Category Archives: Science

Building AI Is Hard—So Facebook Is Building AI That Builds AI

“…companies like Google and Facebook pay top dollar for some really smart people. Only a few hundred souls on Earth have the talent and the training needed to really push the state-of-the-art [AI] forward, and paying for these top minds is a lot like paying for an NFL quarterback. That’s a bottleneck in the continued progress of artificial intelligence. And it’s not the only one. Even the top researchers can’t build these services without trial and error on an enormous scale. To build a deep neural network that cracks the next big AI problem, researchers must first try countless options that don’t work, running each one across dozens and potentially hundreds of machines.”


This article represents a true picture of where we are today for the average consumer and producer of information, and the companies that repurpose information, e.g. in the form of advertisements.  
The advancement and current progress of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, analogously paints a picture akin to the 1970s with computers that fill rooms, and accept punch cards as input.
Today’s consumers have mobile computing power that is on par to the whole rooms of the 1970s; however, “more compute power” in a tinier package may not be the path to AI sentience.  How AI algorithm models are computed might need to take an alternate approach.  
In a classical computation system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other. However quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a superposition of both states at the same time, a property which is fundamental to quantum computing.
The construction, and validation of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, algorithm models should be engineered on a Quantum Computing framework.

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future

Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft are using high salaries and games pitting humans against computers to try to claim the standard on which all companies will build their A.I. technology.

In this fight — no doubt in its early stages — the big tech companies are engaged in tit-for-tat publicity stunts, circling the same start-ups that could provide the technology pieces they are missing and, perhaps most important, trying to hire the same brains.

For years, tech companies have used man-versus-machine competitions to show they are making progress on A.I. In 1997, an IBM computer beat the chess champion Garry Kasparov. Five years ago, IBM went even further when its Watson system won a three-day match on the television trivia show “Jeopardy!” Today, Watson is the centerpiece of IBM’s A.I. efforts.

Today, only about 1 percent of all software apps have A.I. features, IDC estimates. By 2018, IDC predicts, at least 50 percent of developers will include A.I. features in what they create.

Source: The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future – The New York Times

The next “tit-for-tat” publicity stunt should most definitely be a battle with robots, exactly like BattleBots, except…

  1. Use A.I. to consume vast amounts of video footage from previous bot battles, while identifying key elements of bot design that gave a bot the ‘upper hand’.  From a human cognition perspective, this exercise may be subjective. The BattleBot scoring process can play a factor in 1) conceiving designs, and 2) defining ‘rules’ of engagement.
  2. Use A.I. to produce BattleBot designs for humans to assemble.
  3. Autonomous battles, bot on bot, based on Artificial Intelligence battle ‘rules’ acquired from the input and analysis of video footage.

Building Apps Incorporating the AI Power of IBM Watson’s Cognative Computing Cloud

IBM Watson’s APIs are available today so teams may ramp up quickly and use IBM’s cognitive computing engine.  From IBM Watson’s site, it seems like anyone may build against their cognitive computing platform.  In addition,  your team may submit to be ‘Featured’ in their application Gallery.  Explore the library of featured applications produced by this partnership.  At the time of this writing, there were 14 applications.
Several of these apps have been created by IBM to showcase their technology.  IBM Watson APIs are categorized into ‘Services’ used:
  • Dialog
  • Natural Language Classifier
  • AlchemyData News
  • Personality Insights
  • Tradeoff Analytics
  • Speech to Text
  • Language Translation
  • Text to Speech
  • Visual Recognition
  • Concept Insights
  • Relationship Extraction

They sound like AI,BI comprehensive services, but in full disclosure, I’ve not read though the API docs available by IBM.  It can be found here, grouped by IBM Watson’s Cognitive Services.

