Future Culture

Futurist Writer Lei Kalina writes her tongue-in-cheek musings and ramblings on the growing worldwide phenomenon of the growth of the Future Culture in the 21st Century

Future Culture In The 21st Century

Future Culture In the 21st Century

Futures Studies, Foresight, or Futurology , according to Wikipedia, is the science, art and practice of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. Futures studies (colloquially called "Futures" by many of the field's practitioners) seeks to understand what is likely to continue, what is likely to change, and what is novel. Part of the discipline thus seeks a systematic and pattern-based understanding of past and present, and to determine the likelihood of future events and trends. Futures is an interdisciplinary field, studying yesterday's and today's changes, and aggregating and analyzing both lay and professional strategies, and opinions with respect to tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Take This Anime Avatar As Your Lawfully -Wedded Wife

It must have been love at first Love Plus video game encounter.

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When Japanese Sal9000 ( that's how he wants to call himself) started fiddling on adolescent "love video games" via his portable Nintendo DS, little did he knew that his curious foray into teen games and video avatars would traverse a not-so-downtrodden path: having a love affair with a teen ladylove avatar.

And that's not all, folks. This one, a love affair for the books: being a first-time occurrence of ending up in wedded bliss. The real thing.

Check out BoingBoing.Net's report:

"The man, who calls himself SAL9000, was so in love with Nene Anegasaki that he decided to marry her and take her on a honeymoon to Guam. Of course, this means that he literally just took his Nintendo DS to Guam... while there, he took photos, livecast their adventures on popular video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga, and documented their adventures using the augmented reality iPhone app Sekai Camera. In any case, the guy plans on having a public reception in Tokyo this Sunday. It will be livecast on Nico Nico Douga, but in case you miss it, we'll be bringing you an update early next week. Stay tuned!"

And the video game couple's followers, following the love story as reported by Lisa Katayama over BoingBoing.Net, did stay tuned.

And it was wedded bliss alright, happening last Sunday November 20th: Sal9000 married the love of his life , a teenaged schoolgirl avatar in Love Plus Nintendo DS video game named Nene Anegasaki, with the "wedding rites" held at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. A real Japanese priest , all-human, celebrated the exchange of marriage vows between the two, with an attending live audience, and the presence also of MC -- he bride's virtual video game girlfriend -- delivering a speech for the virtual schoolgirl bride.

The event was livecast on Nico Nico Douga, a popular video sharing web site : home to thousands of video projects by anonymous users, " mashups of original art, pop music, anime, and web memes that only an insider to Japanese web geek culture can completely decipher. "

"Sal9000 is an active member of the Nico Nico Douga community, so it was important to him that his offbeat wedding ceremony was broadcast on the site. The footage seen here of Sal and Nene tying the knot between real and virtual is a highly imaginative, multimedia project orchestrated by a guy determined to officiate his devotion to his video game, and to pay homage to the otaku subculture that nurtures this type of creativity. Enjoy!" the Boing Boing report said.


And just recently, while traipsing and frolicking to their , or his , heart's content -- the wedded couple cruising the beaches of Guam and its tourist spots recently took time out from their honeymoon to thank writer Lisa Katayama , for all the "support" and extensive media coverage of their much controversial love affair.


The couple wrote , courtesy of Sal9000 -- the blushing bridegroom:

"Thank you very much for watching our wedding ceremony online. Because of your blog post, we received some comments from what appeared to be international viewers, and we were very happy about that."

"Both the actual wedding space and the livecasting website were full on the day of our wedding — I'm so happy so many people were able to witness this. There were over 3,000 connections and 7,000 comments made online, and the people who showed up in person at the ceremony also offered their congratulations. It was great."

"Now that the ceremony is over, I feel like I've been able to achieve a major milestone in my life. Some people have expressed doubts about my actions, but at the end of the day, this is really just about us as husband and wife. As long as the two of us can go on to create a happy household, I'm sure any misgivings about us will be resolved."

"As for what's next, we still haven't gone to see my parents, so we will be going home together on New Years to officially announce our marriage."

"The two of us hope to continue to let our love for each other grow as time goes on."

SAL9000 & Nene Anegasaki


And while the frolicking in that Guam honeymoon continues, another lovestruck fellow, Nisan from Tokyo, tells his story on falling in love with Nemutan, another videgame ladylove in blue bikini -- her image drawn in a throwpillow, and her bright blue eyes having Nisan as smitten as can be.

