Robots will hit the streets with food delivery orders from Marble, a San Francisco startup that is partnering with Yelp to navigate crowded city streets and deliver your order before it gets cold.
Marble’s robots are about waist-height, a bit larger than the dog-sized models of its competitor Starship. They’re also brimming with technology borrowed from self-driving cars. Each Marble delivery bot—there are a few of them cruising the streets of San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods—includes lidar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors to monitor their surroundings. The company says it plans to map the majority of San Francisco’s sidewalks over the coming year. Visitors and San Francisco residents can order delivery from Yelp’s Eat24 app for a chance to be served by a Marble bot. If you’re selected, you’ll be offered the opportunity to accept the service, and the restaurant will then pack your order into one of the robots’ cargo bays. Once it arrives, you’ll enter an access code to unlock your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Last month, Starship also began delivering pizza from Domino’s locations in Germany and the Netherlands. If those trials are successful, Domino’s could expand the service to more of its 2,000+ stores worldwide.
According to new research, other people’s opinions online affect the way you think about something. Findings published from a study led by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, MIT, and NYU, tests show that group mentality online does sway individual opinion and action.
The experiment involved a website where users submit articles, can comment on those articles and vote comments up or down. The site requested to remain nameless in order to allow the experiment.
During the test, researchers randomly voted positively, negatively or not at all on comments in more than 100,000 posts. Each comment received a calculated rating by subtracting the negative votes from the positive votes. According to the research, popular opinion tended to become a self-fulfilling,
Sinan Aral is a lead researcher in the study says “people will go along with positive opinions but are more skeptical of the negative opinions of others.” Several media outlets reporting on this study speculated on the affect of reviews and ratings on sites like TripAdvisor, Amazon and Yelp – reviews that help people make buying decisions every day, even when some of them could be fabricated or perhaps even subconsciously biased.
Recently, Yelp tackled the issue of fake reviews in a blog post, assuring readers it has processes in place for identifying those fictional biases that could occur.
But what happens when the popular opinion is purely fabricated by groupthink? According to this study, popular opinion is purely fabricated by groupthink. In business, groupthink can be attributed to bad decisions that aren’t grounded in reason. In society, groupthink ( a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people) can evolve into something ugly with detrimental consequences.
Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts.
Leaders should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.
Leaders should absent themselves from many of the group meetings to avoid excessively influencing the outcome.
The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem.
All effective alternatives should be examined.
Each member should discuss the group’s ideas with trusted people outside of the group.
The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts.
At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil’s advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.
Reading online reviews of a business, can be difficult trying to determine which reviews are legitimate and which aren’t much more than a paid advertisement placed by either the company itself, or someone who got some type of kickback for writing a positive review, such as a gift certificates or free merchandise.
Some companies are being proactive and deleting or marking reviews they suspect to be fake, such as Yelp with their Consumer Alerts. The FTC already considers fake reviews illegal.
New York regulators announced their crackdown on illegal reviews, and have reached agreements with 19 different companies who will stop posting and soliciting fake reviews as well as pay $350,000 in penalties.
The crackdown, dubbed “Operation Clean Turf”, targeted both companies who purchased the fake reviews, as well as the companies who are creating the fake reviews. A total of seven companies offering “reputation enhancement” services were caught in the year-long investigation, along with their clients they post reviews for.The types of businesses caught include a laser hair removal chain, and adult entertainment club, the charter bus service U.S. Coachways, and a teeth whitening service.
In a 2011 Harvard Business School study, a researcher discovered that restaurants that increased their ranking on Yelp by one star raised their revenues by 5 to 9 percent. A 2012 Gartner study estimated that one in seven recommendations or ratings on social media sites like Facebook would soon be fake. And there have been instances where all the reviews of a product have been secretly bought and paid for by the seller of the product.
According to the press release, these were the 19 companies penalized:
A&E Wig Fashions, Inc. d/b/a A&E and NYS Surgery Center
A.H. Dental P.C. d/b/a Platinum Dental
Body Laser Spa Inc.
The Block Group, LLC, d/b/a Laser Cosmetica and LC MedSpa, LLC
Bread and Butter NY, LLC d/b/a La Pomme Nightclub and Events Space
Envision MT Corp.
Medical Message Clinic and HerballYours.com
Metamorphosis Day Spa, Inc.
Outer Beauty, P.C., Lite Touch Plastic Surgery, P.C., Staten Island Special Surgery, P.C., Sans Pareil Surgical, PLLC
Stillwater Media Group
Swan Media Group, Inc. and Scores Media Group, LLC
US Coachways Limousine, Inc. and US Coachways, Inc.
Utilities International, Inc. d/b/a Main Street Host
The Web Empire, LLC
Webtools, LLC and Webtools Internet Solutions Ltd.
West Village Teeth Whitening Service, LLC; Magic Smile, Inc., aka Magic Smile