HyperNormalisation (UK-only iPlayer) (region-free link), the new BBC documentary from Adam Curtis (previously), covers four decades leading up to today's seemingly inexplicable chaos - the Syrian Civil War, Brexit, Vladimir Putin, the Islamic State, waves of refugees, suicide bombs, and on and on. Curtis argues "all of us in the West - not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal." This version of normal, promoted by the Internet and 24-hour news cycle, is now under assault by forces that everyone from Patti Smith, Colonel Gaddafi, and Jane Fonda to Henry Kissinger, the Assad dynasty, and Putin's post-modern propagandist, Vladislav Surkov, has been trying to forget over forty years. (Youtube trailer) (Warning: footage of blood, dead bodies, etc)
Portrait of a would-be world-changer Who is Sam Altman, the new head of Y Combinator? What does he want to do/for all of us? New Yorker portrait by Tad Friend. [more inside]
From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - "A former academic mathematician and ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics, with results that cause damage both financially and to the fabric of society. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: Weapons of Math Destruction." [more inside]
You know that thing cops do in movies and TV to enlarge small images that's impossible? Well now, with Python + Tensorflow, it's (sort of) possible to enhance image. It still won't recover information that's not there, but it'll make a pretty good guess.
Object Dreams is a blog that catalogs the output of varying text prediction algorithms. Here's part of a Batman: The Animated Series episode it wrote, "The Penguin makes things worse by killing Batman. He has happened to Batman and he is visibly criminal. Batman isn’t still around. Batman is in a cloud. The Penguin finds that he is astounded by killing the man who loves him most. He feels responsible for the death of Gotham’s prominent Batman. He loves the man that Batman isn’t." These programs create Yelp! reviews of the Paris Catacombs, IMDB content warnings, and scripts for Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown - among other things. [more inside]
CuratedAI is a literary magazine where the poems and stories are written entirely by machines. For example, there is He Lived with Regret ("He lived with regret at his own table– for his own sake have mercy upon him...") by Tolstoyish, a Recurrent Neural Net trained on the work of Leo Tolstoy. Or Defunct ("defunct and master my god is dead with my love/and the man that i give him") by Deep Gimble I, which is minimally trained on public domain poetry and seeded with a single word.
Making a Robot Dance to Music Using Chaotic Itinerancy in a Network of FitzHugh-Nagumo Neurons "We propose a technique to make a robot execute free and solitary dance movements on music, in a manner which simulates the dynamic alternations between synchronisation and autonomy typicallyobserved in human behaviour."
?????????????????????????????? You’re A Computer. Can You Pass The Turing Test? ??????????????????????????????(Single link Clickhole game)
2001: A Picasso Odyssey - '2001' rendered in the style of Picasso using Deep Neural Networks based style transfer. More details.
On Wednesday, Facebook introduced DeepText, a neural network AI engine that can understand text with near human accuracy, including slang and word-sense disambiguation. DeepText's first application will be on "intent extraction" on Facebook's Messenger app. Of course, there are already privacy concerns.
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.