Aziz Ansari’s Book ‘Modern Romance’ Explores How Technology Affects Relationships

 

We were all sad to see the cast of the Parks and Recreation say goodbye to their loyal viewers during the series finale last week, but when one door closes another one opens. That certainly seems to be the case for 32-year-old actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. Not only does he have a Netflix stand-up comedy special on its way, Ansari also has a book coming out soon. And no, it’s not what you expect.

Many comedians, such as Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, release memoirs to give fans a look into their personal life. Ansari, on the other hand, is releasing a book called Modern Romance where he apparently recruits a sociologist to conduct studies on love and romance in this day and age.

“I had been starting to do this stand-up about dating and realized that the current romantic landscape is way different,” Ansari told TIME.  “All these very modern problems — like, sitting and deciding what to write in a text — that’s a very new conundrum.”

Ansari goes on to explain that while doing research for a stand-up bit, he realized he wanted the perspective of someone in the proper academic field to assess things like texting and how it can affect relationships. The result? A sociology book that has Ansari humor written all over it.

“I want to be clear: The book is not, “It’s crazy! We have phones now!” The changes are far beyond the technology,” Ansari explains. “And marriage, not that long ago, was an economic institution where two families would come together to bring their wealth together. The whole idea of finding a soul mate only became a thing in the past 100 years. So the whole redefinition of what marriage is — nobody’s really written this comprehensive book about this kind of thing. I think it’s really funny and very interesting.”

Needless to say, the book certainly shows plenty of promise. Modern Romance hits bookshelves on June 16th. You can learn more about the book here on the official website.

In the meantime, check out Ansari on The Tonight Show talking about how text messages have changed the dating game. We wouldn’t be surprised if this stuff shows up in Modern Romance.

 

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Cost Efficient Robots Will Run A Japanese Hotel

When I think of robots, the word “helpful” doesn’t exactly come to mind. Sure, they could be developed to take on simple tasks like vacuum your home, but that’s about as comfortable as I get with robots. Maybe Hollywood is to blame for my negative viewpoint, but I when I think of robots, I picture man-made machines that could possibly malfunction and cause problems rather than solve them. Lucky for me, other than simple household items or toys, I haven’t seen or experienced significant robotic interactions in the United States. However, the same can’t be said for Japan where there is continuing development and use of robots. This summer, the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, will open its doors and guests will experience an ideally normal, pleasant hotel stay. The only difference? The hotel will be predominantly run by advanced robots. Hui Bosch According to mnn.com, guests will probably have no interaction with human hotel workers. These robots, or “actroids” will speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English. Although this high-tech and high end hotel will have 90% of its operations run by robots, there will still be humans present should malfunctions in the system occur. So why use robots when people would have to stand by anyway? It is cost efficient. Unlike human workers, robots have no salary, no sick days, no need for health insurance, etc. Ultimately, no humans, no human concerns for the company. Technology is constantly changing in our fast-paced world and yes, technology is an essential tool for us today. Economically, I understand the Henn-na’s decision to use robots. However, doesn’t that take away from the human experience of being warmly welcomed as a guest? Wouldn’t you want an actual pleasant greeting into the hotel and the front desk telling you their opinions on what restaurants to try or what recommended attractions are close by? Lastly, can we say we trust those people that are running and controlling these robots? Call me old-fashioned but I would rather interact with people than robots. What are your thoughts?

 

All photos courtesy of Huis Ten Bosch.

 

 

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Technology Meets Romance: Zhang Ziyi’s Boyfriend Proposes With Ring-Bearing Drone

A drone is an aerial vehicle which can fly around without a human pilot aboard. Instead, this aircraft is guided remotely. Now I don’t know about you, but nothing about remote airplanes scream “romantic” to me. Well, it seems Zhang Ziyi’s boyfriend Wang Feng intends to change that.

Zhang Ziyi, the Chinese actress most known for her roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), just celebrated her 36th birthday. Her boyfriend Wang Feng, a Chinese rock musician, decided that she needed much more than a rainbow cake to celebrate her birthday.

Pictures have made it onto the internet showing a small, white drone flying towards the couple. Wang Feng apparently reached into the basket hanging from the drone and pulled out a diamond ring before getting down on one knee and asking for Zhang Ziyi’s hand in marriage.

According to Chinese media, Wang made a promise to take care of Zhang even in old age. The two then embraced and kissed as fireworks lit the sky.