One of the applications powered by IBM Watson in their gallery is a “News Explorer”, which leverages the Service ‘AlchemyData News’.
The app runs in a browser, and consists of 5 main User Interface components.  The centrally placed, “News Network” widget similar to a mind map, correlates articles, companies, organizations, and people.  Visually it displays these components and their relationships in groupings similar to a relationship tree.
 News Network
The left side of the screen has a table called ‘Details’, one column with short descriptions of the stories.  From the UI perspective, it enables users to follow the data from left to right, from details to graphical representations.
Details
The right most side of the screen contains a world map leveraged as a heat map in which all the News is derived.
Locations
Right under the ‘Locations’ widget, there is a ‘Topics’ tag cloud.
TopicsTags
I encourage you to check out the News application, click here.
In addition to UI drill down within the widgets, there is a comprehensive search capacity.
Are you ready to compete with Siri, or Cortana, or build your own Expert solution?  Looks like IBM is empowering you to do so!

How Microsoft Gets Back into Mainstream Popularity

The HoloLens may propel Microsoft back to the ‘Cool’ kid on the block.    The HoloLens has the potential to “fly off the shelves” in tandem to Windows 10.

Ever since I saw the movie Blue Thunder, I wanted my own Heads-up display (HUD).   Here are a few suggestions for implementation:

Must Have’s

  • ‘Priced to sell’:   Even if the cost of the hardware is reduced to a thin the margin, that may or may not be enough.   From day one, these “Windows into Windows” must be viewed as essential to the ‘enhanced’ OS package, like ‘Windows 10 Home Media’.
  • Microsoft, Enable Channel Sales (DELL, HP) to offer Microsoft Windows 10 and HoloLens ‘Media’ package deals, together both the OS and the HoloLens are offered at a reduced price.
  • The HoloLens and Windows 10 User Interface (UI) significantly enhances how the consumer interacts with Operating Systems.
  • [Channel] Sales may offer bundled HoloLens / Windows 10 applications, e.g. Minecraft;
  • Analyze / prioritize top 10 (N)  opportunities for application development, and produce internally, and/or with partners.
    • Partners may range from software vendors to accredited training programs, e.g. flight school XYZ
  • Intuitive  and feature rich developer APIs:
    • Provide the HoloLens developer a software ‘Simulator’
    • Products with source code examples
    • Quick path from development to market: Lean application vetting process; including the vetting of app developers.
  • Education levels 6 to 12 and beyond can benefit, segmented by: the sciences (e.g. Chemistry, Microbiology, Physics);  Trade Schools such as Automotive and HVAC;
    • Colleges and Universities may be early adopters, and expand their Massive open online courses to including remote participation, e.g. medicine
  • Applying for an ‘operator license’?  HoloLens, accompanied with a licensed operator,  allows users to wear the HoloLens, and follow a step by step, interactive tutorial within the vehicle, e.g. Car, Boat, Helicopter, Truck, Airplane, etc.

Click here:  comprehensive list of Augmented Reality (AR) apps.

Interesting articles on Microsoft’s Hololens:

Microsoft dives deeper into HoloLens details: ‘Holographic processor’ role revealed

Microsoft leaps into 3D computing with Windows Holographic and HoloLens

Hands-on with Microsoft’s HoloLens: The 3D augmented reality future is now

 

Microsoft HoloLens

 

Alzheimer’s Inflicted: Technology to Help Remember Habitual Activities  

Anyone ever walk into a room and forget why on Earth you were there?  Were you about to get a cup of coffee, or get your car keys?  Wonderful!  It’s frustrating on my level of distraction, now magnify that to the Nth degree, Alzheimer’s.  Apply a rules and Induction engine, and poof!  A step further away from a managed care facility.

Teaching the AI Induction and rules engine may require the help of your 10 year old grandson.  Relatively easy,  you might need your grandson to sleep over for a day or two.

It’s all about variations of the same theme, tag a location, a room in an apartment, also action tag, such as getting a cup of coffee from the kitchen.  The repetitive nature of the activities with a location tag draws conclusions based on historical behavior.  The more variations of action and coinciding location tags, will begin to become ‘smarter’ about your habitual activities.  In addition, the calculations create a bell curve, a way to prioritize the most probable Location/Action tags used for the suggested behavior.    The ‘outliers’ on the bell curve will have the lowest probability of occurrence.

