Jackie Chan, And Disgusting Death Hoaxes

If you check your Facebook page, you may see a posting from someone in the Facebook universe reporting that Jackie Chan, the likeable martial arts action hero, died while filming a stunt for a new movie.  According to the posting, he fell twelve stories in the mishap, and you can watch a video of the failed stunt.

Relax, Jackie Chan fans — it’s a hoax.  Chan has dealt with these death hoaxes before, and is alive and well.

Why would someone engage in such a sick hoax?

In this case, it’s not just some disturbed individual.  Instead, its part of an elaborate effort to get your personal information.  If you’re a Jackie Chan fan and you click on the link, the spammers can access your Facebook profile page and post things on your timeline — which means your Facebook page could, in turn, be used to scam your Facebook friends.

It’s appalling how many people are out there, thinking up new ways to try to defraud people and using the good name and popularity of people like Jackie Chan to achieve their illicit aims.  It bears repeating:  be careful what you click on.  If something seems interesting, run a Google search first.  It could save you from fraud issues in the long run.

As for the spammers and their ugly, twisted ilk, I’d like to see Jackie Chan have a few minutes of kung fu fun with their faces.

 

Chatting Up Astro Boy

The Japanese have come up with a solution for astronaut loneliness:  they’ve designed a talking robot that was sent up into space yesterday to serve as a companion for the Japanese astronaut who will be commanding the International Space Station later this year.  The robot, called Kirobo, is part of a study of how machines can interact emotionally with humans who are isolated.

Kirobo is 13 inches tall, is capable of various movements, and was modeled on the cartoon character Astro Boy.  Kirobo is programmed to communicate in Japanese and to recognize the face of astronaut Kochi Wakata, so Kirobo can greet Wakata when they meet up at the International Space Station.  The robot will record all of his conversations with Wakata and also may serve as a conduit for messages from the control room.  Kirobo’s designer says he hopes the robot will serve as a kind of mediator between human and machine.

The Japanese are constantly breaking new ground in robotics, and Kirobo is just the latest development.  Still, I wonder about the underlying concept.  Our technology has progressed to the point where we routinely communicate with machines, through keyboards and voice commands, but an emotional connection just doesn’t happen. No one considers Siri their BFF.

Will a lonely astronaut, fresh from a hard day’s work on the ISS, really want to have a deep conversation with a doll-like invention that looks like Astro Boy?  Would Mission Control be more concerned if the astronaut didn’t connect emotionally with Kirobo — or if he did?  Is talking to a tiny machine really that much emotionally healthier than talking to yourself?