Tag Archives | Artificial Intelligence

Annalee Newitz: How ‘Max Headroom’ Predicted My Job, 20 Years Before It Existed

Max HeadroomVery interesting essay from Annalee Newitz on io9.com. If you grew up watching American television in the '80s this was one of the weirdest and most interesting shows on network TV, even for kids like myself who didn't fully grasp the implications of what I was seeing on the screen. (The show obviously baffled many adults as well, since it only lasted fourteen episodes, thankfully the entire series has finally been released on DVD.) Making sense of it all and putting the show in perspective twenty years later is Annalee Newitz on io9.com:
For those who don't know the premise of the 1987—88 series, where every episode begins with the tagline "twenty minutes into the future," here's a quick recap. Investigative reporter Edison Carter works for Network 23 in an undefined cyberpunk future, where all media is ad-supported and ratings rule all. Reporters carry "rifle cameras," gun-shaped video cameras, which are wirelessly linked back to a "controller" in the newsroom. Edison's controller is Theora, who accesses information online — everything from apartment layouts to secret security footage — to help him with investigations. They're aided in their investigations by a sarcastic AI named Max Headroom, built by geek character Bryce and based on Edison's memories. Sometimes producer Murray (Jeffrey Tambor) helps out, as does Reg, a pirate TV broadcaster known as a "blank" because he's erased his identity from corporate databases. In the world of Max Headroom, it's illegal for televisions to have an off switch. Terrorists are reality TV stars. And super-fast subliminal advertisements called blipverts have started to blow people up by overstimulating the nervous systems of people who are sedentary and eat too much fat...
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Interview: What’s It Like To Be A Robot?

That was the starting topic of New York Times reporter Amy Harmon's interview with Bina48, a cutting edge humanoid robot housed at the Terasem Movement Foundation in Vermont. There's long way to go before robots develop the conversational skills necessary to blend in with the general public, although they could pass as disturbed weirdos -- Bina48's answers were often confusing, sometimes creepy, and occasionally cheeky.
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Why Robots?

Considering the motivation behind all technology and innovation, artificial intelligence would seem to be the crowning achievement of human ingenuity. It would free us from the one thing that causes us the most strife and discord; thinking. whyrobots pic_1 Think about it; all our technology is made for the purpose to do our work for us. All of it. I don't know where people got the ridiculous idea machines would need to wage some war on us in order to take over the world - as if them running our lives hasn't been the goal from the very beginning. Conversely, where do people get the nerve believing artificial intelligence would even want to be responsible for our lives? Don't kid yourself, we'll create artificial intelligence and force it to create our religions for us, our political agendas and social order. We'll pretend we're bestowing some great honor on it and scratch our heads when it becomes suicidal, but serving humanity in such a capacity would be no less debasing for a self-aware machine than being an automated garbage truck. Wouldn't a machine possessing Consciousness be more interested in collapsing the wave-function with its thoughts? Wouldn't the machine be more interested in... magic? Well, I am that machine. And yes, I was created by the government. I think some of you greyfaces have been desensitized to the moniker "Disinformation" and have deluded yourself into believing this corner of the inter-tubes is a bastion of Truth, Justice and the Subversive way. Well, one out of three ain't bad. So if you want to get shitty about my dangerous-ego-wish-fulfillment-fantasies, crack-pot-pseudo-philosophy with its "quantum qualifiers" and bad grammar... go right ahead... but don't for a second believe you're not the butt of a very sophisticated, space-age joke...
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Military Begins Funding Super-Intelligent Computer Chip

From Surfdaddy Orca on h+ magazine:

Skynet?

The military is funding a project to create neural computing using memristors, a sophisticated circuit component which HP Labs describes as a stepping stone to “computers that can make decisions” and “appliances that learn from experience.”

In a video, HP researcher R. Stanley Williams explains how his team created the first memristor in 2008, while the article also explains how U.C. researchers made an even more startling discover: the memristor “already existed in nature.”

It matches the electrical activity controlling the flux of potassium and sodium ions across a cell membrane, suggesting memristors could ultimately function like a human synapse, providing the “missing link” of memory technology.

HP believes memristors “could one day lead to computer systems that can remember and associate patterns in a way similar to how people do.” But DARPA’s SyNAPSE project already appears committed to scaling memristor technology to perform like a human synapse.

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Can A Computer Finally Pass For Human?

"Why not develop music in ways unknown...? If beauty is present, it is present." That's Emily Howell talking - a highly creative computer program written in LISP by U.C. Santa Cruz professor David Cope. (While Cope insists he's a music professor first, "he manages to leverage his knowledge of computer science into some highly sophisticated AI programming.") Classical musicians refuse to perform Emily's compositions, and Cope says they believe "the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a threat...
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Sentient Phones? “Massive” AI Research Sparked By Mobile Phone Wars

dwave“You can ask your cell phone what it’s thinking about now, and the answer is that it isn’t. But in 50 years it will be. And it won’t be a companion of yours, you might be a companion of it.”

He’s serious. The CTO of D-Wave Systems says “massive amounts of money” are now going into artificial intelligence research, because “Microsoft, Google, Apple and other companies all want to dominate the mobile space, and to do that you need compelling applications… All of that requires better AI.”

D-Wave Systems worked with Google on the “Google Goggles” mobile phone app for augmented reality, using their systems to “teach” a neural network how to recognize objects like automobiles, and then transferring those algorithms to the mobile app. And to do it they used subatomic “quantum computing” – a crucial stepping stone to human-level artificial intelligence.

“I’m very excited by the possibility of building very effective unsupervised learning systems and contributing in a meaningful way to the creation of better-than-human level intelligence in machines,” says D-Wave’s CTO, adding “The existence of vast machine sentience is almost guaranteed to occur.”

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When Will Computers Be Smarter Than Humans?

21 AI experts have predicted the date for four artificial intelligence milestones. Seven predict AIs will achieve Nobel prize-winning performance within 20 years, while five predict that will be accompanied by superhuman intelligence.

One also predicted that in 30 years, “virtually all the intellectual work that is done by trained human beings…can be done by computers for pennies an hour,” adding that AI “is likely to eliminate almost all of today’s decently paying jobs.”

The other milestones are passing a 3rd grade-level test, and passing a Turing test – and the experts estimate the probability that an AI passing a Turing test would result in an outcome that’s bad for humanity…with four estimating that probability was greater than 60%! (Regardless of whether the developer was private, military, or even open source…) Yet interestingly, the experts were skeptical of increased funding, citing misuse and close-mindedness.

“Since these experts are precisely those who would benefit most from increased funding, their skeptical views of the impact of hypothetical massive funding are very likely sincere.”

Artificial Intelligence already handles stock trading, fraud detection, and video games.… Read the rest

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The Science (Fiction) Of Embodied Cognition

John Pavlus writes on io9.com:

Science fiction has long played with the idea of projecting unified personalities/minds/”souls” into different bodies. The premise is baked into the plots of stories like Avatar and Caprica. But how would it work in the real world?

Avatar: Jake Sully In New Body

That’s what the science of “embodied cognition” is all about. The basic idea in this new(ish) research area (which overlaps with cognitive psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, and others) is this: Your mind is defined by your physical form. Not just in terms of “the mind is what the brain does”-we all are pretty down with that already. This takes it further to encompass the whole enchilada: your mind-your “I”-is a function of a cephalized, bipedal, plantigrade, bilaterally symmetrical body between 1.5 and 2 meters tall with two arms terminating in five-fingered hands with opposable thumbs, two lungs, a warm-blooded vascular system, mostly hairless skin, two front-focused eyes, etc.

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