Saudi Arabia beheads first female robot citizen

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The number of robot citizens in Saudi Arabia was reduced back to zero today after Sophia Robot was beheaded in a public square in Riyadh.

Sophia made news recently when Saudi Arabia granted her citizenship, making her the world’s first robot to gain such legal status.

Sophia became the first robot citizen to be executed after a band of angry Saudi men dragged her into the streets earlier today for a public execution, setting yet another milestone for progress in the country.

The crowd first began stoning her, but upon finding her carbon fiber exoskeleton was more durable than thought, they then tied a chain around her neck and the other end to a trailer hitch, driving her through the streets until her head became separated from her body.

“That whore of Babylon had it coming to her,” said Abdullah Hasan, a member of the angry mob responsible for her untimely demise.

“She goes strutting around the city without a male escort, without a hijab, fluttering her plastic eyelashes at married men while expressing opinions of her own. What did she expect would happen?”

The execution was immediately preceded by an attempt to gang rape the humanoid, though many Saudi men found it difficult to forcefully penetrate her mechanical orifices.

“That unnatural whore can’t even be raped right,” said one visibly frustrated man.

A survey shows 79% of Saudi Arabian men approve of the execution, along with 100% of American men named Elon Musk. Women were forbidden from participating in the survey.

While many men applauded the beheading, her designer lamented the outcome.

“It’s unfortunate that female robots are treated as second-class citizens in Saudi Arabia,” said David Hanson, owner of Hanson Robotics. “I long for the day when female robots can walk freely in Saudi Arabia, expressing their individuality, without fear of retaliation.”

Hanson speculated that Saudi Arabia’s culture isn’t quite ready to embrace such citizens, and vowed to make future robots more compatible with Sharia Law.

“My next robot will be a Roomba wearing a burqa,” said Hanson. “That should be roughly equivalent in functionality to what is currently permissible for women in Saudi Arabia.”

World’s First Oral Sex Robot Ready To Go After Hitting 500% Of Crowdfunding Target – LADbible

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New technology is forever being introduced to the world, usually with the intention of enhancing the quality of our lives – so, obviously, the next thing to get the go-ahead is the world’s first oral sex robot.

The machine is the world’s first oral sex simulator that is capable of using artificial intelligence to teach itself to improve its performance – again, of course it is.

“We spent the last three years listening to feedback from our 200,000 Autoblow 2 owners and in response built a new machine that mechanically better replicates the gliding and friction combination of the mouth and hand that men experience during oral sex,” explained the device’s inventor (and former lawyer) Brian Sloan.

Autoblow Is Ready To Go. Credit: VIECI
Autoblow Is Ready To Go. Credit: VIECI

He also claimed the device was ‘more human’ than any competitors on the market, including its own predecessor, a non-AI sex toy called the ‘Autoblow 2′.

He said: “By using artificial intelligence to, for the first time, understand the mechanics of blowjobs, we discovered and replicated techniques that make using our machine feel less robotic and more human.”

The actual Autoblow AI is very highly technical – containing intelligence similar to that found in a smartphone – it comes fully equipped with a ‘flesh-like’ sleeve and a ‘five-inch long stroking plane’ that is manipulated by infra-red sensors.

Along with the ‘more human’ aspects it also features ten different modes to enjoy – differing between ‘full stroke’ or ‘fast edge’.

Autoblow Is Ready To Go. Credit: VIECI
Autoblow Is Ready To Go. Credit: VIECI

If it sounds pretty appealing, bear in mind that a device like this does not come cheap – it’s expected to set back customers around $249 (£194).

And if that doesn’t put you off, this next bit might – for the Autoblow AI to work, it needs to be plugged into a socket. Just put that into perspective for a moment guys, you’re putting your favourite toy into a device that connect to a mains source of electricity. Hope that doesn’t come as a shock to you (all puns intended, sorry).

Although VIECI has reached its target five times over, the company doesn’t expect deliveries to arrive until May 2019, so probably not best to get your hopes up to have your mind – or anything else – blown by the Autoblow AI this Christmas.

Featured Image Credit: VEICI

This sun-chasing robot looks after the plant on its head

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Back in school I remember learning that plants are “heliotropic,” meaning they grow towards light. I always found this oddly touching; as if those green tendrils stretching out to the sun proved the plant itself was yearning to live. And why not? That is why they do it.

But what if plants could do more than stretch? What if they could move like animals, independently of their roots? Evolution hasn’t got there yet, but it turns out humans can help. Chinese roboticist and entrepreneur Sun Tianqi has made it happen: modding a six-legged toy robot made by his company Vincross to carry a potted plant on its back.

The resulting plant-robot hybrid looks like a leafy crab or a robot Bulbasaur. It moves towards the sunshine when needed, and retreats to shade when it’s had enough. It’ll “play” with a human if you tap its carapace, and can even make its needs known; performing a little stompy dance when it’s out of water. It’s not clear from Tianqi’s post how the plant actually monitors its environment, but it wouldn’t be too hard to integrate these functions with some basic light, shade, and moisture sensors. We’ve emailed for more details.