On Sunday, Zhang shared a picture of heart-shaped fireworks on her Sina Weibo microblog account along with the caption, “I do!”

Wang followed this up by posting a few words on his own microblog. “Thanks for giving me a perfect life — all hardships are already in the past,” he posted on Sunday. “From here on out, we’ll grow old hand-in-hand.”

Needless to say, fans are delighted with the extravagant proposal. Even after seeing our fair share of unique marriage proposals, a drone proposal is still a rare sight. So tell us. Is a ring-bearing drone cute or way too over the top?

 

 

 

Feature image courtesy of New Europe Online 

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GIRLS WHO CODE: Reshma Saujani’s Nonprofit Encourages Girls to Pursue Careers In Engineering and Technology

 

In Reshma Saujani’s 2011 Ted Talk, she discussed the importance of encouraging more American youth to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers in order to create jobs and re-ignite our economy. Not only are twice as many degrees being earned in business and social science compared to STEM, she also pointed to a startling gender gap, especially in technology fields. While 58 percent of women earn bachelor degrees, only 25 percent of them are in STEM fields, and only 12 percent of computer science graduates are women, down from 37 percent in 1985.

Research has shown that in a poll of fourth graders, two-thirds of both boys and girls claim to like math and science. However, by the time girls graduate high school, only 0.3 percent choose computer science as their college major.

“I think there are subtle things we do to girls that tell them that these fields are not for them,” says Saujani, who provided the voiceover for this summer’s “Inspire Her Mind” campaign, a cultural dialogue ignited by Verizon and MAKERS, a digital platform showcasing stories of trailblazing women from all walks of life. The commercial shows how parents discouraging their daughters from getting their dresses and hands dirty, telling them to be careful around electric tools (while passing them off to their brothers), can really have an effect on girls’ perceptions of what they think they can be.

“It’s not intentional,” Saujani continues. “I was home in Chicago with my two nieces and nephew, and my father called my nephew to come help him fix something, instead of calling my nieces. After he watched the ‘Inspire Her Mind’ ad, he realized he may also be unconsciously not pushing girls toward creating and building things.”

To combat this gender disparity, Saujani created Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that exposes girls to engineering and technology at a young age, with hopes that cultivating these interests early will encourage them to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. In 2012, Girls Who Code kicked off an eight-week summer program in New York City that taught programming to 20 girls, many from underserved communities. Since then, those girls have been inspired to spread their knowledge and enthusiasm by creating Girls Who Code clubs at their high schools across the country. A year later, the nonprofit had grown to eight programs in five different cities, and they are only getting bigger. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings; Girls Who Code aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women in the next six years.

“If girls have this skillset, they’re going to build tools and products that are going to make the world a better place,” says Saujani, pointing to her first set of students who built apps that tackled issues like bullying, obesity, cancer and world hunger.

“These girls want to create a product that will make communities better, and having the technological skills and being able to code will be important to solving these problems.”

One former participant of the Twitter Girls Who Code summer immersion program, Ming Horn, started a nonprofit called Khode Up! to teach web development and graphic design to teenage orphans in Cambodia. Though the high school student was inspired after meeting Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg through the program, Saujani believes that “the kids’ biggest role models are each other.”

Though Saujani grew up in a family of engineers in Illinois, she says she was terrified of studying math and science, a regret that gnawed at her all through adulthood. She eventually studied political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earned a master’s of public policy at Harvard and attended Yale Law School. She had discovered a passion for public service and political activism early in life. Her first march was as a 13-year-old youth activist fighting against racial and social injustice, and later, after 9/11, she worked to educate Muslim immigrants in Queens about their legal rights post-Patriot Act.

“It reminded me of what my parents, who came here as refugees from Uganda, went through,” says Saujani. “How your rights can literally be taken away at a moment’s notice if you don’t participate in the political process.

“That showed me how much the South Asian community lacked a voice in politics,” she continues. “In many ways, politics wasn’t encouraged in my family. In Asian families, you’re not supposed to put yourself out there like that. But I’ve always loved it. I’ve always had the desire to serve.”

Eventually, she worked as the deputy public advocate at the Office of the New York City Public Advocate, and in 2010, she was the first South Asian woman in the country to run for U.S. Congress. While she suffered two political defeats — she also ran for New York City Public Advocate in 2013, coming in third in the primary — she’s determined to change public perceptions of what’s possible for a South Asian American woman.

During her time campaigning, Saujani visited many schools and was impressed by their technology. She was also looking for a way to support the economic transformation of New York City, and it was then that the seeds of Girls Who Code were planted.

“After [the Facebook film] The Social Network, more boys think technology is cool, but I don’t think it has had the same effect for girls yet,” says Saujani, who published her first book, Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way, in 2013. “And that’s what we’re working on. No matter what you want to be, whether it’s a doctor, dancer or artist, technology is a part of who we are.”

Find out more about Girls Who Code at girlswhocode.com.

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

 

 

 

Futuristic Chopsticks Can Detect Spoiled Food & Will Even Count Calories For You

 

Remember the good ol’ days when chopsticks were just used as utensils? Okay fine, we may still be in the “ol’ days” right now, but if the Chinese company Baidu succeeds, we may be kissing the reign of plain chopsticks goodbye.

Last week at an annual tech conference in Beijing, CEO Robin Li revealed that Baidu has been working to incorporate technology into our beloved utensils. To everyone’s amazement, he announced that these chopsticks of the future can detect the nutritional makeup of the food it touches. Apparently, this means the chopsticks can count calories, determine salt content and provide you with all sorts of information that you would want to know about your food before consuming it. 

Many seem to be intrigued by the chopsticks’ ability to determine whether food has gone bad. The chopsticks can also be used as a thermometer to ensure that you are frying and cooking at the correct temperature.

So how can a pair of sticks tell us so much? Apparently the high-tech chopsticks will connect with an app that will give you all the information that the chopsticks detect.

By now, many of you are probably itching to get a pair of these. No more food poisoning for you! But unfortunately, these are nicknamed the chopsticks of the future for a reason. Apparently the chopsticks are still at the very early stage of development and all information regarding the price or release date of this product has yet to be announced.

Until then, check out this cool promo video.

Photo courtesy of rocketnews24. 
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Forget Surgery, Japan’s New App Makes You “Sexier” Instantly

 

We obviously live in a beauty-obsessed society. Diet tips, weight loss and surgery stories constantly make their way onto my newsfeed on a day-to-day basis. It’s tragic really — the lengths people will go to in order to achieve their ideal standard of beauty. Not to mention the financial costs of a little nip and tuck these days.

But we also have to remember that we are living in the digital age. There is an app for just about everything now, because who has time for anything that requires actual effort these days?

The latest of these apps includes Japan’s new “Spring App,” that will slim you down and lengthen your legs instantly, courtesy of Japan-based developer Kim Taewan. You can literally alter your body in just a few, brief motions. It’s so easy that it makes surgery and even photoshop look old-school.

According to Daily Mail, the app’s goal is to “help you adjust your body proportions, by overlaying lines onto the hips, shoulders and ankles to a more ‘appealing’ size.” The app asks users to pinpoint two to three spots on their body which they would like stretched.

 

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Photo courtesy of Elite Daily

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of Elite Daily

 

Since its recent release on July 21, it has already received glowing reviews on iTunes. One user wrote, “Just so easy to make you look much taller and thinner! Well I love it so much.”

What do you think? Let us know!

 

How Technology Helped a Chinese Soldier Marry the Love of His Life

 

In this day and age, with the rapid development of technology, pretty much anything is possible. We’ve seen everything from hologram waiters to virtual girlfriends in Japan, and it seems like each latest device or invention is even more bizarre than the last.

But sometimes, technology can also be used to fulfill a man’s simple wish to get married to the love of his life when he can’t physically be there on his own wedding day. Now this we can definitely appreciate.

Xinjiang army soldier Liang Tao was set to marry his fiancée, surnamed Yang, on July 26. Sadly, though he was already on leave, Liang was called into a mission that required him to stay in Xinjiang, as he was the only leader available. Deciding to put his duties first, Tao and his fiancée called off the wedding — only to be surprised by the commissioner of the army, Zhang Jiang Guo.

 

 

Having heard of Tao’s plans to marry, Guo decided to throw the couple a surprise video wedding. Guo and Tao’s fellow army soldiers were able to connect Tao to his wedding via satellite, where he appeared on a screen at the wedding ceremony.

