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“Jia Jia” looks and talks very much like a real woman

The University of Science and Technology of China spent three years designing her, making sure her mouth moves when she speaks and that her eyes glance around the room naturally. But they’ve yet to figure out how she can laugh or cry.

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A new interactive robot, named Jia Jia, was unveiled Friday by the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui Province.

“Jia Jia” looks very much like a real woman.

“Hello everyone, I’m Jia Jia. Welcome!” the eye-catching robot said as it greeted the audience at the university’s multi-media center.

“Don’t come too close to me when you are taking a picture. It will make my face look fat,” Jia Jia said.

Jia Jia was developed by a robot research and development team at the USTC, which also developed the model service robot “Kejia.”

It took the team three years to research and develop this new-generation interactive robot, which can speak, show micro-expressions, move its lips, and move its body, according to team director Chen Xiaoping.

Compared to previous interactive robots, Jia Jia’s eyeballs roll naturally and its speech is in sync with its lip movements, in addition to her human-like form, Chen said.

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Woman no cry

Jia Jia can not cry or laugh and these are areas to be developed, Chen added.

“We hope to develop the robot so it has deep learning abilities. We will add facial expression recognition and make it interact more deeply with people,” said Chen.

Chen said he hoped Jia Jia would become a wise “robot goddess.”

He also revealed that Jia Jia was “priceless” and the team would not consider mass production, yet.

Jia Jia will be on show at the 2016 China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair from April 21 to 23.

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

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While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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