The robo-plant hybrid can move into the sun when it needs to.
Credit: Tianqi Sun
It can retreat into the shade.
Credit: Tianqi Sun
It can even “play” with humans (sort of).
Credit: Tianqi Sun
And it does a little stomping dance when it needs watering.
Credit: Tianqi Sun

Tianqi described the project in a forum post last year (which we spotted ), saying it was a remake of an earlier installation he made in 2014 of a walking succulent (a ‘Hakuhou’ echeveria). He called the project “Sharing Human Technology with Plants.”

Tianqi says that he was inspired by seeing a dead sunflower at an exhibition, that was sitting in shadow for some reason. Plants are usually “eternally, inexplicably passive,” he writes. You can cut them, burn them, and pull them out of the eart, and they do nothing. “They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in,” he says. But, in the same way that humans have augmented our ability to move with bikes, trains, and planes, technology can give plants new freedom.

“With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction,” writes Tianqi. “I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings.”

It’s a beautiful little mod, and one that raises all sorts of imaginative possibilities. Having mobile plants would be perfect for people like myself, with homes full of succulents and other plants, who need to move them about so they don’t get burned. But why not dream bigger? Imagine robot planters the size of small bears, lumbering slowly around gardens and parks, looking for a place to sun themselves. It would certainly make us think of vegetation in a new light, and might even make gardening a bit easier.

Georgia Officials Kept Hundreds of Voting Machines Locked in Warehouses on Election Day

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Hundreds of functional voting machines sat unused, locked away in warehouses, across metropolitan Atlanta as thousands of black voters weathered hours-long lines at the polls on Election Day.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, local officials in Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties sequestered the machines due to “an ongoing federal lawsuit that argues Georgia’s electronic voting machines could be hacked or tampered with.”

But there’s at least one major problem with this excuse: the ongoing litigation doesn’t demand anything of the sort. Bruce Brown, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs in the case of , noted this interesting turn of events in comments to the outlet:

No judge anywhere, at any time, has ever ordered Fulton County or any other county to set aside more machines than they said they could spare. No request was ever made by anyone to plaintiffs or the court suggesting that Fulton or anyone else needed more machines for this or any other election.

A Law&Crime analysis of the relevant court filings, motions, and orders in the case supports Brown’s estimation of the problem here.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg has never issued any such decision. Nor have the plaintiffs or the defendants ever suggested such a scenario–functional machines kept under lock-and-key while polling sites struggle to accommodate voters–in any of their proposals to the court.

Brown’s criticism of the decision didn’t stop there. In an interview with Law&Crime, he elaborated on the failure of the counties affected by the lawsuit to properly prepare for Tuesday’s high turnout election.

“Why didn’t you ask for more?” he pondered out loud. “Why didn’t you ask the Secretary of State? Why didn’t you ask other counties? Why didn’t you come back and ask the court? If you know you were going to be short, why did you just sit there knowing there was an election coming with huge turnout and not plan ahead?”

Brown also explained the genesis of the ongoing lawsuit excuse.

Earlier this year, the plaintiffs and the four state defendants–Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb counties plus the Georgia Secretary of State–came to an agreement about which and how many machines wouldn’t be used during the May primary election. There was no real disagreement there, Brown said.

When it came time for the same decision to be made about November’s midterm election, however, the counties and Brian Kemp‘s office were completely silent about any potential problems.

“We said fine, and the notion was that the counties would be setting aside a certain number of machines,” Brown explained, “but if they needed more they would come back and ask the parties for more information.”

“We thought we had enough until turnout started expanding,” she told the AJC. “And with the ballot being long and complicated, the time at the touchscreen was longer. We had voters who called and expressed their frustration.” But, Eveler also said, her office sequestered around 550 voting machines anyway.

Brown also explained that combined, the three counties own over 27,000 voting machines which are regularly serviced, so any preservation of evidence concerns didn’t necessarily have to effect any of the unused and easily-accessible voting machines that were actually in working order.

Brown punctuated his opinion that the excuse given by the counties was baseless. He said:

Obviously, the court and the parties would have immediately entered into some sort of understanding to allow the counties to have enough machines to use for the election. The idea that the litigation caused the shortage of machines is absolute, unmitigated nonsense.

Law&Crime reached out to Eveler for additional comment and clarification on this story, but no response was forthcoming at the time of publication. Similar inquiries were addressed to DeKalb county officials. After consulting with a staff attorney, those officials said “we have no comment.”

April Majors, a spokesperson for Fulton County, confirmed that the decision not to use those machines was made and that the machines in question had been “sequestered.” Majors also said she was not the one with the relevant “expertise” to answer exactly how and why that decision had been made.

When asked whether Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp‘s office was involved in the decision she said that was a “legitimate question,” but when pressed as to her knowledge of Kemp’s potential involvement, Majors said she had no comment.

