Sex Robots, an African Heroine, and the Uncanny Valley (Part 1)

May 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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When I first came across African artist Milumbe Haimbe a couple years ago, thanks to introduction by Cissie Swig, beloved San Francisco art benefactor, her graphic novel “The Revolutionist” was clearly a science fiction. The story is set in the near future on a satellite colony off the orbit of mainland Earth, dominated by a corporation. Social conformity is subliminally reinforced, the economy is purely corporate-driven, exploitation of human by human thrives and the insatiable appetite for sex robots threatens to tip the already delicate social balance. This gives rise to the resistance called Army for the Restoration of Womanhood. The protagonist Ananiya is a special agent in its Covert Operations Division when news spreads that the Corporation is developing a prototype robot that is sophisticated and sexually attractive enough to replace human women altogether. Before long the resistance galvanizes into a full-blown revolution, and Ananiya thrives to become the most unlikely hero on a mission to destruct the prototype before it enters the mass market.

If the story of robots replacing real women sounds far-fetched, I am here to report that Abyss Creations, manufacturer of RealDoll, life-size sex dolls designed to recreate the appearance, texture, and weight of the human form, has launched Harmony AI, bringing artificial intelligence to the dolls the company has been making for 20+ years.  “Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, […], what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want”, as Jenny Kleeman reports for The Guardian after visiting the factory and interacting with the prototype.   « Read the rest of this entry »

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PULSE | Spring 2017: Science Imagery Oscars, Dementia & Arts, Design in Tech, Innovation Measurement, and the Disruption Myth

March 30, 2017 § Leave a comment

Introducing PULSE: Essinova’s quarterly highlight of insights, news and events at the creative edge across art, science, design, (purposeful) technology, leadership and innovation.

…Tis the Season for Science Imagery Oscars!

(And congratulations Greg and Brian!)

Spring is when both Wellcome and NSF/Popular Science unveil their awards for the best science images, videos and visualizations.

Wellcome Image Awards 2017

The Wellcome Image Awards are Wellcome’s most eye-catching celebration of science, medicine and life. Now in their 20th year, the Awards recognise the creators of informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of healthcare and biomedical science.

This year’s Wellcome Image Awards were presented on 15 March 2017, celebrating the scientists, clinicians, photographers and artists who bring science to life through remarkable imaging.

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Illuminating Consciousness, Mindfulness and the Emotional Brain – Dr. Greg Dunn’s talk at Essinova Salon now available on video

November 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

As promised, for those who could not come to our salon and pop-up gallery at SAP Labs a few weeks ago and requested recordings, video of the excellent talk by neuroscientist-artist Dr. Greg Dunn is now available on Essinova website:

几星期前没能到场我们在SAPLabs举办的首届沙龙活动的朋友,曾提出要求观看讲座的录影。我们已将科学艺术家邓恩博士精彩讲话视频登载在网站上,欢迎观看:

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Windhover – a Sanctuary, a Discovery, and a Soaring Spirit

November 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

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The Windhover Diptych through the glass wall of the building. Photo by Matthew Millman.

It has been a rough month.  Just when the Windhover is sorely needed.

I stumbled upon the Windhover Contemplative Center at Stanford on a stroll through campus 2-3 years ago, when it was still under construction.  Intrigued, I made a mental note to visit, but did not have a chance to do so until last Thursday, thanks to a faculty friend who accompanied me in.

I discovered not only a poetically restorative sanctuary, but also the stunning artworks by Nathan Oliveira, Prof. of Studio Art at the School until his passing in 2010; as well as the inspirational story of the space’s very creation. « Read the rest of this entry »

Weaving New Webs of Art, Science and Innovation: Inaugural Essinova Salon Explores Neural Insights in Multiple Dimensions

October 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Written by: Timothy McCormick

Essinova’s inaugural salon and popup gallery on Sept 29 was a great success! A capacity crowd of over 100 guests from widely varied backgrounds gathered at SAP’s AppHaus in Palo Alto, to see the groundbreaking work of neuroscientist/artist Greg Dunn, and to hear talks by Dunn and by Janaki Mythily Kumar, SAP’s VP and Head of Design & Co-Innovation Center.

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Greg Dunn’s original artworks on display at Essinova Salon and Popup Gallery at SAP Labs. Click to view event photo album.

We were honored to share with new audiences the extraordinary work of Greg Dunn, PhD, Philadelphia-based neuroscientist and leading art+science pioneer, who explores novel and visually stunning methods to depict and explain brain structure and functioning. The salon featured a variety of original works and prints by Dunn, including his latest and perhaps most ambitious work to date, “Self Reflected,” which the artist describes as the most detailed and complex artistic depiction of the brain ever been created .”Self Reflected” was funded by National Science Foundation and is on permanent display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

BeiBei Song introducing Essinova Salon and the evening’s program

The event program was led of with an introduction by BeiBei Song, Founder of Essinova interdisciplinary creativity agency, in which she described a recent serendipitous encounter in Finland with “lights hunters” who travel to view and record Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) displays. Describing a scientist, adventurer, executive coach, artist and photographer she befriended there, Song suggested how science, art, design and innovation are driven by related mixtures of passion, curiosity, delight, and a determination to question, understand and explain. Understanding these diverse and mingled drives and roles can open us to richer discoveries across all fields, personally and as a society; and give us the more holistic understandings needed for both business and society to evolve sustainably and creatively, she suggested. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Picture, IV – How about a 21st Century Florence? Or for that matter, a new Hangzhou?

June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment

Athenian bowl, Chinese Song Dynasty compass, Michelangelo drawing, image of brain as circuit

“Silicon Valley’s continued success depends, ironically, not on some shiny new gizmo but on learning the lessons of history.”

“What jumpstarts a golden age is not necessarily what keeps it going. The good ones manage to change fuel sources midstream. The Renaissance was initially powered by the recovered ancient texts, but the Humanists who discovered them soon generated their own ideas, their own intellectual momentum. Silicon Valley, if it is to survive, needs to find alternative energy sources, new ways of being creative and not simply new creative products.”

– Eric Weiner, Geography of Genius

“History is a mirror for the future!”

– My parents. Or maybe Chinese axiom?

So it appears that the Bay Area has an art scene undergoing transformation, with exodus and influx both at play. My roundup in the last installment of the Series didn’t even include the Stanford Arts District — the one-stop, four-institution arts compound at Stanford University that is quickly ascending in national significance, with three new buildings in three years (at a cost of $235 million), adding to the existing Cantor Arts Center.

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The Big Picture, I – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

April 4, 2016 § 3 Comments

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

By Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, for Davos 2016

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Excerpts:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … « Read the rest of this entry »

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