Check out the love story:

Nisan didn't mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter -- at a comic-book convention that Nisan's gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo -- was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan's bright blue eyes. In the beginning, they were just friends. Then, when Nisan got his driver's license a few months later, he invited Nemutan for a ride around town in his beat-up Toyota."
They went to a beach, not far from the home he shares with his parents in a suburb of Tokyo. It was the first of many road trips they would take together. As they got to know each other, they traveled hundreds of miles west -- to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, sleeping in his car or crashing on friends' couches to save money. They took touristy pictures under cherry trees, frolicked like children on merry-go-rounds and slurped noodles on street corners. Now, after three years together, they are virtually inseparable.
"I've experienced so many amazing things because of her," Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan's leg warmly. "She has really changed my life." Nemutan doesn't really have a leg. She's a stuffed pillowcase -- a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo, printed on synthetic fabric. In the game, which is less a game than an interactive visual novel about a schoolyard romance, Nemu is the loudmouthed little sister of the main character, whom she calls nisan, or "big brother," a nickname Nisan adopted as his own when he met Nemu."
When I joined the couple for lunch at their favorite all-you-can-eat salad bar in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, he insisted on being called only by this new nickname, addressing his body-pillow girlfriend using the suffix "tan" to show how much he adored her. Nemutan is 10, maybe 12 years old and wears a little blue bikini and gold ribbons in her hair. Nisan knows she's not real, but that hasn't stopped him from loving her just the same. "Of course she's my girlfriend," he said, widening his eyes as if shocked by the question. "I have real feelings for her."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Femisapien: Check Her Out

Femisapien Review image

Femisapien Review image

SHE CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH, NOT A WORD, says its manufacturer, WowWee Robotics Group of Companies -- with operations in Hong Kong ; Carlsbad ,California; Montreal, New York , and Wauthier-Braine ,Belgium.

The Femisapien, counterpart of WowWee's Robosapien, is here.

When the Robosapien robot skyrocketed with astounding global sales of more than 5 million units as the first commercially-available biomorphic robot - a fusion of technology and personality -- more came along, including the Robosapien V2 robot launched in 2005, with added functionality, including speech capability; the RS Media Robot launched in 2006 with a complete multimedia experience allowing users to create and edit functions; and the RS Tri-Bot Robot, a three-wheeled personality-packed companion with different play modes for hours of entertainment, launched in summer 2008.

Later same year, the Femisapien entered the market: the newest of the fembot cyborgs, cooing and preening with her "emotish" language of gentle sounds and sexy gestures, amply bosomed and buttocked, a sashaying bot more in the fashion of those stilleto-heeled Stepford Wives.

  • Femisapien™
  • Play

Hear out this testimonial from a new owner: " Over the course of testing, it kissed me repeatedly (until it finally said "Bleech!"), danced with me, walked with me and even delivered my business card. It also walked a virtual catwalk, avoided obstacles, fell asleep, and, I think, at one point even touched its own curvy behind and made a sizzling sound."

"When you flip on the Femisapien's power switch, it immediately raises its arms in a sort of "ta-dah!" motion. It coos and says "Mmm, Hmm!" and then awaits your instructions. Like so many of WowWee's toy robots, this one has no real purpose beyond providing entertainment, but what it can do to entertain is, to be fair, pretty remarkable."

"Its signature move, kissing, is one for the robot books. I stumbled on it by accident, and then tried to commit to memory that titling its head up and pulling one hand forward would get the robot to kiss me over and over again, as long as my head was near its face (it has IR sensors in its head)."

With three main function modes, each corresponding to a different head position, and each head-tilt in differing directions giving different results. In "Attentive Mode" , the Femisapien directly interacts with you: slow posing, introducing herself, dances with you, and even blows kisses. In "Learning Mode", she can perform for you, with some 80 different steps, plus her pre-programmed precise functions as part of her routine, like striking poses, holding and presenting thin objects such as business cards, and blowing kisses.

In her "Responsive Mode", she goes in her main walking mode, strut-your-stuff gorgeous catwalk ala ramp model vamp: interacting with your sounds and performing comedy routines. She doesn't respond through remote control and can only be controlled with hand gestures, touch and sound, her hands , meantime, function like joysticks. With a built-in detector, she detects objects at neck level, stops when something is in her path, or boldly confront another robot who crosses her path with her "Who's The Boss" routine. Whew!

Clearly, this bot , all of 14 inches but has all the curves, moves and grooves of something like a 36-24-36 curvaceous bombshell -- could be a bigger hit if the manufacturers make a humanoid version ala Asimo : tinkering at the kitchen, doing mini-errands, or cradling patients who need some "cuddling". Let's give it a few more years when this fembot grows up, life-size version, and graduate from her entertaining wiles to more serviceable functions for humanity.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wii Will, Wii Will ... Rock You

And you thought you're glad that Halloween's over, and you can finally get some peace (!) from those trick-and-treatin' craziness. But truth is, it isn't.

At least that's part of the observations from blogging technology vigilantes , smirking and letting out those roll-my-eyes exasperation over the latest from Nintendo's Wii adventures.

