If you’ve ever tried to hold a conversation with a chatbot like CleverBot, you know how quickly the conversation turns to nonsense, no matter how hard you try to keep it together.
But now, a research team led by Bruno Golosio, assistant professor of applied physics at Università di Sassari in Italy, has taken a significant step toward improving human-to-computer conversation. Golosio and colleagues built an artificial neural network, called ANNABELL, that aims to emulate the large-scale structure of human working memory in the brain — and its ability to hold a conversation is eerily human-like. Natural Language Processing
Researchers have been trying to design software that can make sense of human language, and respond coherently, since the 1940s. The field is known as natural language processing (NLP), and although amateurs and professionals enter their best NLP programs into competitions every year, the past seven decades still haven’t produced a single NLP program that allows computers to consistently fool questioners into thinking they’re human.
NLP has attracted a wide variety of approaches over the years, and linguists, computer scientists and cognitive scientists have focused on designing so-called symbolic architectures, or software programs that store units of speech as symbols. It’s an approach that requires a lot of top-down management.
Biodigital brains are made by fusing chips with brain tissue. The technology is racing beyond most people's ability to comprehend the potential to transform how we think and feel. As a physician, I'm fascinated.
More than 400,000 human beings already have a digital device inside their heads, with more than 50,000 new surgical operations taking place every year. Most of these devices are connected to the auditory nerve as cochlear implants, to treat deafness, and a few to the optic nerve or the retina. But a rapidly growing number of people have chips which are directly fused with their own brains.
In many cases, this is to help control involuntary tremors in Parkinson's disease. In other cases, the aim is to give muscle control to paralysed people. For example, Erik Sorto is a tetraplegic who moves his robotic arm by thinking, using an implanted device created by Caltech.
Connecting brains to chips is really easy -- once you have got the chip safely embedded inside someone's head. Brain cells instantly recognise digital intelligence, because both chips and brain cells use tiny electrical signals to communicate.
Alcatel-Lucent's research arm, Bell Labs, has announced that ongoing testing of its prototype real-time space-division multiplexed optical multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO-SDM) system could see the company attain speeds of 1 petabit per second in time for the arrival of 5G and the Internet of Things.
In what the company called a "major breakthrough", a trial of the 6x6 real-time MIMO transmission technology in New Jersey saw Bell Labs successfully remove for the first time crosstalk from multiple signals on the fibre supporting the six parallel optical signal paths using real-time processing.
"This experiment represents a major breakthrough in the development of future optical transport," Marcus Weldon, CTO of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Bell Labs, said.
"We are at the crossroads of a huge change in communications networks, with the advent of 5G wireless and cloud networking under way. Operators and enterprises alike will see their networks challenged by massive increases in traffic. At Bell Labs, we are continuously innovating to shape the future of communications networks to meet those demands."
The successful experiment used six transmitters and six receivers alongside real-time digital signal processing over coupled fibre stretching 60km in Bell Labs' global headquarters.
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