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Bizarro Devs is a weekly newsletter curating the weird & the wonderful from all over the web.
🐸 THE FIRST LIVING ROBOTS. PLUS, THE BEST ILLUSION OF 2019; PREWRITTEN EMAILS FOR AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS.
This week, we have the first living robots ever created, the big business of synthetic images, and the best and worst of CES.
📰 From the Newsroom
What are they? The first living robots on the planet. Stretching the tape measure at just under a millimeter they were built from the cells of living frog embryos into a range of supercomputer designed living beings. Scientists built a number of different designs from stumpy legged bots to bots with pouches.
Why? Because. Most robots are built to be robust with their metallic sheen and plastic constitution, however, they are prone to damage and waste. Biological robots could heal themselves and when they run out of "power" they would decay like natural organisms.
What can they do? With around ten days of "power", they can move, they can pick up objects, they can heal themselves, they can siiiiing. Some of the long-term proposals suggest that the xenobots could be deployed to deliver drugs inside the human body, clean up plastics, locate and digest toxic materials, or remove plaque from artery walls.
Who's making the fakes? AI start-ups are using StyleGAN to create thousands of unique images from less than a hundred models. They then sell access to the database to any business needing human-like images for their promotional materials.
Who's using them? Details are not specific but one synthetic image service claims to have an American university, an HR planning firm, and a dating app as clients. Clients are offered between 10,000 and 25,000 photos which are "customized to cover a variety of ethnicities." However, synthetic images were also discovered in disinformation campaigns on Facebook recently.
Is it all ado about nothing? Unlikely. Synthetic people are predicted to provide 85% of all customer service interactions by the end of this year despite the fact that the technology behind it is still in infancy.
When did this start? The 2,000-acre plot of land was gifted to the Akon back in 2018 by Macky Sall, the president of Senegal. The land is just five minute's drive from the airport
Akon, the rapper? Yep.
What's the plan? Akon's futuristic city will be powered by his own coin, Akoin. It will also function as an all-renewable sustainable tourism village that complements his other sustainable projects in Africa. Due to be fully completed in around 10 years, the city is a small part of his vision to "empower African entrepreneurs and offer partnership opportunities for brands and businesses".
🕸️ The Cool Side of the Web
The Ten Must See Links Of The Week
Best dual-axis illusion of 2019.
Famous logos reimagined by expert designers.
This was the best take on CES. It covers all the weird stuff but with a dystopian or utopian twist for each item.
How the dark arts of PR have gotten darker in the age of misinformation.
Some of the weird secret surveillance tech available to the police.
A teenager discovered a new planet while on a NASA internship.
Digital reproductions from Paris Museum Collections now available for download.
Prewritten emails for a range of different needs.
Eschersketch is a tool for having fun with symmetrical patterns.
That's the end of that chapter; thanks for reading.
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Have a great week,