Sure, you already became a virtual Guitar Hero with your cruel virtual guitar a-weepin' and a-wailin' like a Led Zeppelin lead guitarist running wild, and you have already perfected your metaphorical tennis racket swings ala Andre Agassi, did the virtual hula to your heart's delight, and harrumphed in Evel Knievel driving fashion with your virtual steering wheel.

So what could possibly be next for the Wii? Hold your breath.

Listen: "The upcoming Wii-exclusive Baby and Me takes the whole special edition thing to a whole new level - it comes with a creepy doll."

"Better yet, you're supposed to strap your Wii Remote to it for a stunning display of just how far humanity has come. By rocking the disturbing creature in your arms, you'll also be rocking an on-screen baby in
Baby and Me. That's intense. But just check out all the other features!

"Your baby reacts by giggling, gurgling, or crying through the Wii remote, ten Baby Mode games including "Feed Baby " and "Send Baby To Sleep' ; eight Play Mode games including "Rattle, Catch, Clap and Balloons", Balance Board support via "Rock Baby To Sleep", "Burp Baby", and "Teach Baby To Walk"; and "Customize Baby with New Clothes, Accessories, and Playrooms."

Still awake??

Popsci.com writes:

"A new Wii-exclusive Baby and Me arrives just in time for the holiday season, so that every Nintendo-loving household can stick a wiimote in an anatomically correct doll's back to rock it lovingly via accelerometer and hear its gurgles, giggles and wails through a tinny Wiimote speaker."

"The game uses motion control to create 18 game modes that include the usual feeding, coddling and playing activities which keep hordes of zombie-like parents awake long into the wee hours. There's even balance board support for rocking this Rosemary's baby to sleep, burping it, or teaching it to walk. Note: if nothing else, we would definitely advise against teaching the terrifying tot to walk."

Funny feeling I get: this Baby of Nintendo is not too welcome in the world of , at least , tech geeks.

And they further smirk and up the ante -- that the kids rocking these "babies" in their arms get to see themselves in the virtual world as well, their virtual alter-egos also rocking a virtual baby onscreen. The Wii-mote, further , comes with a holster so that it can be attached to almost anything -- appliances, pets , even to your Grandpa's forehead ( just about anyone who wouldn't budge and who wouldn't mind).

Still , you haven't seen worse: there's still more roll-your-eyes incredulousness from Nintendo's Wii applications. Wait till you hear about the Wii saddle .

Yes, the Wii saddle : an inflatable saddle, for your virtual horseback-riding, right in the heart of your own living room . More embarrassing flailing in store for Wii enthusiasts, making them rock back and forth in this crotch-controller inflatable.

Popsci.com says: "Your regular Wii remote attaches to the saddle cushion, sensing movement with its accelerometers and an attached wand can be held in the hand to represent reigns, a lasso or maybe even a sledgehammer (Wii polo?). Who knows? ' And the so-called 'horse" doesn't really have to be a "horse" : could be a land or sea exploration vehicle, and maybe even a magic carpet. "Frankly, the line drawings of a large-headed boy mounting the saddle cushion are a bit on the disturbing side, and that's without seeing him bob up and down . Yikes."

Through all these, you may heave your resigned sighs. Funny how life was simpler back then, you muse: when Nintendo launched Wii Fit in North America in New York City's Nintendo World Store on May 19 2008 after its initial release on December 2007 in Japan. Today, a whopping, record-breaking feat: more than 50 million units sold worldwide, totalling to world sales made by both Microsoft's XBox 360 and Sony's Playstation combined.

Nintendo's Wii video game system was borne from the President's Challenge, a program of the US President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports encouraging Americans on daily exercise. And the Wii enthusiasts were treated to various yoga poses and gym exercises, even slalom skiing and jump skiing poses, hula hoops, and its own version of the "Dance Revolution".

Still, another one of Wii's latest: the Wii CPR . And this may have the most thumbs-up for Nintendo-loving households, and most especially those from the health industry.

Newsweek reports:

"The American Heart Association has pledged $50,000 to fund the work of four undergraduate biomedical engineering students who designed a computer program that teaches CPR using only the handheld Wii remote and a computer screen. Students James McKee, Jack Wimbish, Haisam Islam, and Zach Clark began working on the program in January as part of their senior design project for the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham."

Hopes are up as researchers get ready for its public release by middle of 2010, expressing optimism that the program will help improve the quality of CPR self-instruction.

“We’ve discovered as we’ve done research in CPR that when you just tell people to push two inches at 100 times a minute, they aren’t very good at being able to do that,” says Greg Wallcott, a project adviser. “The hope is that if you can give people feedback and tell them how they’re doing in a real-time fashion, then they are able to complete the task much more effectively.”

The development of Wii CPR is part of the American Heart Association’s larger attempt to use technology as an education tool. The association launched an application for the iPhone this week and a YouTube video earlier this year.

Wii now treading to preventive health measures and saving lives. Now, that's swell.