technology

The idea of digital fakery is eroding the truth

From Youtube: At the White House, the idea of digital fakery is eroding the truth. The frightening future of digital fakery has arrived, in the form of a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The footage on the right shows Acosta roughly handling a White House aide during a press conference yesterday—or does it? (The original clip is shown to the left

This Brain Implant Could Change Lives

From Youtube: It sounds like science fiction: a device that can reconnect a paralyzed person’s brain to his or her body. But that’s exactly what the experimental NeuroLife system does. Developed by Battelle and Ohio State University, NeuroLife uses a brain implant, an algorithm and an electrode sleeve to give paralysis patients back control of their limbs. For Ian Burkhart, NeuroLife’s first test subject, the implications could be life-changing.

60 Years of Challenges and Breakthroughs by DARPA

From Youtube: With a focus on the people and perseverance behind DARPA’s ability to make the impossible possible, trace the agency’s history from its charter following the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch to advances across a spectrum of technologies. Building on a legacy of innovation, DARPA continues to push technological boundaries to ensure U.S. military superiority and serve the people who serve and protect our nation.

The secret physics of dandelion seeds

From Youtube: Every child knows that blowing on a dandelion clock will send its seeds floating off into the air. But physicists wanted to know more. How does an individual seed manage to maintain such stable flight? Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the fluid dynamics of air flow around the seed and discovered a completely new type of flight. It’s based on a previously unknown kind of vortex which may even be common in the plant and animal kingdoms, now that we know where to look.

Technodictators

From youtube.com: "If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled" - Aldous Huxley Interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958, from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin "This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. Mr. Huxley wrote a Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us." - Mike Wallace In this remarkable interview, Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all.

Custom carpentry with help from robots

From mit.edu: Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing. In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

Waymo 360° experience: a fully self-driving journey

From youtube.com: Waymo began as the Google self-driving car project in 2009. Today, we have the world’s only fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads. Step into our 360° video and take control of the camera to see through the “eyes” of our car. Then, be one of the first in the world to take a ride with Waymo. This film was built using footage and real-time data from an actual trip on city streets.

Does computational complexity restrict artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning?

From youtube.com: Can machines think? Philosophy and science have long explored this question. Throughout the 20th century, attempts were made to link this question to the latest discoveries -- Goedel's theorem, Quantum Mechanics, undecidability, computational complexity, cryptography etc. Starting in the 1980s, a long body of work led to the conclusion that many interesting approaches—even modest ones—towards achieving AI were computationally intractable, meaning NP-hard or similar. One could interpret this body of work as a "complexity argument against AI."

But in recent years, empirical discoveries have undermined this argument, as computational tasks hitherto considered intractable turn out to be easily solvable on very large-scale instances. Deep learning is perhaps the most famous example.

This talk revisits the above-mentioned complexity argument against AI and explains why it may not be an obstacle in reality. We survey methods used in recent years to design provably efficient (polynomial-time) algorithms for a host of intractable machine learning problems under realistic assumptions on the input. Some of these can be seen as algorithms to extract semantics or meaning out of data.

Life, Interrupted

From npr.org/planetmoney: What price do we pay for the constant interruptions we get from our phones and computers? And is there a better way to handle distraction? In this week's Radio Replay we bring you a favorite conversation with the computer scientist Cal Newport. Plus, Shankar gets electrodes strapped to his head to test a high-tech solution to interruptions.

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