To be precise, Dr Rubenstein’s ’bot swarm (above) has 1,024 members (210 being a conveniently binary number), known apparently without irony as kilobots. Each is a rigid-legged tripod that moves around by vibrating. Kilobots communicate with infra-red light, which can reflect off the table Dr Rubenstein uses for his experiments, and are programmed with three types of behaviour.
One is edge-following, which allows a ’bot move along the edge of a cluster. The second is gradient-formation, which lets it know how many other ’bots a signal has been relayed through, and thus gives it information about the location of these ’bots and the shape of the cluster it is in. The third is localisation, which means it can agree a system of co-ordinates with its neighbours, so that they can measure distances between themselves.
“Half of these experts (48%) envision a future in which robots and digital agents have displaced significant numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers—with many expressing concern that this will lead to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order.
The other half of the experts who responded to this survey (52%) expect that technology will not displace more jobs than it creates by 2025. To be sure, this group anticipates that many jobs currently performed by humans will be substantially taken over by robots or digital agents by 2025. But they have faith that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”
I find Joaquin Phoenix creepy in most roles so did not enjoy the movie much but found the technology and setting fascinating.
There’s the LA of the future with and no cars (LA?!!! – it’s actually set in Shanghai). There’s evolved artificial intelligence – as in artificial feelings. No devices – desktop or mobile – have keyboards. Mono earpieces provide the UI to check email, get weather reports etc. The video games are holographic. The mobile devices are hinged and buck the larger, curved display trend of today. There’s no dropped anything even on elevators and trains – so the networks have clearly improved.
In quite a compliment, Wired says the movie will dominate UI design even more than Minority Report did. Go see it for that. If you like Amy Adams that’s another reason to go :)
"Masters students from the EPFLAutomatic Control Laboratory (LA) are developing a robot that can play foosball (table football) for their semester project. One of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second."
From EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland (hence the French in the video)
"the robotic arm depends on two computers: one to control the
mechanical movement of the arm and the other to provide information
about the position of the ball. In order to position itself correctly,
the robot must have a clear idea of the location of the ball in real
So students replaced the bottom of the foosball table with a
transparent material. They then placed a high-speed camera on the
ground to film the game board. “Through image processing algorithms, we
can analyze the movement of the ball in real time. This information is
transmitted to the computer that controls the movement and positioning
of the arm,” says masters student Martin Savary, who participated in the
Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book
and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the
“send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly,
your essay scored by a software program.
EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and
will make its automated software available free on the Web to any
institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial
intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing
professors for other tasks.
The EdX assessment tool requires human teachers, or graders, to first
grade 100 essays or essay questions. The system then uses a variety of
machine-learning techniques to train itself to be able to grade any
number of essays or answers automatically and almost instantaneously.
The (UC Berkeley) research team’s computational model uses probabilistic reasoning –
which explores logic and statistics to predict an outcome – to
reconstruct more than 600 Proto-Austronesian languages from an existing
database of more than 140,000 words, replicating with 85 percent
accuracy what linguists had done manually. While manual reconstruction
is a meticulous process that can take years, this system can perform a
large-scale reconstruction in a matter of days or even hours,
Not only will this program speed up the ability of linguists to
rebuild the world’s proto-languages on a large scale, boosting our
understanding of ancient civilizations based on their vocabularies, but
it can also provide clues to how languages might change years from now.
"But adding Kinect to a (Coke) vending machine planted in a high traffic area
opens up endless possibilities for interaction, assuming that people are
interested in whatever is being promoted. Like the dance games (with the band 2 PM) though,
the machine must assess the behaviors of the participants to gauge
whether they deserve a free Coke. Though the AI involved in the Coke
machine may not be that advanced, or even what is used in video games,
the potential to make a much more sophisticated system is there."
“It’s not surprising Google is interested in Kurzweil’s services. A few years back, Google cofounder Larry Page told Esquire, “We have some people at Google who are trying to build artificial intelligence, and to do it at a large scale…I don’t think it’s that far off.” In his latest book, How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil says humans can reverse engineer the brain to create artificial intelligence—and similarly says we’ll do it much sooner than anyone thinks. A good match, no?
Kurzweil specializes in machine learning and language processing and will focus on new projects at Google involving both. Some of those skills may help further hone Google’s learning search algorithm, language translation application, and speech recognition software.
But Google has plenty of talent already well versed in those technologies and the firm is known to invest in more ambitious undertakings. The special projects team, Google X, is working on self-driving cars, augmented-reality glasses, and a slew of projects outside the public’s purview. Kurzweil says he will work on AI, and one imagines that may include an attempt to reverse engineer the brain.”