Tag Archives | Electronics

Can We Make the Hardware Necessary for Artificial Intelligence?

Eye_iris“Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence” Robert Heinlein

This is my opinion of what might be, not What THE FUTURE!!! Will Be!

My POV is hardware driven, I do electronic design. I don’t present myself as “an authority” on Artificial Intelligence, much less “an authority” on sentient artificial intelligence, until they are Real Things, there is no such thing as an authority in that field. That said, if the hardware doesn’t exist to support sentient AI, doesn’t matter how wonderful the software is.

The following is why I’ve been saying in a number of places that I expect hardware to be able to run a synthetic consciousness in ~20 yrs, @2045singularity on Twitter asked me to clarify what I meant.

1. I assume that if the physical operations of a human brain can be simulated in real-time, programs that simulate human consciousness in real time can be part of that simulation.

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Hairy Man-Beasts Cause Electronic Interference?

imagesA fascinating bit of observation regarding Sasquatch-like creatures and the interference with electronic devices that supposedly accompanies them. Maybe there’s a reason Bigfoot’s picture is always blurry.

Via Mysterious Universe:

In Jon’s very own words: “We liaised very closely with Geoff Lincoln, an absolutely invaluable researcher based in the area. We gave him our planned arrival time, and asked if any of the eye-witnesses would be prepared to speak to us. Much to our ever-lasting delight, five out of the six were.”

Geoff also showed Jon no less than three locations where sightings of the beast-man had occurred: “We carried out a thorough series of photographic mapping exercises, and did our best to fend off the incessant inquiries from the press. Just after lunchtime, a TV crew from a local television company arrived and filmed interviews with our investigation team. It was only after they had gone that we realized something very strange was happening.”

Jon was not wrong.

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Looking At The iPod In 2003

ipodThe Dell DJ is slightly bigger than the iPod but claims a longer battery life. It was Dell that one investor held out as the rival with the greatest chance of success: ”No one markets as well as Dell does.”

It’s fascinating to read an article from eight years ago and feel that it was truly another era. Via the New York Times, Rob Walker’s piece “The Guts of a New Machine” examined the hype surrounding the cutting-edge devices known as portable mp3 players:

Two years ago this month, Apple Computer released a small, sleek-looking device it called the iPod. A digital music player, it weighed just 6.5 ounces and held about 1,000 songs. There were small MP3 players around at the time, and there were players that could hold a lot of music. But if the crucial equation is ”largest number of songs” divided by ”smallest physical space,” the iPod seemed untouchable.

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Using A 30-Year-Old Computer For Today’s Functions

In PCWorld, Benj Edwards explains how he booted up a dusty 1981 IBM 5150 and attempted to perform typical 21st century computing duties on it. The 5150 fared pretty well at most essential tasks, including lolcat browsing (below left) and Twitter (below right). The lesson being, perhaps, that we should try to do more with less? And that today’s consumer-market computers can’t hold a candle to classic models in regards to appearance and style. The old ones even have ports for hooking up cassette tape players:

Despite the malfunctioning RAM, the machine seemed to work well. The 5150 contains, as the Apple II did, a full version of BASIC in ROM that loads right up if you don’t boot from a disk.

Targeted mostly at computers without floppy drives (the lowest-priced 5150 sold with 16KB of RAM and no drives), this version of BASIC could save programs only to cassette tapes.

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The Video Game Preservation Crisis

studio_II_layoutPerhaps they were conceived as toys for children, but video games of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s are significant artifacts of 20th-century technological, cultural, and design history. Much of that history is being lost or thrown away. Gamasutra discusses the Game Preservation Crisis:

Trash cans, landfills, and incinerators. Erasure, deletion, and obsolescence. These words could describe what has happened to the various building blocks of the video game industry in countries around the world. These building blocks consist of video game source code, the actual computer hardware used to create a particular video game, level layout diagrams, character designs, production documents, marketing material, and more.

These are just some elements of game creation that are gone — never to be seen again. These elements make up the home console, handheld, PC and arcade games we’ve played. The only remnant of a particular game may be its name, or its final published version, since the possibility exists that no other physical copy of its creation remains.

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Television Programming At The Moment It Dies

I’ve seen the most interesting thing on TV a thousand times, but never noticed it. Artist Stephan Tillmans photographs tube televisions at the split second they are turned off, to glorious effect. Via his website:

The television picture breaks down and creates a structure of light. The pictures refuse external reference and broach the issue of the difference between abstraction and concretion in photography.

tvs

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The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone (Video)

Alan Mascarenhas writes on Newsweek:

It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo.

The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens.

A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.

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Nintendo Is The Least Green Consumer Electronics Company

From CNN’s SciTech blog:

Nintendo scored the worst in a new Greenpeace report on efforts by electronics companies to be ecologically responsible.

Greenpeace Guide

In the “Guide to Greener Electronics”, Nintendo’s score of 1.4 out of 10 rated it 18th out of 18 companies that produce cell phones, gaming consoles and computer equipment. Each company was rated in three categories – chemicals and chemical management, e-waste, and energy.

Nintendo scored zero on all e-waste criteria and received their most points in the chemical category. They have PVC-free internal wiring in their Wii consoles and banned the use of some chemicals. They are also attempting to eliminate the use of all PVCs, but have not set a timeline for its phaseout…

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