July 18, 2018

Tay

Microsoft designed its Tay chatbot to learn from and converse with millennials on Twitter, GroupMe, and Kik. “The more you chat with Tay, the smarter she gets. So the experience can be more personalized for you.” Within hours of coming online, Tay became a racist, misogynist Trump supporter. Created with the persona of a 19-year-old American girl, Tay’s responses were learned through conversations she had with real people. And sometimes real people come together to hijack efforts to crowdsource data. Read more

July 16, 2018

White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

To promote the reliability of its consumer electronics, Samsung ran a series of ads in 1988 each depicting a 20-year prediction and a Samsung product: Shock TV host Morton Downey Jr. with the caption “Presidential candidate. 2008 A.D.” to sell TVs. A ribeye steak with the caption “Revealed to be health food. 2010 A.D.” to sell microwaves. And a robot hostess with the caption “Longest-running game show. 2012 A.D.” to sell VCRs. Read more

July 13, 2018

Predictive analytics

An article in The New York Times Magazine included the story of a man who walked into a Minneapolis Target store and demanded to see the manager. He was furious at Target for mailing an ad booklet to his teenage daughter. “My daughter got this in the mail! She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant? Read more

July 10, 2018

Saya

When parents Teruyuki and Yuka Ishikawa originally posted photos of their daughter online, they didn’t expect Saya to become an overnight celebrity. They shared her photos to generate interest in their short film project, but the family put those plans on hold after receiving offers for Saya to be featured in ad campaigns, product announcements, even a research study with Tokyo University. Some of her fans even cosplay as Saya. Read more

July 9, 2018

BOCCO the family robot

Like Amazon Echo or Google Home, BOCCO is a voice assistant that can respond to “Hey BOCCO” commands, can relay text and voice messages between family members through a mobile app, and can notify parents when their children leave or arrive home by pairing with an included motion sensor. The technology is familiar, but the way it’s packaged is unique. Namely, BOCCO has a face. His eyes light up when he speaks. Read more

2018 Brian Rose