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Will Chickens Be Really Happy After Being Given Virtual Free Range?

Will Chickens Be Really Happy After Being Given Virtual Free Range?

Austin Stewart is an assistant professor at Iowa State University and a virtual reality enthusiast. He recently delivered a presentation on an extremely silly idea that manages nonetheless to propose some real questions that are worth answering. He outlined his fictional business Second Livestock (a play on the name of the virtual reality sim game Second Life) as a provider of Oculus Rift-like headsets for farm animals such as chickens so that they can enjoy virtual free range, which allows them to get the sense of movement and interaction in virtual reality even when they’re confined in small spaces. He goes into great detail on the “official” Second Livestock website, which outlines the process and the potential impact it can have on farm animals and the world at large. It’s really fascinating stuff, and a ton of work to put into something that most likely isn’t actually going to be implemented in the real world. Check out the full PDF of the presentation notes.

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virtual reality

    By using a headset, a wall TV display and a yoga ball trackpad, Stewart demonstrated to people in Iowa and Ohio (including a number of farmers) how virtual free range would work for the farm animals. The chickens would be able to enjoy the sense of motion, waving grass, a free trees and even some virtual reality chickens to pal around with in the digital realm. Participants had the opportunity to try out the chicken simulation themselves and were very impressed by it if still confused about its true implications. One of participants asked how the chickens would feel about having no real, tangible interactions. That brought up what’s basically the whole point of the Second Livestock fictional company: to think about how virtual free range would affect simple farm animals and how that would relate to the experiences humans will have as they become more and more entrenched in a virtual reality world.

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    trying it on

      Like the chickens Stewart spoke about and demonstrated in his presentation, we are also trapped in fairly tiny spaces (small apartments, cubicles, etc.) and try to get the feeling that we have more freedom than our boxed-in worlds lead us to believe most of the time. With that in mind, is virtual free range the next technological step forward for our species, or does it have the potential for harmful or even disastrous implications? Even though the idea of supplying thousands of chickens with virtual reality headsets is silly, that’s what Austin Stewart wanted to play a part in figuring out the ultimate answer to that question. Nothing has screamed that virtual free range is a danger yet, but it’s still very early on.

      enclosed

        No chicken has actually worn an Oculus Rift headset (to the best of my knowledge, at least) but Stewart said he’d consider taking his fictional business a step further by using some as real live test subjects. Again, the point wouldn’t be to actually make a company out of improving the well-being of farm animals (though that wouldn’t be a bad thing) but to further study how virtual free range works on a lower species in order to find out its possibilities and risks for people like us. We’re probably a long way off from answering questions like those with any real certainty. After all, most of us have never even worn a headset in which we can enjoy virtual free range. But the time when most of the world will have tried on an Oculus Rift headset is fast approaching, and the more research that can be done to figure out virtual reality’s effects outside of on science fiction shows will only give us a better understanding of our future.

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        Matt OKeefe

        Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

        5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

        5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

        Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

        The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

        1. Duolingo

          Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

          Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

          The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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          Download the app

          2. HelloTalk

            HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

            There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

            What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

            Download the app

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            3. Mindsnacks

              Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

              You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

              Download the app

              4. Busuu

                Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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                The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

                When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

                Download the app

                5. Babbel

                  Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

                  Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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                  If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

                  Download the app

                  Takeaways

                  All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

                  Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

                  More About Language Learning

                  Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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