In addition, RFID tags installed in your apartment will increase the effectiveness of the ‘advice’ engine by adding more granular location tags.

Microchip_rfid_rice
Microchip RFID compared to the size of a grain of rice.
Beyond this ‘black box’ small, lightweight computer (smartphone) integrate a Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi antenna, a mobile application and you’re set.  A small, high quality Bluetooth microphone to interact with the app.  There’s also potential for exploring beyond the home.

Kidding, you don’t need that Grandson to help.  Speak into the mic, “Train” go into the room and say your activity, coffee.  This app will correlate your location, and action.  Everyone loves to be included in the Internet of Things, so app features like alerts for deviation from the location ‘map’ are possible.

In earnest, I am mostly certain that this type of solution exists.  Barriers to adoption could be computer/ smartphone generational gap.  Otherwise, someone is already producing the solution, and I just wasted a bus ride home.

Additionally, this software may be integrated with Apple’s Siri, Google Now,  Yahoo Index, Microsoft Cortana,  an extension of the Personal Assistant.

Companies Turn Toward “Data Sifters” & “Data Banks” to Commoditize on ‘Smart Object’ Data

Anyone who is anti “Big Brother”, this may not be the article for you, in fact skip it. 🙂
In the not so distant future, “Data Sifter” companies consisting of Subject Matter Experts (SME) across all verticals,  may process your data feeds collected from ‘smart objects’.   Consumers will be encouraged to submit their Smart data to ‘data sifters’ who will offer incentives such as a reduction of insurance premiums.
Everything from activity trackers, home automation, to vehicular automation data may be captured and aggregated.    The data collected can then be sliced and diced to provide macro and micro views of the information.    On the abstract, or macro level the information may allow for demographic, statistical correlations, which may contribute to corporate strategy.
On a granular view, the data will provide “data sifters” the opportunity to sift through ‘smart’ object data to perform analysis, and correlations that lead to actionable information.
Is it secure?  Do you care if a hacker steals your weight loss information?  In fact, you might feel more nervous if only the intended parties are allowed to collect the information. Collected ‘Smart Object’ data enables SMEs to correlate the data into:
  • Canned, ‘intelligent’ reports targeted to specific subject matter, or across silos of data
  • ‘Universes’ (i.e.  Business Objects) of data that may be ‘mined’ by consumer approved, ‘trusted’ third party companies, e.g. your insurance companies.
  • Actionable information based on AI subject matter rules engines

Consumers, people, may have the option of sharing their personal data with specific companies  by proxy, through a ‘data bank’ down to the data point collected   The sharing of personal data or information:

  1. may lower [or raise] your insurance premiums
  2. provide discounts on preventive health care products and services, e.g. vitamins to yoga classes
  3. Targeted, affordable,  medicine that may redirect the choice of the doctor to an alternate.  The MD would be contacted to validate the alternate.

The ‘smart object’ data collected may be harnessed by thousands of affinity groups to provide very discrete products and services.  The power of this collected ‘smart data’ and correlated information stretches beyond any consumer relationship experienced today.

At some point, health insurance companies may require you to wear a tracker to increase or slash premiums.  Auto Insurance companies may offer discounts for access to car smart data to make sure suggested maintenance guidelines for service are met.

You may approve your “data bank” to give access to specific soliciting government agencies or private research firms looking to analyze data for their studies. You may qualify based on the demographic, abstracted data points collected.   Incentives provided may be tax credits, or paying studies.

‘Smart Object’ Adoption and Affordability

If ‘Smart Objects’, Internet of Things (IoT) enabled, are cost inhibiting.  here are a few ways to increase their adoption:
  1.  [US] tax coupons to enable the buyer, at the time of purchase, to save money.  For example, a 100 USD discount applied at the time of purchase of an Activity Tracker, with the stipulation that you may agree,  at some point, to participate in a study.
  2. Government subsidies: the cost of ‘Smart Objects’ through annual tax deductions.  Today, tax incentives may allow you to purchase a ‘Smart Object’ if the cost is an itemized medical tax deduction, such as an Activity Tracker that monitors your heart rate, if your medical condition requires it.
  3. Auto, Life, Homeowners, and Health policy holders may qualify for additional insurance deductions
  4. Affinity branded ‘Smart Objects’ , such as American Lung Association may sell a logo branded Activity Tracker.  People may sponsor the owner of the tracking pedometer to raise funds for the cause.
The World Bank has a repository of data, World DataBank, which seems to store a large depth of information:
World Bank Open Data: free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.”
Here is the article that inspired me to write this article:
Smart Object Data Ecosystem
Smart Object Data Ecosystem

