Meier case, with which I am most familiar, in an instance in May of 2000 when he was outside his residence next to the garage with another — Freddy Kropf, Meier suddenly looked up, searched the sky and told Kropf to look up and see the beamship of Florena”

Because the document was indexed by the Citeseerx engine, the software thinks that Billy Meier is a reputable source and his Ufo sighting was real …

Introduction to Cynicism

According to Wikipedia, cynicism is an attitude which is the result of social problems. The reason why Wikipedia argues in such a way is because this is explained in the mainstream literature of what a pessimistic philosophy is. In reality, cynicism can explained with gametheory. Here are the details.

At first, it has nothing to do with an individual or the society, instead cynicism is part of certain types of games which have a high probability to getting lost. At first we suppose a game which is the opposite, that means the game is easy. The task is to run the 100 meter in under 20 seconds. That task can be done by most of the people, i would guess at least by 90% or more. That means, the runner is confident that he will reach the goal. He suppose this because he knows the average time of his colleagues, and also his own result from the last trial. Perhaps, he has done the 100 meter in the last exercise in 15 seconds, and if not a serious problem will happen, he can do this again, and again.

In such a game, no cynicism is happening. That means, there is no doubt, that the goal is reachable. And now I want to describe the opposite kind of games. That are games, which are not possible to win, or which are very difficult to win. For example, if somebody not only wants to run the 100 meter in 20 seconds, but in 14 seconds, because otherwise he will get a bad mark in his sport diploma. The problem is, that the 14 seconds are not reachable for that person. He has tried it before, but he failed. His best run was done with 15 seconds, and he isn’t able to run faster. Or I want to give an anther example. If somebody is playing chess, has lost his queen, and also two bishops. .Than it is no longer possible to win the game. That means, the game is lost or it is very difficult to win against the superior opponent. That are all example, which are resulting into cynicism. That means, if the person who plays the game is trying to express his feelings and describe rational the situation, then a sarcastic mood is normal.

Perhaps an example. Which option has the chess player, which lost his queen to predict the future? The first option would be, to give a positive outlook. He can say “I will win the game, I’m confident, I’m strong”. That would be a non-sarcastic description. The only problem is, that this description is not reachable. If somebody from outside will analyse the situation rational, he would recognize, that the game is lost. So the optimistic description to win the game, in case of the bad situation is wrong. That means, it has nothing to do with the real situation. The better description would be a negative description, because it has a higher probability. This description is called cynicism.

Avoiding cynicism is easy. The only thing what a person has to do is playing only games, which he can win. He will never be in the situation to give a negative outlook. In contrast, if a user is playing games, which are too hard for him, and which will get lost all the time, he will start describing the world cynical. The best novel so far is “House of God” from Samuel Shem which plays in a hospital. It is a massive example in cynicism. But the negative mood has nothing to do with the author itself, or the characters which he describes, instead the tone is given by the setting. “House of god” describes the reality in a medical hospital. The basic assumption is, that most of these games are lost. Because there is no therapy available for the diseases. That is not only the perception of the protagonist, but a reality which is written in every textbook about medicine.

In theory it would be possible to describe the working in a hospital with a more positive outlook. But the problem is the same, like in the chess game. If somebody from outside looks at the description, he would recognize, that it is wrong.

Reading loud for fighting dogs

Have you seen an old lady which walks on the street and she talks to her dog? Yes, that’s normal. The problem is only that the lady doesn’t understand anything about animals, she believes that her dog likes his voice, but it’s not possible. Dogs are dogs, and humans are humans, so the communication will fail. Why the old lady talks to her dog?

But we have made a mistake. The problem is not, that the lady talks to her animal friend, the problem is, that she not talks enough. The joke is, that indeed a dog can not understand simple words like yes or no. And dogs also not understand their own name. Interestingly, dogs can understand the language if it is more complicated. I’ve found recently in the internet some remarkable examples under the searchterm “therapy dog reading aloud”. The setting is always the same. A human is taking a book with a long story. sitting next to the dog and starts to reading the book. After 1 minute, the dog will be calm, after 5 minutes he lays down, and after 30 minutes his eyes are closed. That is not a joke, that is the normal behaviour. It happens to all dogs, and many youtube videos proof it.

