1. iRobot, the manufacturers of the Packbot bomb-disposal robots, have actually received boxes of shrapnel consisting of the robots’ remains after an explosion with a note saying, “Can you fix it?” Upon offering to send a new robot to the unit, the soldiers say, “No, we want that one.” That specific robot was the one they had shared experiences with, bonded with, and the one they did not want to “die.”
  2. Robots and theater may seem like an odd pairing until you remember that robots got their name from a 1920 play by the Czech playwright, Karel Čapek.

    R.U.R. — which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots — tells the story of the rise and fall of a race of worker robots. It is credited with establishing many of the cultural tropes about robots and for applying the name (which in Czech means “drudgery”), that sticks to this da

  3. second wave robots will be working with people, up close and personal. This contrasts with their first wave ancestors that, by and large, are dangerous for humans…
    Second wave robots will be networked…made of very different kinds of stuff… and smarter – although not as smart as some would have
    you believe… We will expect our robots to understand us better, and to behave ethically – even if that means a robot occasionally does not do what we ask of it
  5. 22:10

    Tags: robots

    if we are dealing with robots like they are real people, the law should recognize that those interactions are like our interactions with real people. In some cases, that will require recognizing that the robots are insurable entities like real people or corporations and that a robot’s liability is self-contained. In the same way you cannot sue a person who is nearby an accident if he did nothing to cause the accident, you should not be able to sue the owner or operator of an autonomous drone who did nothing wrong while the drone was autonomously operating
  6. Hinton soldiered on, however, making an important advance in 2006, with a new technique that he dubbed deep learning, which itself extends important earlier work by my N.Y.U. colleague, Yann LeCun, and is still in use at Google, Microsoft, and elsewhere. A typical setup is this: a computer is confronted with a large set of data, and on its own asked to sort the elements of that data into categories, a bit like a child who is asked to sort a set of toys, with no specific instructions. The child might sort them by color, by shape, or by function, or by something else. Machine learners try to do this on a grander scale, seeing, for example, millions of handwritten digits, and making guesses about which digits looks more like one another, “clustering” them together based on similarity. Deep learning’s important innovation is to have models learn categories incrementally, attempting to nail down lower-level categories (like letters) before attempting to acquire higher-level categories (like words).

    Deep learning excels at this sort of problem, known as unsupervised learning. In some cases it performs far better than its predecessors. It can, for example, learn to identify syllables in a new language better than earlier systems. But it’s still not good enough to reliably recognize or sort objects when the set of possibilities is large.

  7. Viv strives to be the first consumer-friendly assistant that truly achieves that promise. It wants to be not only blindingly smart and infinitely flexible but omnipresent. Viv’s creators hope that some day soon it will be embedded in a plethora of Internet-connected everyday objects. Viv founders say you’ll access its artificial intelligence as a utility, the way you draw on electricity.
  8. Baidu is working on a massive computing cluster for deep learning that will be 100 times larger than the cat-recognizing system Google famously built in 2012 and that should be complete in six months
  9. 08:26

    Notes: 4

    Tags: changing behaviour

    image: Download

    (via Remember When Your Desk Was Cluttered With Stuff You Actually Used?)
  10. wow. excellent summary of one important aspect of the AI / robots debate

    (Source: youtube.com)

  11. As part of its transformation, IV fired 20 percent of its employees, about 140 people, most of whom were tied to its patent business, on Aug. 19. A new team busy turning ideas into products has raised millions of dollars to fund a flood of IV-backed startups. A network of 25,000 independent inventors submits ideas for review by IV and earns royalties when products based on their ideas reach market. Says Edward Jung, IV’s chief technology officer and co-founder, “We have built an engine that can solve big problems.”…. IV, he says, has been taking the long-term view all along. First it had to amass a patent portfolio. Then it needed to learn how to mine it for great ideas. Now it’s time to put those ideas to the test. Critics who only saw IV as a giant IP collector misjudged the company, he says. It will soon be pumping out dozens of revolutionary products
  12. deep learning is now mainstream. “We ceased to be the lunatic fringe,” Hinton says. “We’re now the lunatic core.”
  13. 17:32

    Tags: devices

    OK… maybe next Christmas it will be time to jump back into the robot vacuum world…

  14. Imagine how much one might notice if one walked out of the front door, and imagined one had never seen any of it before, if one pictured oneself as a foreigner from a far off land newly disembarked off a long-haul flight. One might be fascinated by the milky green of the trees, and the endless procession of leaden clouds. One might note the ordered sterility of the supermarket, the diffident politeness of people on the bus, the native genius for skirting conflict with a particular kind of irony. In a glass-fronted office block on Washwood Heath Road, one might spot some people gesticulating in a boardroom on the first floor and wonder at the workings of the distinctive Capitalism that grows here… We should endeavour to try, before taking off for distant hemispheres, to notice what we have already so often seen closer at hand. And when we despair at coming back, we should be goaded on by the thought that ‘boring home’ is always someone else’s deeply exciting ‘abroad’
  15. Since its public debut in February, Slack has been growing at a rate of 5 to 10 percent a week and now has more than 120,000 daily users. Fully 38,000 people from 2000 different organizations pay for the full-featured version of the service. It has so far pocketed $1.5 million in revenue. If just those subscribers keep paying, Slack would pull in $3.5 million a year. But it is adding so many subscribers so fast, that the annual billing projections are growing by $1 million every six weeks. And people do tend to stick around at an astonishing rate: 93 percent of people who try Slack keep using it.