Slippery Slope: F.A.A. May Loosen Curbs on Fliers’ Use of Electronics

A quote from the New York Times Article, RE: the F.A.A.’s stance on electronics:

In a phone interview, Ms. McCaskill said she had grown frustrated with the F.A.A.’s stance on devices after she learned that the agency now allows iPads as flight manuals in the cockpit and has subsequently given out devices to some flight attendants with information on flight procedures.

“So it’s O.K. to have iPads in the cockpit; it’s O.K. for flight attendants — and they are not in a panic — yet it’s not O.K. for the traveling public,” she said. “A flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.”

via Disruptions: F.A.A. May Loosen Curbs on Fliers’ Use of Electronics – NYTimes.com.

I actually think it is now more dangerous than ever to allow electronics and loosten these methods, although governance is more appropriate.  Giving iPads in the cockpit of an airplane with information on flight procedures is like allowing a loophole for a person to expose information, confidential information, which could be exploited, and potentially manipulated to the person’s advantage.  This is a small example.

Adding advanced accessories, such as technological advances, onto to commercial airlines that were additionally designed, and advanced through out the years, granted, however, these vehicles are based on core deigns over three decades ago.  Not only airline staff but passengers have more intricate and powerful technology than the original design of the aircraft.  The consumer technology grows at such a rapid pace, the protocols of flight and laws which govern those flights cannot keep pace.

As a simple example, what if those flight procedures on the iPads actually interface, in the future, with the planes electronics.  The pre-flight procedure is validated before takeoff, however, once in flight, a hacker terrorist communicates with the iPad, and then turns off some of the pre-flight validations.  What if that ‘Use Case’ is not tested during the design of the integration of the iPad / Plane integration (preposed), maybe the plane then interprets this pre-flight check as a failure, and automatically makes sure the wheels are down and locked in place, as a ‘saftey measure’?  In pre-flight checks, it may make sense to make sure the wheels don’t move, and lock in place.  But already in the air, well, that would not be good.  In this case, maybe the wheels actually lock in place and are not able to open when the plane tries to land.  That can have significant  ramifications to life as well as litigation that may insure.

There are so may variations, which can go wrong, even now, it is becoming increasing easier, and scarier to fly the friendly skies.

Editorial: 4D printed objects that make themselves

BBC News – TED 2013: 4D printed objects make themselves.

A simple rules engine that has the ability to create itself, is a slippery slope, perhaps, one of dramatic proportions such as “4D” printing. The concepts are clear from the article, as well as the experiments at MIT.

The value of combining a rules engine to printed or created object, that can transform itself, or evolve has vast applications, such as the simple scope, as defined in the article, to the more dramatic concepts we can only imagine in what was once Science Fiction.  The applications vary from the horrific to the wondrous.  I will leave it to the readers imagination.  Although there are significant revenue opportunities in 4D printed objects, objects that make themselves, there may be a question of ethics, and governance, now that the genie is out of the bottle.

Futuristic MYO Armband Lets You Control Your Computer With Gestures

Futuristic MYO Armband Lets You Control Your Computer With Gestures.

Personal Opinion: Based on the article, there is great potential in this technology, and probably worth the investment to explore and commoditize the paradigm.  Based on the photo, the technology looks like it is based on muscle movements, such as a Seismometer instrument measure motions of the ground, the devise looks like it is sensitive to specific motions of the muscles in the arm.  Although this is a great step toward progress, the measurement of neural impulses is the ultimate progression, and accuracy of detecting synapses firing from the brain to indicate movement in muscles.