A computational life

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

The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans

DeepMind’s new self-taught Go-playing program is making moves that other players describe as “alien” and “from an alternate dimension.”<p>It was a tense summer day in 1835 Japan. The country’s reigning Go player, Honinbo Jowa, took his seat across a board from a 25-year-old prodigy by the name of …

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Learns to Learn Entirely on Its Own

A new version of AlphaGo needed no human instruction to figure out how to clobber the best Go player in the world — itself.<p>To expert observers, the …

Artificial Intelligence

'It's able to create knowledge itself': Google unveils AI that learns on its own

In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go ... with no human help<p>Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful …

Artificial Intelligence

Imagining the Future Is Just Another Form of Memory

Humans’ ability to predict the future is all thanks to our ability to remember the past.<p>“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.” This is a line from John Green’s young-adult book <i>Looking for Alaska</i>. It’s pretty, and melancholy, and very popular on Tumblr. It’s also scientifically …

The Brain

You Could Become an AI Master Before You Know It. Here’s How. - MIT Technology Review

At first blush, Scot Barton might not seem like an AI pioneer. He isn’t building self-driving cars or teaching computers to thrash humans at computer …

Machine Learning

The algorithm is innocent

Google and Facebook deflect responsibility onto algorithms, as if they don't control their own code.<p>For a few hours this morning, if you searched …

Google News

China’s AI Awakening中国 人工智能 的崛起 - MIT Technology Review

On a tropical island that marks the southern tip of China, a computer program called Lengpudashi is playing one-on-one poker against a dozen people …

Artificial Intelligence

Mattel thinks again about AI babysitter

Dave Lee North America technology reporter<p><b>Mattel has decided against releasing its AI-powered "babysitter" following concerns over privacy and other implications.</b><p>Campaigners said artificial intelligence should not be used in place of real parenting, even if only briefly.<p>The toy company announced …

Automation

The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions - MIT Technology Review

We are surrounded by hysteria about the future of artificial intelligence and robotics—hysteria about how powerful they will become, how quickly, and …

Artificial Intelligence

DeepMind’s New Ethics Team Wants to Solve AI’s Problems Before They Happen - MIT Technology Review

The Download<p>What's up in emerging technology<p>October 4, 2017<p>DeepMind’s New Ethics Team Wants to Solve AI’s Problems Before They Happen<p>From …

Artificial Intelligence

DeepMind's new AI ethics unit is the company's next big move

As we hand over more of our lives to artificial intelligence systems, keeping a firm grip on their ethical and societal impact is crucial. For …

Artificial Intelligence

How sex robots could help with the nuts and bolts of relationships

When sexbots become available, they could make relationships stronger by providing novelty and variety – or they might allow you to give up sex altogether<p>Sex robots do not currently exist. While some early proto-sexbots have been developed, there is as yet no technology that offers a plausibly …

Relationships

'Gaydar' Shows How Creepy Algorithms Can Get

Imagine what an oppressive government could do with it.<p>Artificial intelligence keeps getting creepier. In one controversial study, researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated that facial recognition technology can identify gay people with surprising precision, although many caveats apply. …

Intelligence

The Coming Software Apocalypse

A small group of programmers wants to change how we code—before catastrophe strikes.<p>There were six hours during the night of April 10, 2014, when the entire population of Washington State had no 911 service. People who called for help got a busy signal. One Seattle woman dialed 911 at least 37 …

Programming

Mapping’s Intelligent Agents

We now take it for granted that our machines can sense almost any space in the world, from deep sea trenches to the chambers of the human heart. …

Maps

Driverless Vehicles Will Talk to Us

Envisioning a not-so-distant future where our cars can detect our locations, our to-do lists, and our heart rates.<p>When we switched from landlines to smartphones about 10 years ago, there was a fundamental shift in how we understood communication technology. Until that point, we’d been using phones …

Transportation

The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing

One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?<p>Amazon comes to conquer brick-and-mortar retail, not to bury it. In the last two years, the company has opened 11 physical …

eCommerce

The invention of AI ‘gaydar’ could be the start of something much worse

Researchers claim they can spot gay people from a photo, but critics say we’re revisiting pseudoscience<p>Two weeks ago, a pair of researchers from Stanford University made a startling claim. Using hundreds of thousands of images taken from a dating website, they said they had trained a facial …

LGBTQ

New Theory Cracks Open the Black Box of Deep Learning

A new idea called the “information bottleneck” is helping to explain the puzzling success of today’s artificial-intelligence algorithms — and might …

Deep Learning

Doctors say IBM Watson is nowhere close to being the revolution in cancer treatment it was pitched to them as

It was an audacious undertaking, even for one of the most storied American companies: With a single machine, IBM would tackle humanity’s most vexing diseases and revolutionize medicine.<p>Breathlessly promoting its signature brand — Watson — IBM sought to capture the world’s imagination, and it …

Cancer

Silicon Valley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun

Personal data is to the tech world what oil is to the fossil fuel industry. That’s why companies like Amazon and Facebook plan to dig deeper than we ever imagined<p>What if a cold drink cost more on a hot day?<p>Customers in the UK will soon find out. Recent reports suggest that three of the country’s …

Silicon Valley

Turns Out Algorithms Are Racist

It turns out that artificial intelligence may be just as bigoted as human beings. Last fall, it was discovered that a complex program used in image …

Artificial Intelligence

A Radical New Theory Could Change the Way We Build A.I.

One A.I. scientist wants to ditch the metaphor of the brain and think smaller and more basic.<p>From early on, we’re taught that intelligence is …

Researchers built an invisible backdoor to hack AI’s decisions

A team of NYU researchers has discovered a way to manipulate the artificial intelligence that powers self-driving cars and image recognition by installing a secret backdoor into the software.<p>The attack, documented in an non-peer-reviewed paper, shows that AI from cloud providers could contain these …

Artificial Intelligence

Transgender YouTubers had their videos grabbed to train facial recognition software

In the race to train AI, researchers are taking data first and asking questions later<p>About five or six years ago, one of Karl Ricanek’s students showed him a video on YouTube. It was a time lapse of a person undergoing hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, in order to transition genders. “At the …

Creative Commons

Machines Taught by Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women

Last fall, University of Virginia computer science professor Vicente Ordóñez noticed a pattern in some of the guesses made by image-recognition …

Machine Learning

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 …

Machine Learning

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. …

Machine Learning