“It’s really important for technology to be humanized” - Cynthia Breazeal, Founder & CEO of Jibo

I think what’s important with the Jibo is that it’s a robot that is as human as it should be.

They haven’t created a robot that attempts to look, feel, move, and act like a human. Instead, it appears that the driving ethos behind Jibo is that while technology can improve our lives, it can best do so through human-centred design, to delicately balance the power of technology with true human needs.

At the core of this, I think, lies the question: what is the limitation of technology, not from a capabilities perspective, but from a human perspective?

When designing technology products, we shouldn’t start with what we “could” do technologically, but rather, with what we “should” do to meet a human need. I think the Jibo is a great example of the latter.

Buddhism is “The Middle Way” and therefore in no way antagonistic to physical well-being. It is not wealth that stands in the way of liberation but the attachment to wealth; not the enjoyment of pleasurable things but the craving for them

Spectacular exploration of the “Buddhist Economics” concept, first introduced by E.F. Schumacher. Read it here.

BuzzFeed offers a transfixing cultural snapshot of our times because of its pure distillation of this American urge: the manic-cheeriness-at-gunpoint feeling that saturates our culture. The BuzzFeed formula — not just personalizing pop trivia, but treating it as an inexorable element of our emotional makeup — feels like the natural outcome of several decades of plug-in room deodorizers and Toyotathons and hamburger-slinging clowns. Our responses are predetermined and mandatory. Each button suggests the appropriate emotional reaction. And there are no buttons inscribed with the word “sad” or “unsettling” or “melancholy.” Wisdom, in our modern world, may boil down to recognizing that LOL and fail and trashy and omg don’t actually represent different categories of human experience.

A brilliant piece from NY Times Magazine: 794 Ways in Which Buzzfeed Reminds Us of Impending Death

Storytelling & Empathy

Excerpt from a Brain Picking’s interview with Alexandra Horowitz, author of “On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes”:

If you can just get somebody to talk about what they see when they’re walking down the street, they will almost inevitably be seeing something different than you. Because they are a different person, and there’s a whole background there. And, actually, I think that is a kind of writerly trick — it’s sitting in the restaurant and making up stories about the people who sit around you… being interested in [them] and being able to imagine, backwards, their stories. 

This is an important meditation on one of the most important characteristics of a great storyteller: the ability to live in someone else’s world, see it as they do, and to communicate that world in an honest, uplifting way. Great storytelling starts with empathy.

That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.

Malcolm Gladwell on the importance of being able to change your mind.