It is a grim truism of modern life that everything from civil rights violations to environmental degradation are disproportionately suffered by the people least financially and socially equipped to deal with them. The same is true with computational systems — and on this front, a bitter fight is emerging.… Read the rest
“Sorry about the tea. I know it’s weak.” Marnie hustled among the dozen or so people, handing out plastic cups. “I’ve relied on my SmartKettle so long now that I’ve forgotten how to make it properly.”
A few nodded and smiled.
“I thought we could go around the room and introduce ourselves and just say why we’re here.” She said. “I’ll start. I’m Marnie, and I’m the one who put up those signs. I’m glad you could all solve my little puzzle. I didn’t want to make it too hard, but didn’t want Surveillance to realize there was a puzzle at all. Let’s hope they didn’t.” She laughed. No one else did.
She looked down at a young man sitting close to her and he took … Read the rest
Ever since Microsoft’s chatbot Tay started spouting racist commentary after 24 hours of interacting with humans on Twitter, it has been obvious that our AI creations can fall prey to human prejudice. Now a group of researchers has figured out one reason why that happens. Their findings shed light on more than our future robot overlords, however. They’ve also worked out an algorithm that can actually predict human prejudices based on an intensive analysis of how people use English online.
The implicit bias test
Many AIs are trained to understand human language by learning from a massive corpus known as the Common Crawl. The Common Crawl is the result of a large-scale crawl of the Internet in 2014 that contains 840 billion tokens,… Read the rest
The new availability of huge amounts of data, along with the statistical tools to crunch these numbers, offers a whole new way of understanding the world. Correlation supersedes causation, and science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all.
So wrote Wired’s Chris Anderson in 2008. It kicked up a little storm at the time, as Anderson, the magazine’s editor, undoubtedly intended. For example, an article in a journal of molecular biology asked, “…if we stop looking for models and hypotheses, are we still really doing science?” The answer clearly was supposed to be: “No.”
But today — not even a decade since Anderson’s article — the controversy sounds quaint. Advances in … Read the rest
While many artificial intelligence critics busy themselves getting terrified over the possibility of a Matrix-type scenario wherein AIs overthrow humanity for Earthly supremacy, others are exploring a more nuanced point of view. Consider London-based artist Lawrence Lek a member of the latter camp. In Geomancer, a 45-minute film designed with the ever-unbelievable Unreal Engine, Lek imagines AI as not only potentially benevolent, but artistic, and in many other ways, even human-like. Geomancer follows a young military AI satellite that becomes self-aware, then decides to descend to Earth and become an artist. Geomancer, the satellite, touches down at the Singapore 2065 Centennial, a future where the country has survived climate change floods. But the AI isn’t as unique as it thinks it is, since … Read the rest
A lesson I learned today:
If you have some code that just isn’t right, or writing about programming and the math doesn’t work out, look for a number that ends in …616, …632, or …664. It’s likely that someone was writing x^16, x^32, or x^64 and didn’t hit shift hard enough to make the carat appear.
In my case, the number was 2632, which really should have been 2^32, or 4294967296 – 6 orders of magnitude different.… Read the rest
Evan Mullins points out: “The world has been excited by html5/css3 recently and has been pushing limits and experimenting. It’s been exciting and funny at the same time – most of the things that are amazing people in html5 experiments have been done 5 years ago in flash.”
And he has a series of very simple generative “art” apps coded in as few as 15 lines of Actionscript.
This is one of those things that sounds more like a discarded Dharma Initiative plot line from Lost than reality, yet it’s real. The Burlington (VT) Free Press recently profiled the Teresem Movement Foundation, based in Bristol, VT, which calls itself a “a transreligion for technological times”.
They are working on promoting “exponential life” – essentially getting to the point where we can download our consciousnesses into robotic bodies. The idea has been explored recently in shows such as Dollhouse and Caprica and does seem to be the ultimate target of a lot of scientific research.
The NYTimes profiled one of the automatons, Bina48, which, along with tripping the … Read the rest
Related is this First replicating creature spawned in life simulator