From this point of view, our old lady from the introduction should talk more with their dog, if she wants to communicate with him. Not only a half sentence and every time the same words, but she could talk longer stories and every evening she can read another book loud to him. It seems, that dogs are indeed very good in listening.

The most remarkable aspect is, that this is true not only for small and nice dogs but also for big fighting dogs, which are normally extreme aggressive and barking all the time. Reading loud books to him works the same. Unfortunately, only few videos on youtube are dedicated to reading books to pitbull, but a google image search gives enough results to proof that the phenomena is more than a placebo effect. It seems, that also fighting dogs listening carefully, especially to books which were written to humans.

The reason why is until now unclear. Normally it makes no sense, that a dog understand the writings of Wilhelm Hauff, Jack London or Astrid Lindgren. It makes absolutely no sense, because at first dogs can not understand English and second, they do not need such stories in their normal life. Perhaps it has something to do with social interaction, that the dogs likes it if his owner reads to him? The open question is, if this magic effects needs in every case a human reader or if the dog are also starts to sleeping if the bedtime story is played from an iphone? The only thing which is relatively clear is, that a dog wouldn’t start to read for his own. Even if a book is available he would never open it and start to research it in detail.

UPDATE

According to youtube it is possible to train dogs that they even can read. Normally up to 5 words are used which are painted in big letters on a paper. If the dog reads one command, he makes a certain action. Often, animal experts believe, that there is a trick behind it. But perhaps, the human-owner has read many times a bedtime story to her pet, so that the dog really is able to understand words. Perhaps it is possible to improve the communication between human and animal with a computerized translator. That is a device, which converts the barking of a dog into human language, so it is easier for the dog to talk. At least for dolphins there are papers available which are analysing the animal language with neural network. Perhaps it is possible to do the same for dogs for recognizing their dialects? https://hellonuzzle.com/study-proves-dogs-different-regions-world-bark-different-accents/

Typewriter in office

On the internet are some funny videos out there in which a comedian is using an old typewriter in the library. These clips are humorous, because it is so different and so oldschool. Mostly, the other people in the library are first laughing about the joke and after 5 minutes they asking for stop it because the typewriter is too noisy. Also the repetition of the experiment in a different country with a different typewriter produces the same result so it is not really a good idea to do so.

What is the right innovative but accepted behaviour inside a library? It was discussed in an earlier posting, https://trollheaven.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/is-it-ok-to-use-a-typewriter-in-a-gym/ The answer is to use a dog inside the library. Like the experiment with a typewriter in the first 5 minutes it is very unusual if somebody bring his Bull Terrier into the library, because this is total forbidden. Most library have a sign at the entrance to not bring dogs within. But in contrast to bringing in a typewriter, after 5 minutes the dog is accepted widely. And even more, some libraries have dedicated “library dogs” which are living there and their only task is to listening what the people are reading to them.

Somebody may argue, that dogs are not his favourite thing, instead he wants to use a typewriter. But if the library is the wrong place, where is the right place for an old-school manual typewriter? I’ve found the answer in the following video:

It is called “typewriter in office”. But this time the office is on the street. So it is an outdoor office. What is the difference between a dog, a typewriter, an office and a library? It has something to do with loudness. Typewriters are loud, and office is also loud. Library is quiet, and dogs are quiet. It is not possible to use a typewriter with small noise, so it can only be used in office like environment. It has to do with working man. On the other hand, libraries and dogs have something to do with relaxing and homes.

What can be seen in the above video? It is a loud street in India. There are two tables out there, behind them are sitting older man. They doing business, which means, one is the customer and the other types in for him a document on the machine. Both typewriting machine are working at the same time. It is very loud on the street. If somebody would join the scene, with a bigger typewriting machine which is more loud, nobody would ask him to leave. It is a normal behaviour, which is socially accepted. So the prediction is, that anywhere in the world, if a man with a typewriter sits direct on the street and typing in letters, it would be accepted.

