The AI Revolution Is On
Steven Levy writes in Wired on the unexpected turn of the Artificial Intelligence revolution: rather than whole artificial minds, it consists of a rich bestiary of digital fauna, which few would dispute possess something approaching intelligence.
Diapers.com warehouses are a bit of a jumble. Boxes of pacifiers sit above crates of onesies, which rest next to cartons of baby food. In a seeming abdication of logic, similar items are placed across the room from one another. A person trying to figure out how the products were shelved could well conclude that no form of intelligence—except maybe a random number generator—had a hand in determining what went where.
But the warehouses aren’t meant to be understood by humans; they were built for bots. Every day, hundreds of robots course nimbly through the aisles, instantly identifying items and delivering them to flesh-and-blood packers on the periphery. Instead of organizing the warehouse as a human might—by placing like products next to one another, for instance—Diapers.com’s robots stick the items in various aisles throughout the facility. Then, to fill an order, the first available robot simply finds the closest requested item. The storeroom is an ever-shifting mass that adjusts to constantly changing data, like the size and popularity of merchandise, the geography of the warehouse, and the location of each robot. Set up by Kiva Systems, which has outfitted similar facilities for Gap, Staples, and Office Depot, the system can deliver items to packers at the rate of one every six seconds.
The Kiva bots may not seem very smart. They don’t possess anything like human intelligence and certainly couldn’t pass a Turing test. But they represent a new forefront in the field of artificial intelligence. Today’s AI doesn’t try to re-create the brain. Instead, it uses machine learning, massive data sets, sophisticated sensors, and clever algorithms to master discrete tasks. Examples can be found everywhere: The Google global machine uses AI to interpret cryptic human queries. Credit card companies use it to track fraud. Netflix uses it to recommend movies to subscribers. And the financial system uses it to handle billions of trades (with only the occasional meltdown).
Here Comes the iPhone Virus
By analyzing billions of phone calls, researchers at Scandinavian telecom company Telenor, mapped how social connections between people – measured partly by how often they called each other – correlated with the spread of Apple’s iPhone after its 2007 debut.
The diagram above shows the evolution of the largest network of Telenor iPhone users over time. Each node represents one subscriber, and its color indicates the model used. In this case, red equals 2G, green means 3G, and yellow means 3GS.
Researchers learned that its owners helped spread the iPhone virus spread rapidly throughout their social network. A person with just one iPhone-carrying friend was three times more likely to own one themselves than a person whose friends had no iPhones. People with two friends who had iPhones were more than five times as likely to have sprung for the Apple device. Apparently the iPhone virus was highly contagious.
Could this 2.0-bird be suffering from Infobesity? Then it must be the result of excessive infocalorie consumption.
Following people and news-sources on microblogservices like Twitter, has become a new addictive nature to many people. While our brains have only just adapted to print, radio, television and the (passive) internet, things worth knowing are now being funneled into them as if they were sponges. Read more
Google Ads talk back!
‘Advertising is the cave art of the 20th century’, Marshall McLuhan said. Advertisings are mythical depictions of hunting and gathering rituals, that don’t take place on some stretched savanna, but in supermarkets and shopping malls. Through advanced profiles and content management systems ads can nowadays be targeted to select audiences.
Antenna Tree Mast Safari
This picture was taken in Zambia by Sarah Los (NL) while on wildlife safari. Every fairly trained “NextNature spotter” should be able to distinguish the cellphone-tree masts from old-nature trees. But that’s odd; there are three of them in a row and all different species!? Does every cellular network provider plant its own tree family? It surely looks like a competition. Future designs are expected to look better, taller and greener.
Let us do a quick jungle safari ourselves. Read more