Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tate Britain Is Offering Everyone Remote Tours, Using Robots

One of my favourite art galleries recently offered remote tours of its exhibitions by robot after hours. Wired reports that "Since at least the 1960s, we’ve romanticized night time visits to art museums. In From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, published in 1967, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a 12-year-old runaway’s chosen hideout destination." I really wish I'd been able to take a tour and I hope other museums take up this idea. In the meantime this video will have to suffice.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet

We keep being told that email is unproductive and there are better ways to communicate productively. For example Justin Rosenstein , the co-founder of Asana a productivity software startup says: "Email has become a counter-productivity tool.” However, an interesting article in the Atlantic Monthly puts all these sales pitches in their place. Email is a great tool, possible the best thing about the Internet!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Forget Turing, the Lovelace Test Has a Better Shot at Spotting AI

I recently blogged about a chatbot, called Eugene Goostman, that was claimed to have passed Alan Turing’s famous measure of machine intelligence in June by posing as a Ukrainian teenager with questionable language skills. Motherboard notices that "the world went nuts for about an hour before realizing that the bot, far from having achieved human-level intelligence, was actually pretty dumb." This article proposes the Lovelace test for AI that demands an act of creativity from an AI rather than automated conversational skills - it's an interesting idea and would be a good way of honouring Ada Lovelace.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Claude Shannon's Ultimate Machine

Claude Shannon is best know for inventing digital logic, proving that boolean logic and binary arithmetic can be implemented with just AND, OR and NOT (or indeed just NAND or NOR). Not content with that discovery he went on to found the science of information theory. But perhaps his crowning achievement is the invention of the "ultimate machine" a device of cunning digital simplicity.

Monday, August 11, 2014

These robots cheer for absent fans at South Korean baseball games

File this one under "weird." The South Korean baseball team, The Eagles, haven't won the championship in 15 years; they're commonly know as The Chickens! But still their loyal fans come to watch and cheer their side on. So of course, being South Korea, it was natural for them to create robots who could cheer for absent fans. An unusual use of the concept of telepresence. Watch the video below to see how it's done. This story was brought to my attention by my colleague Mark.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Syria's children learn to code with the Raspberry Pi

Three years ago, when I was looking for an example of social unrest to highlight the use of social media as a communication tool for protestors in my book, I chose the then new uprising in Syria. I'm horrified the conflict still continues. However, I just came across a surprisingly good piece of news from that awful conflict; the use of the Raspberry Pi to teach Syrian refugees in Lebanon to code. Read the full article in the Guardian to learn more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Imitation Game

The official trailer for the movie about Alan Turing called "The Imitation Game", starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing and Keira Knightley as close friend and fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke. is now available on YouTube. This movie seems to be sticking much closer to the facts, unlike the previous movie Enigma, which totally wrote Turing out of the WWII story, replacing him with a traditional heterosexual male lead alongside Kate Winslet. The imitation Game is scheduled for release November 14.