COVID-19 has made Americans lonelier than ever – here’s how AI can help

The pandemic has contributed to chronic loneliness. Digital tools like video chat and social media help connect people who live or quarantine far apart. But when those friends or family members are not readily available, artificial intelligence can step in.

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Love in the time of algorithms: would you let artificial intelligence choose your partner?

Love in the time of algorithms: would you let artificial intelligence choose your partner? Shutterstock David Tuffley, Griffith University It could be argued artificial intelligence (AI) is already the indispensable tool of the 21st century. From helping doctors diagnose and treat patients to rapidly advancing new drug discoveries, it’s our trusted partner in so many …

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Walking, talking and showing off – a history of Roman gardens

Cover: Model of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy showing the poikilé, the large four-sided portico enclosing a garden with central pool. Carole Raddato/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA Walking, talking and showing off – a history of Roman gardens Model of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy showing the poikilé, the large four-sided portico enclosing a garden with central …

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How pottering about in the garden creates a time warp

What’s not to like about gardening? It’s a great way to get outdoors, away from everyday routines, and to exercise your creativity. It’s good for your health, whatever your age, and gardeners tend to be happier on average. But gardening is more than just a relaxing hobby. Psychology research suggests that tending to a garden …

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Red Cross nurses in San Francisco, 1918. Wikimedia

Face masks: what the Spanish flu can teach us about making them compulsory

Cover: Red Cross nurses in San Francisco, 1918. Wikimedia Face masks: what the Spanish flu can teach us about making them compulsory Red Cross nurses in San Francisco, 1918. Wikimedia Samuel Cohn, University of Glasgow Should people be forced to wear face masks in public? That’s the question facing governments as more countries unwind their …

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For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk

Pedestrian: a word fitted to the most drab, tedious and monotonous moments of life. We don’t want to live pedestrian lives. Yet maybe we should. Many of history’s great thinkers have been pedestrians. Henry David Thoreau and William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche and Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud, Mahatma Gandhi, William …

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The fashionable history of social distancing

Cover: Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images The fashionable history of social distancing Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Case Western Reserve University As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, “social distancing” has become a buzzword of these …

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Robots with benefits: how sexbots are marketed as companions

When thinking of sexbots, companionship might not be the first word that comes to mind. But sexbot advertising promises more than sex toys. It is also selling emotional intimacy: robots marketed as if they are capable of meeting both physical and psychological needs.

They are being sold as a solution to loneliness.

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Interior design of the future will seem like magic

Interior design of the future will seem like magic Bokeh Art Photo/Shutterstock.com Sara Nabil, Newcastle University Imagine a house where the walls change colour depending on your mood, or your tablecloth changes shape when you’re having a dinner party. A house where every item, from your cushions to your lampshades, interact with you. This might …

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Think of what your clothes are doing to the planet. Joe Giddens/PA Archive

Read this before you go sales shopping: the environmental costs of fast fashion

Cover: Think of what your clothes are doing to the planet. Joe Giddens/PA Archive Read this before you go sales shopping: the environmental costs of fast fashion Patsy Perry, University of Manchester It’s tough to love our clothes and keep wearing them for longer when we are faced with a tempting array of newness on …

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