NY State Gives Robots to Elderly, Artists Uses AI to Reimagine Disney Characters

Hey, TTN Readers and listeners. It’s another Thursday, and I’m taking the today and tomorrow off from corporate work. I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew.

This week’s tragic shooting has affected me and my family in ways I hadn’t expected. These mass shootings are exhausting, and getting caught up in debates with friends and others leads to nowhere.

Each one of this week’s top tech stories will be a mood lightener. I hope you read each story and think about technology’s promise and how humanity can be improved or delighted by tech.

It was legitimately hard to find uplifting tech news this week. I’m hoping these stories can carry you into the Memorial Day weekend a little brighter.

This week’s top tech news: New York’s Old Fogey’s Get Robot Companions, Dyson Announces Plans for Housekeeping Robots, and an AI Artist Renders Human-like Disney Characters. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app. Listen now.

I’m Sorry, but This Shot of Snow White…Copyright: Hidrėlėy 


Over 14 million people over the age of 65 live alone. Believer it or not, loneliness is one of the world’s most pressing problems and a pandemic hasn’t helped. Studies have shown that loneliness can negatively impact health just as much as smoking. The New York State Office of the Aging is giving 800 elderly residents an ElliQ personal assistant to serve as companion. ElliQ can engage in small talk and remembers interactions with the individual. The robot can prompt users for memories, self-validation, and reminders to interact with friends and family. ElliQ is made by Israeli firm Intuition Robotics. The regular price to hire ElliQ is usually $250 and $30 per month.


Finally, a company is working on building a true ‘Rosie the Robot’ device. This week, vacuumer, Dyson, announced plans to build a new kind of robot that is designed for household chores. The company is undergoing a big hiring spree to build and release a Rosie in 10 years. Dyson has been working on this tech for the last 10 years and release a video of robotic hands picking up dishes and strewn about toys. I was at the AWS conference this week and saw a Boston Dynamics rover robot intimidating con goers, and even then I looked at the digit-less robotic pump and wondered, if they can build bomb sniffing bots, how come someone can’t come over and clean up after my kids. My wish may come true, but they’ll be gone in 10 years.

As promised, every news story is more upbeat.


Digital artist, Hidreley Diao, shared images of realish looking renderings of Disney characters. He used a combination of tools to make the images, and admittedly they look really good. He used Photoshop, FaceApp, Gradiente, and Remini to generate human look-alike likes of popular characters. I was impressed with the results. It’s only a matter of time until we can get complete renderings of brand new characters starring in movies. Head over to Bored Panda to check out the complete set.

In less than 7 days you’ll be hearing a new exploration on technology and our relationship with it. Please check out my new podcast, The Cloud. Digital Technology. Decoded. Subscribe at thecloudpodcast.net.


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Have you ever looked at the screen and wondered what’s going on in there? Coming in time for the holidays, Seven Brief Lessons on Computing is a fast and entertaining read that shares how computers work for the curious.

Find out more at lessonsoncomputing.com.

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