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Disney’s Avatar Theme Park, Robot Help And Awful Police Chases: A Video Roundup

A weekly roundup of our favorite videos features Disney's latest creation -- and the robot of the week.
9 Most Tech-Savvy Presidents
9 Most Tech-Savvy Presidents
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Howdy folks, welcome to your Sunday brunch of video fun. I hope you’re having a good weekend. Many of you finally seem to be thawing out after a show-filled winter on the East Coast. Snow brings a lot of fun (sledding) and headaches (shoveling). It also seems to bring some of the same videos out every year.

I first want to perform a public service. Some of you have probably seen a "Canadian Police Chase" video that gets broken out during the winter every year. I won't give away the joke just yet, but I want to tell you that the 15-second clip you see everywhere is actually part of a 30-second commercial by Midas from 2008. A bunch of people had edited out the beginning and the end and started calling it their own. The gag is really funny, but let's give credit where credit is due, and stop circulating the 15-second pirated versions. Here is the whole thing, in all its hilarious glory. I hope you’ve thawed out, wherever you are.

If you're like me, you're dreaming of a warm vacation. And, as long-time readers know, I'm a huge Disney fan. Disney is adding a new section to its Animal Kingdom theme park based on Pandora from the movie Avatar. They started building it last year for a likely 2017 opening. Disney released this teaser that has me drooling for a trip to Disney in 2017.

For this week's robot of the week, we had to go farther abroad than Disney (but closer than Pandora) to find a social robot helper being developed in Poland. The robot is called EMYS, and it was developed by Wroclaw University of Technology. The robot has been around since 2011, with early video of its facial expressions coming out then. Now it is ready to be a friendly home assistant.

I can't help but point out that the less cute Amazon Echo can do 90% of this without the expressive face. But it might just be the expressive face that makes the difference with a product like this. Is it really so hard to take these pictures and post them ourselves, or to walk over to the music player in the house and start playing it?

To integrate robots into our lives, they need either to do things we really don’t want to do or integrate small things into new and fun ways of living. This seems to be the latter. When it cooks and takes pictures of what it cooks, I’ll buy it. But for now, I enjoy watching the living space for what robots will do next. Enjoy your brunch, because soon the robots will probably eat it for you.

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Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer