A computer-simulated woman named Ellie is designed to talk to people who are struggling emotionally and take their measure — 30 times per second.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
This is quite a cool one. An shrink bot driven by AI and actually a current technology. Oh god next profession being in danger :P. Well I suppose this will be more used for data collection as a real treatment.
A group at Tokyo Institute of Technology, led by Dr. Osamu Hasegawa, has succeeded in making further advances with SOINN, their machine learning algorithm, which can now use the internet to learn how to perform new tasks. The system, which is under development as an artificial brain for autonomous mental development robots, is currently being used to learn about objects in photos using image searches on the internet. It can also take aspects of other known objects and combine them to make guesses about objects it doesn't yet recognize.
Once that all AI's will be able to not only parse and recognize data from internet but also efficiently communicate with each other and share the results programmers will become obsolete. Well let's have a good time while it lasts.
The simpler way to learn HTML and CSS, in a beautifully presented, full-color book.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
This is well, beautiful. I suppose this is one of most enticing books about web design I have spotted until now. If you have a desire to start with web design of just have a sweet spot for nice typography, get it ;).
Using an artificial intelligence technique inspired by theories about how the brain recognizes patterns, technology companies are reporting startling gains in fields as diverse as computer vision, speech recognition and the identification of promising new molecules for designing drugs.
The advances have led to widespread enthusiasm among researchers who design software to perform human activities like seeing, listening and thinking. They offer the promise of machines that converse with humans and perform tasks like driving cars and working in factories, raising the specter of automated robots that could replace human workers.
The technology, called deep learning, has already been put to use in services like Apple’s Siri virtual personal assistant, which is based on Nuance Communications’ speech recognition service, and in Google’s Street View, which uses machine vision to identify specific addresses.
I make no apologies for writing science fiction. I love the genre with a deep and geeky love. Becoming professor of 19th-century literature at the University of London has done nothing to diminish my capacity for that mode of enthusiasm that fans call "squee".
Being a literature professor means, in effect, the government pays me to read books; and, taking my job seriously, I read a lot, in and out of genre. I think the novel is most alive today as a literature of the fantastic: at their worst, SF, fantasy and magic realist novels can be very bad; while at their best, they're by far the most exciting kinds of writing being published.
But here's the thing: my genre divides politically in a manner unlike others. Writers of historical or crime fiction might be rightwing or leftwing, but few would attempt to define those genres as intrinsically left- or right-leaning. SF is different: the genre defines itself according to two diametrically opposed ideological stances.
Let's take the lefty stance first, since it happens to be my own. Any SF text must include something that isn't in the "real" world: starship, robot, a new way of organising society, whatever. This might be material, social or even metaphysical, but it will encode difference. Alterity is fundamental to SF: it is a poetics of otherness and diversity. Now, it so happens that the encounter with "otherness"– racially, ethnically, in terms of gender, sexual orientation, disability and trans identity – has been the main driver of social debate for the last half‑century or more. The tidal shift towards global diversity is the big event of our times, and this is what makes SF the most relevant literature today. To say that SF has more imaginative and discursive wiggle-room than "realist" art is, while true, also to say that SF has the potential to be a more heterogeneous and inclusive conceptual space. This is something that's understood by the genre's greatest writers: Ursula K Le Guin, Octavia Butler, James Tiptree Jr, Margaret Atwood, Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Cadigan, Justina Robson.
On the other hand, many fans define SF as the literature of scientific extrapolation. There are those who think of "science" as ideologically neutral, simply the most authoritative picture of the universe available to humanity. The problem is that "authoritative" has a nasty habit of eliding with "authoritarian" when transferred into human social relations. Rightwing political affiliation comes in many forms, but for many rightwingers, respect for authority is a central aspect of their worldview. The world, says the rightwinger, is hard, unforgiving and punishes weakness: in order to prosper, we need to be self-reliant, subordinate decadent appetites to self-discipline, know what the rules are and follow them. There's lots of SF like this.
OK, I'll admit I've imported a caricature "rightwinger" into my argument. Nonetheless, SF contains many who believe the laws of physics make their ideology true. US SF grandmaster Robert Heinlein's credo, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch", oft-repeated in his writing, folds a neutral fact of physics – entropy – into value-inflected judgments about things such as welfare and affirmative action. Orson Scott Card is a giant of the genre, but also a man who has declared that consensual gay sex should be illegal, and that any government that legalised gay marriage ought to be overthrown. Newt Gingrich, one‑time Republican presidential hopeful, has published SF novels; and books by writers such as Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo and Neal Asher sell extremely well.
It's a puzzle – not why these writers sell, for there are plenty of perfectly decent, book-loving rightwing people in the world (I take it as axiomatic that liking SF is an index of decency). I mean it's a puzzle for the genre. How can SF be both centrally about the articulation and exploration of marginalised and subaltern voices, and a projection of contemporary ideological concerns outward on to a cosmos in which the laws of physics themselves tell us to vote Conservative?
I'm not pretending objectivity. A full ideological reading of SF would interrogate the "hospitality to otherness" model with the same rigour as "the laws of physics validate my political beliefs" model. Heinlein's imagined interstellar future is an environment designed to valorise the skill sets (self-reliance, engineering competence, willpower, bravery and manliness) that Heinlein prized. Left-leaning Iain M Banks's Culture novels posit a high-tech geek utopia in which the particular skill sets, ethics and wit‑discourse of SF nerds turn out to be the gold standard of pan-galactic multi-species civilisation. I like the Culture a great deal, but I have to admit it's a "there is such a thing as a free lunch" sort of place.
Asking whether SF is "intrinsically" leftwing or rightwing is dumb, since literatures are not "intrinsically" anything. But I'm tempted to thump the tub nonetheless. Conservatism is defined by its respect for the past. The left has always been more interested in the future – specifically, in a better future. Myriad militaristic SF books and films suggest the most interesting thing to do with the alien is style it as an invading monster and empty thousands of rounds of ammunition into it. But the best SF understands that there are more interesting things to do with the alien than that. How we treat the other is the great ethical question of our age, and SF, at its best, is the best way to explore that question.
Adam Roberts's Jack Glass (Gollancz) has won the British Science FictionAssociation best novel prize.
Isn't it a great idea to eliminate poverty, well I am behind it in a sense that everybody should have a basic income to live a life in dignified way. On the other hand is the population mature enough to deal with getting basic income without exerting an effort? This can work both sides, it can make life of people easier and more stable but as well it might limit the motivation to achieve something or be socially active. All in all due to the nature of life and evolution, I am still bit sceptic about the real world implementation of this idea.
I somehow missed this one :) though very nice elaboration from a keyboard player I keep in the high esteem and a programmer working with him. Specially on 38:48 as an coder who tasted asm I cannot agree more :), stop using crutches if it must be done it must be done. Get over with it.
Problem: Synthetic biology has the potential to create new organisms that could do an infinite number of things. But the cost of synthesizing DNA is currently prohibitively expensive.
Solution: Austen has developed a new technique to synthesize DNA 10,000 times cheaper than existing technology.
Technology: One of the big challenges with DNA synthesis is error correction during fabrication, fabricating the correct sequence of A, T, G and Cs. Austen solves this problem by fabricating billions of strands at once, quickly (and cheaply) optically sequencing them and then selecting the correct DNA sequences using a fast moving laser.
I would love to get my hands on programming reference for these monsters ;-). For the number crunching purposes this must outperform classical computing by a huge margin. In any case I hope there will be soon more info on the quantum computers.
Sphero Peacekeeper Edition is a super-sized, 3 foot tall version of Sphero - the world's first app-controlled robotic ball.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
Absolutely geeky :), well if this one get's built the DARPA will have to rethink its civilian combat strategies. Nevertheless I assume that development of this 'giant toy' will most certainly add some new inventions in robotics field.
The emerging field of neuromorphic engineering, which seeks to replicate the brain's extraordinary computational abilities using innovative hardware and software applications is making progress.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
This and biocomputing is the future of AI implementations. Of course this just screams for new kind of languages which will allow us to use full potential of these boards. I would love to get my hands on one ;-)
Artist Casey Reas uses software code to express his thoughts—starting with a sketch, composing it in code, and witnessing the imagery that it ultimately creates. Using the software he helped to create, Reas uses color to convey emotion and movement.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
Something like this I was dreaming to implement already for some while :), I think I will give it a go using HTML5 to get some nice lib out of it. Maybe some dynamic background generation for my CMS.
But you won't hear that on the popular miniseries "The Bible"
Miro Svetlik's insight:
A little bit off-topic this time but I couldn't hold myself. When reading the title of this article, I thought probably some scientific/archeologic facts about the origins of Jesus. How shocked was I, when presented with statements like 'Christian Dominionist evangelicals who believe Barack Obama is the anti-Christ'. Not that I am a Barack Obama fan, but who in 21st century can believe such a nonsense? Common that must be a joke, I thought. Unfortunately, it is the harsh reality these manifestations of "faith" in the middleage exorcists style exists and are taken for granted in some places of the world.
The increasingly ambiguous divide between man and machine just got blurred that much more with Stanford's recent announcement: scientists have successfully created the first truly biological transistor made entirely out of genetic material.
In The Nature Of The Future: Dispatches From The Socialstructed World, Marina Gorbis argues we are moving away from the depersonalized world of institutional production toward a new economy built on social connections and rewards--a process she...
Despite having brains that are still largely under construction, babies born up to three months before full term can already distinguish between spoken syllables in much the same way that adults do, an imaging study has shown.
Full-term babies — those born after 37 weeks' gestation — display remarkable linguistic sophistication soon after they are born: they recognize their mother’s voice, can tell apart two languages they’d heard before birth and remember short stories read to them while in the womb.
But exactly how these speech-processing abilities develop has been a point of contention. “The question is: what is innate, and what is due to learning immediately after birth?” asks neuroscientist Fabrice Wallois of the University of Picardy Jules Verne in Amiens, France.
To answer that, Wallois and his team needed to peek at neural processes already taking place before birth. It is tough to study fetuses, however, so they turned to their same-age peers: babies born 2–3 months premature. At that point, neurons are still migrating to their final destinations; the first connections between upper brain areas are snapping into place; and links have just been forged between the inner ear and cortex.
To test these neural pathways, the researchers played soft voices to premature babies while they were asleep in their incubators a few days after birth, then monitored their brain activity using a non-invasive optical imaging technique called functional near-infrared spectroscopy. They were looking for the tell-tale signals of surprise that brains display — for example, when they suddenly hear male and female voices intermingled after hearing a long run of simply female voices.
The young brains were able to distinguish between male and female voices, as well as between the trickier sounds ‘ga’ and ‘ba’, which demands even faster processing. What is more, the parts of the cortex used were the same as those used by adults for sophisticated understanding of speech and language.
The results show that linguistic connections inside the cortex are already “present and functional” and did not need to be gradually acquired through repeated exposure to sound, Wallois says. This suggests at least part of these speech-processing abilities is innate. The work could also lead to better techniques caring for the most vulnerable brains, Wallois adds, including premature babies.
This may prove really interesting, babies can surely learn a lot new languages quicky in their early life but I think they will retain the preference (liking) for the language of some type, that might answer this (just a wild guess :)