A computational life

By ast | Issues at the intersection of computation and social life.

AI Programs Are Learning to Exclude Some African-American Voices - MIT Technology Review

All too often people make snap judgments based on how you speak. Some AI systems are also learning to be prejudiced against some dialects. And as …

Artificial Intelligence

D.I.Y. Artificial Intelligence Comes to a Japanese Family Farm

Not much about Makoto Koike’s adult life suggests that he would be a farmer. Trained as an engineer, he spent most of his career in a busy urban section of Aichi Prefecture, Japan, near the headquarters of the Toyota Motor Corporation, writing software to control cars. Koike’s longtime hobby is …

Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Versus M.D.

The Algorithm Will See You Now<p>When it comes to diagnosis, will A.I. replace the M.D.?<p>One evening last November, a fifty-four-year-old woman from the Bronx arrived at the emergency room at Columbia University’s medical center with a grinding headache. Her vision had become blurry, she told the E.R. …

AI Is Inventing Languages Humans Can’t Understand. Should We Stop It?

Researchers at Facebook realized their bots were chattering in a new language. Then they stopped it.<p>Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”<p>Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”<p>To you and I, that passage looks like nonsense. But what if I told you this nonsense …

Artificial Intelligence

Killer robots? Musk and Zuckerberg escalate row over dangers of AI

Musk described the Facebook CEO’s knowledge of the field as ‘limited’ after Zuckerberg publicly dismissed AI doomsday warnings as ‘irresponsible’<p>Tech billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have entered into a public squabble about artificial intelligence in which Musk described the Facebook …

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is not as smart as you (or Elon Musk) think

In March 2016, DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, who at the time was the best human Go player in the world. It represented one of those defining technological moments like IBM’s Deep Blue beating chess champion Garry Kasparov, or even IBM Watson beating the world’s greatest <i>Jeopardy!</i> champions in …

Artificial Intelligence

Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance!

It’s been a bad summer for maintenance, especially in New York. Last month Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, underscoring a problem that New York subway riders understand all too well: The M.T.A. relies heavily on emergency repairs …

MTA

Roomba's Next Big Step Is Selling Maps of Your Home to the Highest Bidder

The Roomba is generally regarded as a cute little robot friend that no one but dogs would consider to be a potential menace. But for the last couple …

IRobot

What’s Driving the Machine Learning Explosion?

Machine learning systems have been around since the 1950s, so why are we suddenly seeing breakthroughs in so many diverse areas? Three factors are at play: enormously increased data, significantly improved algorithms, and substantially more-powerful computer hardware. Over the past two decades …

Machine Learning

How can we stop algorithms telling lies?

Algorithms can dictate whether you get a mortgage or how much you pay for insurance. But sometimes they’re wrong – and sometimes they are designed to deceive<p>Lots of algorithms go bad unintentionally. Some of them, however, are made to be criminal. Algorithms are formal rules, usually written in …

National Transportation Safety Board

Conscious exotica

From algorithms to aliens, could humans ever understand minds that are radically unlike our own?<i>By Murray Shanahan</i>Read at Aeon

Consciousness

AI is Changing Everything – Even Science Itself

AI Particle Physics<p>Many might associate current artificial intelligence (AI) abilities with advanced gameplay, medical developments, and even …

The Future

The Guardian view on patient data: we need a better approach

The deal between an NHS hospital and Google’s artificial intelligence division DeepMind is a cautionary tale for the future use of sensitive data by tech monopolists<p>Any fair-minded assessment of the dangers of the deal between the NHS and DeepMind must start by acknowledging that both sides mean …

Artificial Intelligence

The next generational shift in enterprise infrastructure has arrived

Cloud computing is driving growth at 3 of the 5 most valuable companies in the world. AI will impact jobs only as quickly as AI-powered business software evolves. These are just two of the ramifications of disruptions in enterprise technology permeating mainstream media.<p>Yet the inner workings of …

Industrial

Distilled entanglement brings long-distance quantum communication closer

Send plus resend followed by careful measurement results in better entanglement.<p>This seems to be a good week for talking about quantum memories and …

Google's Eric Schmidt: We need critical thinking now more than ever

The Alphabet boss says the world is entering an age of abundance, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning<p>Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc (Google’s parent company), is optimistic about the future. “We’re entering what I call the age of abundance,” he says. “And during …

Google advances AI with ‘one model to learn them all’

Google quietly released an academic paper that could provide a blueprint for the future of machine learning. Called “One Model to Learn Them All,” it lays out a template for how to create a single machine learning model that can address multiple tasks well.<p>The MultiModel, as the Google researchers …

Machine Learning

Minitel, the Open Network Before the Internet

A state-run French computer service from the 1980s offers a cautionary tale about too much reliance on today’s private internet providers.<p>In 1991, most Americans had not yet heard of the internet. But all of France was online, buying, selling, gaming, and chatting, thanks to a ubiquitous little box …

Net Neutrality

The Robot-Human Alliance

Humans have been beaten by a machine again. Last month the world’s top-ranked player of Go, an abstract strategy board game, lost to Google’s AlphaGo program. This marked a major achievement for machine learning, given the game’s complexity.<p>What might be more important, though, went less noticed: …

Machine Learning

The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence

Nothing will make you appreciate human intelligence like learning about how unbelievably challenging it is to try to create a computer as smart as we …

Singularity

First the cloud, now AI takes on the scientific method

Cloud didn't make the scientific method irrelevant in '08—AI won't do it in '17, either.<p>Back when I was doing research, one of my advisors once joked …

Ford faces lots of bumps in the road to a world of driverless cars

The Detroit giant has bravely changed leadership, and signalled a radical change of direction, but autonomous vehicles pose many technical problems<p>A little over a century since Ford’s Model T first allowed the average American to drive their own motor car, the manufacturing giant is threatening to …

Facebook’s ParlAI is where researchers will push the boundaries of conversational AI

To most of us, communication is a single task. But in reality, it’s not and if you’re a machine trying to replicate dialog, you need to be good at lots of tasks like answering questions, completing sentences and even having small talk. It’s common for research in each of these areas to be done …

Google’s AI Invents Sounds Humans Have Never Heard Before

Jesse Engel is playing an instrument that's somewhere between a clavichord and a Hammond organ—18th-century classical crossed with 20th-century …

Nvidia CEO: Software Is Eating the World, but AI Is Going to Eat Software

Tech companies and investors have recently been piling money into artificial intelligence—and plenty has been trickling down to chip maker Nvidia. …

Neural Networks Face Unexpected Problems in Analyzing Financial Data

One area where machine learning and neural networks are set to make a huge impact is in financial markets. This field is rich in the two key factors …

A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

The computational biologist John Novembre uses our genetic code to rewrite the history of humanity.<p>QUANTA MAGAZINE: What got you thinking about …

DNA

Table of Contents — April 2017, 116 (2)

• Sara Nelson and<br>• Bruce Braun<p>Autonomia in the Anthropocene: New Challenges to Radical Politics<p>South Atlantic Quarterly (2017) 116(2): 223-235; …

Anthropocene