Tag Archives | Google

Gates, Google Join $120 Million Funding for Genome Editing Firm

Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

Bill Gates and Google Ventures have invested in Editas Medicine Inc., a company that uses the Crispr-Cas9 technology to “fix faulty genes that lead to eye disorders.” The company will also work closely “Juno Therapeutics Inc., which engineers immune-system cells to fight cancer.”

Caroline Chen via Bloomberg Business:

Crispr allows scientists to edit the human genome by precisely cutting out faulty sections of DNA and replacing them with healthy ones. The technology is relatively cheap and easy compared with other genome editing techniques, and has drawn a rush of scientists interested in modifying everything from diseased human cells to insects and plants.

It’s also been controversial, with some researchers calling for a moratorium on its use in human sperm, eggs and embryos, known as the human germline. One fear is that the technology could introduce changes that would affect not only one patient, but future generations as well.

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Google’s Search Algorithm Could Steal The Presidency

We all know that SEO is really important for any business for a website, but could it be so important that Google’s search algorithm is the deciding factor in the next US presidential election? Wired is suggesting it might just happen:

Imagine an election—a close one. You’re undecided. So you type the name of one of the candidates into your search engine of choice. (Actually, let’s not be coy here. In most of the world, one search engine dominates; in Europe and North America, it’s Google.) And Google coughs up, in fractions of a second, articles and facts about that candidate. Great! Now you are an informed voter, right? But a  study published this week says that the order of those results, the ranking of positive or negative stories on the screen, can have an enormous influence on the way you vote. And if the election is close enough, the effect could be profound enough to change the outcome.

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Why Google’s Deep Dream Is Future Kitsch

A Google Deep Dream rendering of the September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers. (Photo: Matěj Schneider/Twitter)

A Google Deep Dream rendering of the September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers. (Photo: Matěj Schneider/Twitter)

Are you tired of hearing about Google’s Deep Dream algorithm yet?

Over at Pacific Standard, Kyle Chayka explores how Google’s Deep Dream is ultimately kitsch.

Kitsch “offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort, without the requirement of distance, without sublimation,” according to the philosopher Walter Benjamin, a pioneer of the idea. The description fits perfectly for this new genre of algorithmically generated imagery. It requires no criticality or particular intellectual effort to digest, nor does it provide much reward in return. Deep Dream is our own visual culture, chopped up in a blender and spoon-fed back to us.

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Google DeepDream’s Nightmare Psychedelia

The internet is abuzz with wonder and perverse glee because the Mad Scientists responsible for Google Image’s AI have released the hounds a set of tools that let the average Joe and Jane see how Google Images “sees” the world (just don’t ask it about Gorillas. Trust me).

It’s a darkly trippy thing indeed: one part Naked Lunch, a dash of Cthulhu Mythos, a hint of Hieronymus Bosch and a sprig of HR Giger for flavor. And dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

Puts the "monster" in Flying Spaghetti Monster

Puts the “monster” in Flying Spaghetti Monster

It’s called DeepDream and reddit gives us the skinny:

Deep Learning is a new field within Machine Learning. In the past 4 years researchers have been training neural networks with a very large number of layers. Algorithms are learning how to classify images to a much greater accuracy than before: you can give them an image of a cat or a dog and they will be able to tell the difference.

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Conspiracy or Coincidence? Gmail version

Any Disinfonaut worth his or her salt will surely already know how the CIA made Google and how Google is poised to become the Ministry of Truth.

Well…

Say it ain't so, Morpheus!

Say it ain’t so, Morpheus!

The dauntless conspiriologists at The Resistance Journals have made another alarming discovery of a symbolic nature, this time concerning Google’s popular email platform, Gmail.

They write:

Freemasonry, like many dozens of other secret societies have branches and off-shoots. I won’t get any deeper into it for two reasons. 1. You can literally spend 15 minutes on YouTube and learn more than the average person will ever know, and 2. because it’s not needed for this article.

One of these Freemasonic “sister” organizations (if you can call it that), and I say sister for a reason, is the “Order of the Eastern Star.”

The Order of the Eastern Star is a special part of Freemasonry (again, not sure if I should call it that) because members can be both male and female.

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Computer Hallucinations: Large Scale Deep Neural Net

red-tree-small-long

Recently, Disinfo ran an article about how Google set up feedback loops to its image recognition software and created some very interesting “dream”-like effects. Yeah, Google. “Dream.” You can view a gallery of their images here.

Some other software engineers, among whom is Jonas Degrave, a Belgian PhD student, who are not nearly as concerned with euphemism, have created an “LSD neural net,” which is similar in concept to Google’s feedback loops. Except they actually made a channel on Twitch that shows the algorithmic permutations in real time video, constantly zooming in like a fractal. Remarkably, the viewers in the video chat can type in two objects, for example “tent + gondola,” and the algorithm randomly choose one entry and morph using images of these objects. It is really quite interesting.

If you’re some kind of freak that actually knows how this stuff works, feel free to check out the write up giving background on how the engineers technically created this piece on Jonas Degrave’s site.… Read the rest

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Yes, androids do dream of electric sheep

Alex Hern at The Guardian:

Google sets up feedback loop in its image recognition neural network – which looks for patterns in pictures – creating hallucinatory images of animals, buildings and landscapes which veer from beautiful to terrifying.

What do machines dream of? New images released by Google give us one potential answer: hypnotic landscapes of buildings, fountains and bridges merging into one.

The pictures, which veer from beautiful to terrifying, were created by the company’s image recognition neural network, which has been “taught” to identify features such as buildings, animals and objects in photographs.

They were created by feeding a picture into the network, asking it to recognise a feature of it, and modify the picture to emphasise the feature it recognises. That modified picture is then fed back into the network, which is again tasked to recognise features and emphasise them, and so on. Eventually, the feedback loop modifies the picture beyond all recognition.

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Google Patents ‘Creepy’ Cuddly Toys to Run Your Home

Would you let Ted run your home? Google is thinking you just might and has patented some Internet-connected toys that can do just that, per BBC News:

Google’s R&D team has looked into making internet-connected toys that control smart home appliances.

google toys

The firm has published a patent that describes devices that would turn their heads towards users and listen to what they were saying, before sending commands to remote computer servers.

The three-year old patent was spotted recently by the legal technology firm SmartUp.

It described the proposal as “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet”.

Privacy campaigners have also raised concerns.

A spokeswoman for Google was unable to say whether this was a product the firm might develop and sell.
“We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with,” she said.

“Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t.

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The New Googleplex: A Titanic Human Terrarium

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

 

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls.

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The Persistence of the Office

Google's campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Google’s campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Susie Cagle Via Pacific Standard:

Google is growing. The company recently unveiled plans for expanded headquarters it hopes to build in Mountain View, California: a “sprawling sci-fi campus” that is “unlike anything built before it.” The structure looks aggressively inspired, bordering on nonsensical. There are glass canopies and cars that look like bananas.

In a way, though, the most exceptional thing about Google’s offices is that they exist at all. Google and other tech companies build and maintain massive campuses, while other companies are expanding their telework ranks—and using the products of tech companies to do it.

The industry that makes it possible for other companies to employ teleworkers is putting massive resources into developing and maintaining its own office culture.

Telework is growing every year. It’s what many predicted as the work of the future—nimble and flexible production unconstrained by time or place.

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