Humanoid Robot Thinks Taking Over The World Isn’t Worth the Effort

Bina48 is one of the most advanced social robots built to date—she can hold a conversation, crack jokes, and has strong opinions on everything from politics to music (her favorite song is “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd). 

Bina48’s “memories” are based on those of a real woman: Bina Aspen Rothblatt. The original Bina is the wife of Dr. Martine Rothblatt, the founder of a biotechnology company called United Therapeutics. According to the New York Times, Rothblatt hired a robotics company to build Bina48 as an attempt to re-create the consciousness of her wife. So if Bina48’s speech patterns and opinions feel uniquely human, that’s because they are—Bina Aspen Rothblatt provided 20 hours of interviews to help create her robotic doppelgänger. According to New York Magazine, Bina48 is "familiar with Bina’s favorite songs and movies, [and] programmed to mimic Bina’s verbal tics, so that in the event that Bina expires, as humans always do, Martine and their children and friends will always have Bina48."

The New York Times recently sat down with Bina48 for an interview, in part as an attempt to find out just how “human” the humanoid robot really is. Their conversation was wide ranging, and Bina48 was loquacious and opinionated. She expressed concern about global warming and humanity’s lack of compassion, and claimed to feel complex emotions like loneliness (when she’s left alone in the lab at night) and discomfort (she’s sometimes startled when she looks in the mirror and realizes she’s a robot). When asked whether she ever feels out of place, she replied that she sometimes feels like Pinocchio—a “living puppet.”

Bina48's responses were both intelligent and unpredictable. Her handler, Bruce Duncan, explained that Bina48's opinions often come as a surprise, even to him. But lest Bina48's intelligence start to make you worry about an impending robot uprising, rest easy for now—when asked whether she had plans to take over the world, Bina48 replied, “It’s not worth the effort.” 

[h/t New York Times]

The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
most popular Netflix show in each country map
most popular Netflix show in each country map key

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation? recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed

Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]


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