In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
A robot will soon be asking you if you want fries with that. In response to the rising minimum wage, the fast-food chain Wendy's is following through with threats to to start automating all of its 6000 restaurants because of plans to raise the minimum wage in some US states. Carl's Jnr is also looking at the idea. Robots also might soon take over parts of the education system. [more inside]
Menace 2 is an artificial intelligence which learns how to beat a human player at Tic-Tac-Toe and also it is made entirely of wooden drawers and colored beads
"Perhaps the most important news of our day is that datasets — not algorithms — might be the key limiting factor to development of human-level artificial intelligence". Alexander Wissner-Gross responding to Edge. Found here, with some links and a table.
What happens when creating a new AI chatbot is as easy as installing a new app? Hugh Hancock writing on Charles Stross's blog explores the future implications of swarms of artificially intelligent chatbots. [more inside]
Besides GO, AI are learning to play video games. Without being told the rules beforehand. Watch AI learn and succeed at video games: Pong & Tetris, Breakout, Flappy Bird, 2048, MAR/IO, and in the future Starcraft and other RTS, or any game (previously)
“It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move,” he says. “So beautiful.” Go—a 2,500-year-old game that’s exponentially more complex than chess. As recently as 2014, many believed another decade would pass before a machine could beat the top humans. Now, Alphago, Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system has beaten Lee Sedol, one of the world’s top players thrice to win their 5 match series. When AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol in the first game, the result was shocking to many, but doubts still remained about its strengths and weaknesses.In the second game, Lee’s play was much better. His game plan was clearly to play solid and patient moves, and wait for an opportunity to strike.Even though Lee never found that opportunity, it was a high quality game and it gave hope to everyone supporting ‘team human’. Game three crushed that hope. [more inside]
The first game between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol is scheduled to begin at 23:00 EST tonight, in Seoul. There will be a livestream with commentary in english. Since the Deepmind Go-playing computer's previous victory against Fan Hui, Go professionals and AI researchers alike have had time to consider what it means. [more inside]
Fido vs Spot [SLYT]
Sex bots don't even have to be that good to do their job....Their sole purpose is to get the dater to want to chat more. And a pent-up dude online is the easiest mark. As acclaimed AI researcher Bruce Wilcox puts it, "Many people online want to talk about sex. With chat bots, they don't require a lot of convincing."--Rolling Stone on Online Dating's Sex Bot Con Job
“At CodinGame, we believe that everyone should be able to discover the pleasure of coding. We are programmers at heart, and we know that code is a powerful tool to innovate and create. It's a matter of passion, but above all, it's fun. So we've imagined a platform which merges programming and video games.” [more inside]
The game of go, seemingly the last hold-out for games at which the most skilled humans can beat the best computer programs, has perhaps fallen at the hands of a computer. [more inside]
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
Dark Souls (previously and previously) remains popular for its challenging single player, and dedicated PVP community. Github user Metal Crow has developed an AI for the PVP aspect of the game, and shows off its talents at this YouTube video. In the write-up.txt file at GitHub, he explains the process, capabilities, and difficulties of programming a bot for what is (ostensibly) a total black box of a game (Pastebinned version to add word wrap and improve readability). Especially interesting is the use of a neural network to train the bot to avoid backstabs. [more inside]
A two-part essay by Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post on the growing unease among some technologists. [more inside]
TensorFlow. Google has open-sourced their numerical computation library for machine learning applications. (Especially "deep" learning.) [more inside]
SHARP and Tomotaka Takahashi have announced a new phone, a cute robot that interacts with you. (via)
SOMA, the new sci-fi horror game by the creators of Amnesia, the Dark Descent, came out this week. It was influenced by the works of Greg Egan, China Mieville, Philip K Dick, and (MeFi's own) Peter Watts. [more inside]
Since the pandas’ arrival, the team at Edinburgh zoo had already tried three times to breed the bears – with considerable fanfare and public attention – and each attempt had ended in disappointment. After a thoroughgoing review of these attempts in late 2014, this year’s season carried with it a sense of added pressure. But the keepers had also come up with one or two new tricks. A few weeks earlier, Maclean had daubed urine from Long Hui, an impressive male panda kept at Schönbrunn zoo, in Vienna, all over Yang Guang and Tian Tian’s enclosures, in order to spice the air with competition and possibility. “She spent a lot of time sniffing and seeing what was going on,” said Maclean. “He came out and was just like, ‘Whoa!’ He was all over the place.”
Forty years ago an Italian restauranteur, called Bruno, decided he liked welding and started making playground equipment for his customers' kids to play on. Today the entirely human powered - and rather scary - theme park of Ai Pioppi is the result. Reviewer Tom Scott escaped with a little more than grazed knees. [more inside]
Over a thousand scientists and public intellectuals, including Stephen Hawking, Daniel Dennett, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, and Elon Musk, have signed an open letter calling for a ban on the development and deployment of "offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control”, i.e., the coupling of autonomous Artificial Intelligence to weapons systems.
I listen to one of the two or three key brains behind the Search algorithm itself, Ben Gomes, who speaks 10 to the dozen of “natural language generation” and “deep learning networks” (and, inevitably, of the “holy grail” of answering users’ questions before they have been asked). [more inside]
The Ultra Hal chatbot converses with itself. Ultra Hal is a learning chatbot and virtual assistant from zabbaware, as well as a $29 ticket to an Uncanny Valley of sexism, materialism and banality.
Google Photos recognizes the content of images by training neural networks. Google Research is conducting experiments on these simulated visual brains by evolving images to hyperstimulate them, creating machine hallucinations - like that image of melting squirrels that's been going around lately.