Though this was nowhere near ideal for the bride, Yang reportedly burst into tears as she saw her husband’s face on the screen. She expressed her gratitude to the Xinjiang army, saying, “Thank you for everything you prepared for me. Although my husband is not with me here right now, this is a more meaningful and unforgettable wedding than others.”

Check out the happy couple’s wedding pictures below:

 

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Photos courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

Indian Inventors Create Wearable Tech Designed to Help the Blind

 

We’ve all probably had days where we weren’t paying attention while walking and, in the blink of an eye, accidentally took a spill or dive. I can think of multiple occasions where I’ve crashed into inanimate objects like poles or doors while walking and texting. Every time this happens, I’m left resisting the urge to scream bloody murder at the creators of all technology.

Does this sound like you, too? Well, while it’s easy to blame our devices for misguiding us in our paths, we think that this new line of interactive haptic (of or relating to the sense of touch) smart shoes designed by Indian inventors Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Shram proves that technology is not always the devil, and can be used for worthwhile purposes. Perhaps they’ll change your mind as well.

Lechal (translating to “take me there” in Hindi), the brand name of the shoes, were initially designed to help the visually-impaired with navigation. The designers told Mashable, an Indian magazine, “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.” With the shoes, they can instantly find their way through a buzzing sensation on either the right foot or left foot which signifies which way to turn.

But as the video below shows us, it really is for everyone, especially those who enjoy running. The shoes keep track of how many steps it took to get to your location, as well as the number of calories burned. How does it work? The shoes contain a module that can wirelessly connect to an app you can download on your phone. Through the app, the user enters his or her destination. As soon as he or she begins walking, the sensors will then send a vibration to signal a turn for the user.

 

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Watch the ad for Lechal below:

 

 

Adorable Thai Commercial Reminds Us That Technology Can’t Replace Love

I don’t know about you, but in my day, an elementary kid with a cell phone was simply unheard of. Well that’s certainly not the case anymore. I’ve seen 10-year-olds bring brand new laptops to school, 5-year-olds with the latest smartphones, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across parents using an iPad to distract their toddlers from being too loud in public places.

I guess there’s no avoiding it. Advances in technology are bound to affect our youth. Don’t get me wrong. I see the benefits and if I’m being really honest, I think we’re all a little relieved that those loud, little ones have a reason to stop screaming and chasing each other while we’re in line at the bank.

Despite this, I can’t help but feel a little empty as technology continues to replace what’s familiar. Who knows how far this will go? Already in Japan, you can replace your relationship for a virtual girlfriend and who can ignore their plans of virtual waiters?

It can get pretty scary to think about all the changes to come, so we were quite relieved to see this Thai commercial which reminds viewers that no matter what, technology can’t replace everything. Specifically, technology can never replace love.

Check out the adorable video below where a new father learns this lesson first hand.

 

Cosmetics Meets Technology: 3D Print Any Color Makeup From Your Computer

Story by Ruth Kim. 

Ladies, ever scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest and see a lip color that you’re just dying to have? Or maybe you accidentally drop your eye shadow case and the palette bursts into a thousand, tiny particles (isn’t that the worst?), and you need a replacement ASAP.

Well, with the Mink printer, these dreams may soon come true.

Grace Choi, a former MBA student at Harvard Business School, is introducing a gadget that may just shake up (and piss off) the makeup industry: a mini 3D inkjet printer that prints real, usable makeup in the comfort of your own home.

Choi, who calls herself a “serial inventor,” debuted a proof-of-concept demo of the Mink printer at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week. She launched her presentation with this bold claim: “The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullsh–.”

Summarized by Choi in simple terms, all makeup is made of are cheap raw material substrates that are mixed with varying shades of pigment. Cheaper and more accessible makeup products, sold at a Walmart or CVS, only come in colors that will sell in masses. More unique “niche” shades are sold at exponentially higher prices at Sephora or makeup counters. Who wants to pay that kind of money? “No one, that’s who,” Choi says.

So this is where the Mink 3D printer comes in. The gadget essentially turns the internet into an “endless beauty aisle,” says Choi. From any YouTube channel, Pinterest board or Facebook photo, makeup enthusiasts can select a shade, use a color picker to copy the exact hex code, click print, and voila. But you’ll just have to see it to believe it. Watch Choi’s demo in this video.

When all is said and done, Choi will initially sell the mini printer at the retail price of $300. We’re just simply fascinated at the endless possibilities that technology can offer.

 

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com