The question which remains open is, what happens if some really crazy guy brings a typewriter and a Pit Bull Terrier into a library. Is it ok or not?

According to the following video, at least cats doesn’t like typewriters:

Also in another youtube clip is a cat shown, which runs away after typing in a letter.

Perhaps, you as my reader thought it was a joke to imagine that somebody brings a pitpull into the library. No it is not. I found a clip which shows that pitbull terrier are very good listeners. They love stories about cowboys and the pony-express in the wild west.

It is remarkable that “therapy reading dogs” can also be fighting dogs. A fighting dog eats normally raw meats and it is a good idea to stay away from them, especially if they are barking. But, there are many pictures out there, which are showing clearly, that reading a book lout in front of him, activates some kind of relaxing mode. The scientific background is not clearly researched, but it happens to often to be called a placebo effect.

From an animal psychologist perspective it would be interesting to research what would happen if we take the most aggressive pitbull dog ever and reading to him all the stories of the library, and if we done, then we switch to the science-books. After some years or so the dog would get perhaps an diploma and speaks to us? In the movie “dawn of the planet of the apes” is a scene where an ape tries to read a book. That will not work, dogs and apes can not read. But they can listening to a human who reads. And they understand the text.

ANIMAL VS PRINTER

Interestingly not only noise making typewriter are hated by cats but also normal ink-jet printers. There are some videos on youtube which shows clearly that a printer makes the cat aggressive. And perhaps the same is true for dogs. So what does it means for our library dog? To get a relaxed atmosphere it is important to ban old-fashioned typewriter machines but also modern laserprinters which makes no noise. So in the library only the reading of books is allowed but the not making of new one. This is done outside at the street.

There is another video out there which is remarkable clearly. A very modern office printer which makes absolutely no noise is activated. Only the paper feed motor is working sometimes and the printer works great. So normally no man or animal is hurt in any matter. But, the cat who is sitting next to the printer is in alert mode. Every time the paper is pushed out, she gets nervous. So even a non-expert can see, that the cat doesn’t like it. So from a logical point of view, it is not possible that the cat understand the internal working of a printer, but it seems, that she understand it totally.

It seems, that dogs and human can clearly separate between relaxing and alert. Relaxing is, when a book is read out loud. And alert is, when a book is printed. In another “cat vs. printer” video the cat even tries to eat the paper. She is attacking the machine, and punch the sheet with his teeth. Why? There is no danger for the cat, and the printer is very quiet. The same is true for dogs. A super-silent printer is attacked by a dog, he barks and jumps onto it.

So let us bring this in comparison to the intro, where a man brings an old-typewriter into a library. The first idea was, that because of the noise the other guest are angry, but that it’s not true. :The same effect happens, if the man brings a supersilent modern typewriter into the library, which makes absolutely no noise. This would also ends in a disaster. No the physical loudness is important but the acting of printing.

It is not true, that a dog in alert mode is automatically wrong. Aggressive behaviour can be necessary in certain conditions. But there is a clear difference between relaxing and attack. My prediction is, that a pitbull near a laserprinter is not a good idea if the aim is relaxing. Perhaps, the pitbull thinks that he must defend against something. And this normally means to fight with maximum energy until the enemy is finished. If we search for “Dog attacking printer” more youtube-clips are shown, which are more than clear. A printing machineis the enemy number one. The typical reaction is barking and attacking.

Burning snowman

I’ve found a weird tradition called “buring snowman”.

It is done at least at the Lake Superior State University in Michigan US, but also in Zurich Switzerland is the same yearly event known. What the aim exactly is, is hard to guess, possible the people don’t like the cold temperature and burn the snowman down like a witch. Another explanation would be, that the citizen don’t understand the needs of a snowman, and so they react with violence. I would suggest, that they hate the snowman because he symbolize to dark, and cold temperatures.

Here is another video. This time the sculpture is bigger, so the fire too. What is the biggest snowman who was ever burned down?