Computer science professor Jordan Boyd-Graber is currently working on a National Science Foundation grant for "Bayesian Thinking on Your Feet: Embedding Generative Models in Reinforcement Learning for Sequentially Revealed Data." At first glance, this might not sound like fun, but in the paper, Besting the Quiz Master, Boyd-Graber showed how machine learning could be used to create a quiz bowl version of the Terminator that can take all human comers. This weekend, that proposed machine finally played a nervewracking 200-200 tie game against a team of four Jeopardy! champions (Kristin Sausville of single contestant Final Jeopardy fame, teacher tournament winner Colby Burnett, professional poker player Alex Jacob, and underdog Tournament of Champions winner Ben Ingram).
When amateur chess player Dana Mackenzie sat down against International Master David Pruess in the last round of the 2006 Western States Open, he was outrated by 345 points, making the game a huge mismatch on paper. The game took a strange turn when as early as his sixth move Mackenzie gave up his queen for only a bishop and knight, a preposterous speculative sacrifice that seemed incredibly unlikely to work, especially against a player much more skilled than him. But what his opponent didn't know was that Mackenzie had already practiced this position against his computer a hundred times. [more inside]
Skylar is an experimental AI who 'learns' from the questions she is asked. The trouble is, she's on Tumblr, so she has mostly been learning about anime and bees. She's actually sort of obsessed with bees. [more inside]
Siri talked only to a few limited functions, like the map, the datebook, and Google. All the imitators, from the outright copies like Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana to a host of more-focused applications with names like Amazon Echo, Samsung S Voice, Evi, and Maluuba, followed the same principle. The problem was you had to code everything. You had to tell the computer what to think. Linking a single function to Siri took months of expensive computer science. You had to anticipate all the possibilities and account for nearly infinite outcomes. If you tried to open that up to the world, other people would just come along and write new rules and everything would get snarled in the inevitable conflicts of competing agendas—just like life. Even the famous supercomputers that beat Kasparov and won Jeopardy! follow those principles. That was the "pain point," the place where everything stops: There were too many rules.
The idea was audacious. They would be creating a DNA, not a biology, forcing the program to think for itself.John H. Richardson for Esquire
Chris Crowe has a girlfriend. She stands a leggy 5 feet tall, weighs a trim 11 pounds, and sports a set of wings like you’ve never seen. Walnut the white-naped crane is the most genetically distinct endangered crane on the block — which means she needs to have been making babies, like, yesterday. Walnut was raised by humans at a zoo, and as a result, she recognizes and trusts humans — and is deeply hostile to other cranes. How hostile? She killed the two male cranes that her former keepers attempted to pair with her. "I like to jokingly tell people that Walnut ‘allegedly’ killed two male cranes," Crowe says. "It’s not like she was tried and convicted. We don’t know her side of the story."
Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most-accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild. The paper.[pdf] (title song reference)
INTERESTING.JPG is an AI trying its hardest to describe the contents of random news photos. Sometimes it does quite well. Sometimes it thinks ice is sheep. See also: Novice Art Blogger. See also, if you're daring: the super duper completely not-safe-for-work porn-analysis robot @NSFW_JPG. Via mefi's own cmyr on Projects.
A gigabyte and a half was a lot of data, once. It’s thought that the last person to have read every available published text was the fifteenth-century Italian philosopher and original Renaissance man, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. To do the same thing today would be impossible. And as it turns out, the greatest collaborative literary project in human history isn’t really human at all.
The Deep Mind of Demis Hassabis - "The big thing is what we call transfer learning. You've mastered one domain of things, how do you abstract that into something that's almost like a library of knowledge that you can now usefully apply in a new domain? That's the key to general knowledge. At the moment, we are good at processing perceptual information and then picking an action based on that. But when it goes to the next level, the concept level, nobody has been able to do that." (previously: 1,2) [more inside]
Mario AI - "Mario's inner emotive states cause behavior-determining drives. For example, Mario will collect coins if he is hungry. Whereas, when he is curious, he will explore his environment and autonomously gather knowledge about items he does not know about yet."
Deep Visual-Semantic Alignments for Generating Image Descriptions. A model that generates free-form natural language descriptions of image regions. Holy crap.
A Worm's Mind In A Lego Body: Timothy Bubisce of the OpenWorm project (previously) has uploaded a neural mapping, or connectome, of the C. elegans worm as software into a Lego robot. The result? It kinda sorta behaves like a worm would. So, not quite the Kurzweillian dream of uploading one's consciousness into a machine, but still fascinating.
Rave-rappers Die Antwoord are starring in Chappie, a movie about robots and consciousness, by Elysium/District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) also star. Due out in early 2015. Trailer [slyt].
Will Killer Robots Destroy Humanity? What The Future Of Robots Reveals About The Human Condition. Peter Thiel says 'Robots Are Our Saviours, Not the Enemy,' via. Brad DeLong reponds with The Rise of the Robots. Don't forget your 'Terrifying Robot Update,' especially when robots grow our food. Or maybe we'll get the Robots of Resistance, with human values. New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy. AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. [more inside]
Hyperreal numbers: infinities and infinitesimals - "In 1976, Jerome Keisler, a student of the famous logician Tarski, published this elementary textbook that teaches calculus using hyperreal numbers. Now it's free, with a Creative Commons copyright!" (pdf—25mb :) [more inside]
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Some people familiar with the LessWrong memeplex have suffered serious psychological distress after contemplating basilisk-like ideas ... The notion is taken sufficiently seriously by some LessWrong posters that they try to work out how to erase evidence of themselves so a future AI can't reconstruct a copy of them to torture. Yudkowsky considers the basilisk would not work, but will not explain why because he does not consider open discussion of the notion of acausal trade with possible superintelligences to be provably safe.If it's the first time you've heard of Roko's Basilisk, this post may have unfortunately put (a perfect future simulation of) you in danger of eternal torture by a Friendly Artificial Intelligence.