91 posts tagged Ai
The rise of the thinking machines
At the intersection of Big Data and artificial intelligence computers are quickly beginning to rival the decision making power of humans. While the technology has the capacity to offer vast improvements in precision and efficiency it also raises questions about how much responsibility should be ceded to machines and what humans’ role will be in the future workplace. (via The rise of the thinking machines - E & T Magazine)
For the French philosopher Paul Virilio, technological development is inextricable from the idea of the accident. As he put it, each accident is ‘an inverted miracle… When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution.’ Accidents mark the spots where anticipation met reality and came off worse. Yet each is also a spark of secular revelation: an opportunity to exceed the past, to make tomorrow’s worst better than today’s, and on occasion to promise ‘never again’.
Will humankind become obsolete?
The main fear about the very image of machines replacing humans is the one of mankind obsolescence. This idea that our civilization will evolve into a world like Matrix, where we would be relegated to a mere peripheral equipment became incapable of managing its destiny. But as illustrated by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in “Race Against The Machine”, this feeling of an obsolescent humanity is linked to a vision of humans competing against the machine instead of man working with it. The question is to define this “with” and which concepts it underlies? Classical notion of tools external and fully subdue to man probably lived with the arrival of autonomous machines. A concept that may emerge is “partnership”. After having been for centuries a simple tool, our machines would become associated with us; and thus this manmachine duo creation, made effective by osmosis between our animal adaptability and digital speed and highprecision, will allow both sides to find a new place and prosper. Another way is the idea of anthropotechny,(11) working directly on bodies to the point of permanently blurring distinction between man and machine. This is of course a longerterm prospective vision and in a more practical and immediate point of view, what can be done when we see autonomous systems outperform humans in such a specific domain as medical diagnosis?
A recent study investigates how readers perceive computer-generated news articles. The advent of new technologies has always spurred questions about changes in journalism — how it is produced and consumed. A recent development which has come to the fore in the digital world is software-generated content. A recent article investigates how readers perceive automatically produced news articles vs. articles which have been written by a journalist.
The results suggest that the journalist-authored content was observed to be coherent, well-written and pleasant to read. However, while the computer generated content was perceived as descriptive and boring, it was also considered to be objective and trustworthy. Overall readers found it difficult to tell which articles had been written by journalists, and which were software-generated.
Perhaps most significant in Clerwall’s study is the discovery that there were no substantial differences in how the different articles were perceived by readers. Does that mean that computer robots are capable of doing as good a job as journalists? Should journalists be considering a career change just yet? There are certainly advantages to be had in the speed with which computer-generated content can be produced, but will a robot writer ever be able to match the creativity, flexibility and analysis of journalist authored articles? The technology in place may not be quite able to reach these levels of sophisticated reporting yet, but it certainly provides food for thought as to how automated content might influence journalism in the future.
It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research
The structure of the brain reveals a network of massively interconnected electrochemically active cells. It is known that information can be represented by changes of state within this network, but that statement falls far short of revealing how the brain supports thought, feelings, memory, intention and action. How then to solve this problem? The physicist Richard Feynmann famously said “What I cannot create, I do not understand”. A report published today by the Australian Academy of Science proposes applying this approach to the study of the brain by creating a simulating the biological thought process within a new computer system. In short: build a bionic brain. The device could be truly revolutionary. A bionic brain built on biological principles could suggest entirely new approaches to artificial intelligence. It would be a new computer resource inspiring new solutions for fail-safe smart machines. Simulating thought in a bionic brain would also provide a whole new tool with which to investigate the operation of neural circuits. A bionic brain would provide a whole new approach to the study of not just normal mental function, but also mental disorder such as psychosis, addiction and anxiety. It would provide a new resource to examine the causes of these disorders and even test proposed therapies. Ultimately a bionic brain may even provide a solution for victims of brain damage or stroke by outsourcing some aspects of brain function to a prosthetic device. (via It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research)
Artificial intelligence: How to turn Siri into Samantha
“Siri, why do you struggle with conversations?”
“I don’t know what you mean - how about a web search for it?”
If you want the latest football scores, to add meetings to your calendar or launch an app, today’s virtual assistants are relatively good at understanding your voice and doing what’s asked. But try to have the type of natural conversation seen in sci-fi movies featuring artificial intelligence systems - from HAL in 2001 to the sultry-voiced operating system Samantha in Spike Jonze’s Her - and you’ll find your device about as smart as a waterproof teabag. “Google and Apple are painfully aware that their systems are not getting better fast enough because right now Siri and Google Now and the other personal assistant type applications are all programmed by hand,” says Steve Young, professor of information engineering at the University of Cambridge. “If you speak to Siri about baseball it seems relatively intelligent, but if you ask it something much less common it doesn’t really do anything except for a web search. “That’s an indication that the programmers have been busy trying to anticipate what people want to ask about baseball but haven’t thought about people who ask about, for example, GPU chips because you don’t get many queries about that.” (via BBC News - Artificial intelligence: How to turn Siri into Samantha)
Supercomputer Takes 40 Minutes To Model 1 Second of Brain Activity
Despite rumors, the singularity, or point at which artificial intelligence can overtake human smarts, still isn’t quite here. One of the world’s most powerful supercomputers is still no match for the humble human brain, taking 40 minutes to replicate a single second of brain activity. Researchers in Germany and Japan used K, the fourth-most powerful supercomputer in the world, to simulate brain activity. With more than 700,000 processor cores and 1.4 million gigabytes of RAM, K simulated the interplay of 1.73 billion nerve cells and more than 10 trillion synapses, or junctions between brain cells. Though that may sound like a lot of brain cells and connections, it represents just 1 percent of the human brain’s network. The long-term goal is to make computing so fast that it can simulate the mind— brain cell by brain cell— in real-time. That may be feasible by the end of the decade, researcher Markus Diesmann, of the University of Freiburg, told the Telegraph. (via Supercomputer Takes 40 Minutes To Model 1 Second of Brain Activity | LiveScience)
The age of artificial intelligence is here
Computers can now learn from their mistakes and this will turn the digital world into a new era in 2014, according to the N.Y. Times print edition today. The vision of artificial intelligence is now real. The first commercial version of the new kind of computer chip is scheduled to be released in 2014. Not only can it automate tasks that now require painstaking programming — for example, moving a robot’s arm smoothly and efficiently — but it can also sidestep and even tolerate errors, potentially making the term ‘computer crash’ obsolete. This all relates to the technology that would come when systems are self-aware; systems that perceives their environments and takes actions to maximize their chances of success. The new computing approach, already in use by some large technology companies, is based on the biological nervous system, specifically on how neurons react to stimuli and connect with other neurons to interpret information. It allows computers to absorb new information while carrying out a task, and adjust what they do base on the changing signals. A new generation of artificial intelligence systems will perform some functions that humans do with ease: see, speak, listen, navigate, manipulate and control. That can hold enormous consequences for tasks like facial and speech recognition, navigation and planning; the biometrics age is fast developing facial, iris, and palm sensory recognition and voice characteristics… ‘We’re moving from engineering computing systems to something that has many of the characteristics of biological computing,’ said Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, one of many research centers devoted to developing these new kinds of computer circuits. (via The age of artificial intelligence is here - San Diego Technology | Examiner.com)