Monday, March 2, 2015

Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade

My colleague, Mark Wilson, brought this article titled Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade in the New Yorker about an AI that can learn to play computer arcade games better than people. Combining neural networks with reinforcement learning the company, DeepMind, was bought by Google for over $600 million last year. This is an interesting article which you can follow up in more detail with a paper recently published in the journal Nature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Alan #Turing wins an Oscar

Well... the movie The Imitation Game won an Oscar yesterday for best adapted screen play by Graham Moore. If you haven't seen the movie I strongly recommend it to you, it's excellent Graham Moore gave a moving acceptance speech that I think Alan Turing would have appreciated.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Do you want to live in a Smart City?

Stephen Poole in the The Guardian has written a very interesting and thought provoking long article The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy' that presents both sides of the vision of the future smart city; the benefits of a highly connected society and infrastructure and the potential pitfalls. With online privacy and data security such hot topics at the moment it's certainly easy to see how the smart city of the future could be fraught with dangers. I recommend you read it.


Friday, February 13, 2015

A year (and a bit) with Inbox Zero

In January 2014 I blogged about Inbox Zero and I have now been following that practice for a little over a year; so it's time to give my appraisal. After following the techniques outlined in the various web posts on Inbox Zero and spending a little time on the remaining stubborn emails that really had to be actioned I achieved the nirvana of an empty Gmail inbox (perviously it held approx. 20,000 mails of which approx. 2,000 were unread).
    I now check my email at set times of the day: first thing in the morning, before lunch, mid afternoon and early evening. I apply the delete, delegate, respond, defer, and do mantra to each email and have maintained inbox zero successfully for just over a year now. I'm never going back, I feel so much more relaxed and in command of my email. I use email not the other way round. For example if I receive an email from a work colleague on a Saturday I defer it until the following Monday (unless of course it really is urgent) - I'm not at work so I shouldn't be dealing with work email at the weekend. I've turned off the email notification and app badges on my iPhone and iPad. I use Unroll Me to manage email subscriptions and mailing lists, Mailbox (an excellent app) on my iOS devices, and a snooze script within Gmail. I strongly recommend you take the plunge and try Inbox Zero, you wont regret it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Bionic Bird

The Bionic Bird is ready to take flight. Drones have been in the world a lot recently, but this is something different; inspired by nature it really looks and flies much like a small bird, moreover you can control it's flight from your smartphone just by moving your hand. You can pre-order your Bionic Bird now (costs 99 Euros). It's my birthday soon...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fibonacci Sculptures That Animate Under A Strobe Light

My colleague Bob Doran brought this beautiful video to my attention. 3D Fibonacci sculptures that animate under a strobe light. Isn't maths wonderful!

Blooms: Strobe-Animated Sculptures from Pier 9 on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Future of Life Institute

"Technology has given life the opportunity to flourish like never before... or to self-destruct." So warns the Future of Life Institute a "volunteer-run research and outreach organization working to mitigate existential risks facing humanity." Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have both recently warned that AI could cause the end of humanity. The FLI is therefore focusing on potential risks from the development of human-level artificial intelligence. If you are working in AI or related disciplines you are encouraged to sign an open letter "arguing that rapid progress in AI is making it timely to research not only how to make AI more capable, but also how to make it robust and beneficial."