Nicole Morrison- Can a robot really tell you if a food dish is delicious?


A small laboratory in Bangkok has come up with a robot that can apparently tell someone whether a Thai dish is authentic or not based on large sensors and computer circuitry which act as a tongue and nose. They called this robot e-Delicious, it has nine sensors that measure the balance of six Thai flavours- sweet, sour, bitter, salty, savoury, and spicy, as well as the foods aroma. The article states “The sensors give a taste-reading that we can understand. So if we like a certain taste, but can’t explain what that taste is to someone else, the machine will able to decipher it, and record the data as a standard for other dishes”. Many culinary experts disagree that this robot can truly decide whether a dish tastes good or not. Thai culinary expert David Thompson argues that it is impossible for this to happen as taste is subjective and we cannot just set one standard.

I found it interesting that the scientists behind the e-Delicious robot talk about it like it has a sense of taste and smell, comparing the machines technology to a nose and tongue. Last class we talk about authenticity and how we are placing less importance on human things. I believe this is a really good example of that, instead of letting actual human beings decide on whether a dish tastes good they are relying on a robot to tell someone whether it tastes good or not instead of letting people decide for themselves. The robot itself is using a universal idea of taste and smell, it does not consider the human conditioning of preferences, allergies, ethnic background, what you are accustomed to and so on. Taste is definitely not universal but by using this robot we are placing little significance on humans and our own opinions and caring more about what the robot deems “delicious”. Do you think this robot could really tell us whether we think a dish is delicious, or if we would really like something?

Emma C. – Happily Married in Second Life

I came across this article by the DailyMail that goes into the investigation of a couple that found each other through Second Life.

A man by the name of David Pollard crumbled before his eyes as he became strongly attached to an online romance through the simulation game, Second Life. It wasn’t until his wife walked in on him having sex with another woman.

His wife in real life divorces him, and he gets married to his mistress/second life girlfriend.

Stories like this show that digital intimacies are real. In this case, they happen to turn lives upside down.


Tyler M – AI: The Threat is Real

Elon Musk has said that AI is the greatest threat to our existence. Is it inevitable? Will our machine overlords be here to enslave us all any day now?

There seems to be a lot of films recently that point in this direction. Terminator, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ex Machina. All of these films offer a bleak future for us humans. It was refreshing to watch the “Her” film in class as it offers us an alternative – coexisting with AI. Why isn’t this as prevalent in films and pop culture as our destruction at the hands of machines are? It could perhaps be because we’re arriving at that point. The point where our technology is aware. We already have AI that exists – there’s SIRI, Cortana and even the machines that the NSA has to launch cyber attacks. The future may be a lot closer than we think.

Quiz 5 – heather P

  1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.
  • my favourite reading that we did throughout the term was actually the Brookey and Cannon Sex Lives in Second Life accessed on myls. I really liked this reading because the whole second life thing was very strange and new to me, so it really opened up my eyes to see how intense people get into living their fantasy lives through their avatars in the game. It was mostly my favourite because it was something new that I had never been exposed to before – having never played second life, so it was amazing to see what people experience in their virtual worlds.
  1. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.
  • favorite topic was defiantly the whole notion of where technology will go and whether or not these technologies will be able to constitute and create real life relationships with us. This is coming from the week where we watched the movie “her” and discusses the whole idea of people actually being able to be intimate with a robot and have a “normal” relationship. This was particularly interesting because I don’t feel like were far off from this becoming a norm in our society and I do see people eventually having relationships wit their computer in one form or another.
  • Least favourite was the topic of the public/private sphere, this was only because as a 3rd year comm. student we have gone over this topic more times than I can’t throughout prior first and second year classes. It’s not that it is not interesting or important to know – its just redundant.
  1. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.
  • I can not think of too many except I would have maybe liked to touch on the whole fan-dom (i have no idea how to spell that) for example the one direction video. I thought that was an interesting topic and maybe would have liked to see other examples like in video games and other medias as well.
  1. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).
  • I really like this idea of the class blog, it was fun and I genuinely enjoyed going through peoples posts on here compared to dull discussion boards on MyLs.
  • I also appreciate the fact that there is no final exam for this class. I feel like the short papers along with the ethnography and participation will be sufficient in giving us a final grade, so I am happy about that (thanks!)
  • all in all this was one of the most interesting classes I have ever taken, so thanks for such a great semester.

Ethan G – new kind of camera



Being someone who frequently films skiing videos using cameras like go pros, but has constant problems with the quality and placement of the camera, I found this video very interesting. This video shows the capabilities of a new camera called the lily. The lily can follow you wherever you go, their slogan being “just throw and go”. It gives you a follow cam from multiple angles resembling as someone else was following you with the camera.


When I watch this, it resembles the quality of a professional, as if it was shot by a crew of camera men, however it’s just a small camera not even being manned by anyone. I think that this could ultimately be the future of shooting videos such as movies and TV shows, cutting the budget down on film production by a large amount.


Do you think that these type of drone, follow cams could be the future of videos or do you believe that in order to get the real authenticity of a film you need a professional to do the camera work?

Jibo: The World’s First Social Robot for the Home- Nicole M.

Jibo is a friendly, intelligent, and helpful robot that you can now purchase for your home. I came across this video and thought it was more of concept idea instead of an actually robot you can buy, but I looked up the website for it, and you can join the waitlist to get your very own as they are currently all “sold out”. This robot is like taking Siri to new extremes as its used to see the room, help like a personal assistant, hear with its 360 degree microphones built in, relate and speak. This intelligent robot is not only freakishly smart but it is human seeming as well. The avatar on the front screen see’s and tracks your movement to take video and pictures and its also used as a messenger as it recognizes you and each member of the household to deliver the right messages to the right people. This robot device shows new developments and where our society may be taking us technologically.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 -Michael Robertson

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Features the world’s first disabled protagonist, showing that no disability should hold a person back. The protagonist is a beautiful blue haired female named Sonic who has a hearing disability. Sonic does not let this disability impede her instead, she makes her way through vast mapped levels, using her ultra-abilities to assist her. The designers a Sega focused on all the amazing things that deaf people has the ability to do and incorporated them into the game. It was clear that they paid a special attention to this, as it is the first time that deaf players have been able to see themselves defined with supersonic abilities in a virtual space. This game further opens new doors to designers as it moves away from the stereotypical male protagonist with the damsel in distress model and instead, offers individuals with disabilities a sense of empowerment.

Here is a link to a video to find out more:

Instagram Husband- Kara J

 “Instagram Husband” is YouTube video of several husbands discussing how they are forced to spend countless hours taking pictures of their wives in order to capture the perfect Instagram picture. The video accurately depicts society’s obsession of taking the perfect picture for social media. The exaggerated and dramatic detail of the video provides a comedic effect that truly emphasizes the ridiculousness of this obsession. This video relates to the previous blog post discussing Essena O’Neill’s decision to quit social media. “Instagram Husband” depicts Essena’s notion in which she discusses the deception and unauthentic qualities of Instagram pictures, as individuals spend countless hours attempting to capture the perfect lighting and positioning for the photo. “Instagram Husband” portrays Baym’s belief of a transformation within culture due to technological advances. The implementation of social media has created a heightened sense of self monitoring and has amplified society’s obsessive need to prove themselves to their peers.

Check out this video to see how ridiculous society’s obsession of capturing the perfect picture has become.