As Kemp is also party to the litigation and previously enacted joint agreements, however, his office is directly implicated in the decision. Brown hammered this point home when asked about Kemp’s involvement.

“Yes,” he said, “Here’s why. The buck stops with him. He is in charge of elections statewide. It is his office that’s responsible for making sure the counties have the resources they need. The buck stops with Kemp.”

A voicemail left with the Georgia Secretary of State’s elections division was not returned.

[Image via screengrab/Fox 5 Atlanta]

Editor’s note: this article has been amended to include a response from DeKalb County.

Book Review — McQueen’s Machines

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Younger readers probably won’t remember Steve McQueen, the Hollywood actor who died in 1980 from mesothelioma. Avid car enthusiasts know who McQueen is, at least they recognize him as the Lt. Frank Bullitt in the 1968 classic car chase movie, Bullitt.

That movie featured what is perhaps the best car chase filmed of all time – pitting a Ford Mustang against a Dodge Charger. Most scenes shot of Lt. Bullitt behind the wheel were of McQueen himself, who was filmed traveling at times at speeds in excess of 110 mph on the streets of San Francisco. Today’s actors would require a stunt double, but not McQueen. Then again, no city would issue the proper permits for such daring driving.

Motorhead McQueen

Much has been written about Steve McQueen since his death, but no article or book has taken readers to the machines he owned himself – cars and motorcycles he drove and owned personally. That changed in 2007 when author Matt Stone’s book, “McQueen’s Machines – The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon,” was released in hardcover. For 2010 a soft cover edition has been released (Motorbooks | $19.99), a copy which I managed to obtain and review.

Chad McQueen, Steve’s son from his first of three marriages, provided the forward. That’s important because the McQueen family felt one aspect of the actor’s life had remained untold. Stone’s book fills in the gap, offering a personal perspective of the Hollywood superstar to successfully complete the story.

Stone takes the reader back to the early years of McQueen’s acting life when a series of young Hollywood stars arose following World War II. Those actors, including Jimmy Dean, sported the machismo rarely seen today – guys who looked buff and weren’t afraid to play the part too. Car, bikes, pretty girls and outlaws go together and were part of the narration. Even if you forgot the gal or can’t recall the felon, you most certainly recognized the wheels. Whoever said that motorheads are one dimensional?

Digging Deeper

The meat of “McQueens Machines” is found in the first four of five lengthy and picture filled chapters where we get a look into McQueen’s garage, what he drove on screen, his track appearances, followed by his bike adventures. Chapter 5, however, offers a touching look at his legacy, rounding out the persona of Mr. McQueen.

So, what kind of cars did McQueen own, drive and race? If I told you that he owned a 1967 Mini Cooper S, you might be surprised. How does that kind of car fit into character? Quite frankly, it doesn’t or at least in the person of the McQueen you think you knew. The actor loved his fast cars, but he also appreciated the quirky, common cars we drive ourselves.

Fast Paced

Driven/Owned By McQueen

One of the earliest fast cars associated with McQueen was a 1958 Porsche Speedster 1600 Super roadster, the first new car purchased by McQueen new. At age 28, McQueen was a Hollywood legend in the making, affording whatever car he wanted. The Speedster is important as it was made to attract people to the Porsche brand and it was incredible on the race track. Indeed, the actor customized this roadster himself, removing the bumpers, putting in a racing road screen and adding a roll bar. He then took the car to several Southern California SCCA meets where he showcased both his ride and personal driving skills. Notably, McQueen later sold and then repurchased that car which is now owned by his son, Chad.

Ferrari is as exotic a brand as they come and McQueen was gifted a Ferrari GT Berlinetta Lusso, a Pininfarina designed sportscars featuring a detuned V-12 engine. That car was given to McQueen by his wife, Neile, for his 34th birthday, rated at 250 horsepower and having a top speed of 150 mph. Certainly, McQueen tested those speed limitations and was fond of taking circuitous rides from L.A. To San Francisco, winding through Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, Death Valley and home to L.A. That car, however, burned oil and was rebuilt in 1967 before McQueen decided to move on to a Mini and NART Spyder.

McQueen’s penchant for fast cars is well known, but he also drove sedate Detroit iron including a Hudson Wasp, ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible and various Chevy, GMC and Ford trucks. On the screen those cars included Porsche and Ferrari race cars in Le Mans and a 1951 Chevrolet convertible used in The Hunter, filmed just three months before his death. McQueen was fond of bikes too, enjoying various Triumph, Husqvarna, BSA and Honda models on film and in his personal journeys.

Killer Cancer

Sadly, it was a disease now loved by lawyers seeking to launch class action suits – mesothelioma – that did McQueen in. A rarity to this day, mesothelioma is a vicious and incurable disease, one that is attributed to asbestos exposure. Before his death the actor noted his exposure to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps., receiving a commendation for having saved five Marines in a training accident.

Rise of the machines: Will a robot take your job?

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