Category Archives: AI

Google Deepmind strikes again: AlphaGo 3-0 over worlds best player Ke Jie

hi all Google Deepmind has pulled another rabbit out of the hat and won 3-0 against the worlds reigning Go champion Ke Jie who coincidentally is also Chinese, only about 1yr since last historic match.[a] the 19year old was reportedly literally in tears.[a17] quite a different reaction than kasparov ~2 decades ago! looks like emotions really run the gamut eh? last years match with Lee Sedol had him apologizing for/ to humanity at the end! reminds me of the so-called “5 stages of grief” concept from psychology… where the “loss” is one of mankinds most priceless/ treasured possessions, its uniqueness wrt intelligence/ mind! o_O

theres a brand new AlphaGo movie/ documentary on the prior history, cant wait to see it, has anyone else?[a8] what do you think? how does google/ deepmind top this? apparently they cant and actually theyve announced theyve decided to avoid any further human media/ spectacle matches! or is that just my interpretation? Hassibis is quoted as saying AlphaGo will stop/ retire, but not sure exactly what he means by that, its a big question mark, and the funky/ choppy chinese translation certainly isnt helping any.[a17] doesnt it make some sense to continue to refine it some, or release parts or all of it, do some maintenance, etc? it seems even after it beats the top human there is some small )( suspense left. (have always thought it a bit of a historical loss verging on tragedy that IBM Deep Blue chess hardware/ code was “decommissioned” and maybe never archived or released to the public.)

various alignments and massive themes going on here. the Chinese have funneled billions of dollars into AI research and yet this match was not really publicized much or celebrated within china, in stark contrast to last years international Korean media extravaganza, verging on near-media-circus! the state censorship system apparently decided to cut off the live feed of the match ~30m into it after uncertain/ unknown reasons, and/ or it became clear that maybe their human player would not dominate. and then theres the trickiness of Google having withdrawn from china in the prior few years due to their hacking, and wanting back into the gargantuan market. but oops! chinas semi-state-sponsored companies compete directly with google services. as the teenagers say, AWKWARD! 😳

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AI 2017 — poker milestone passed/ crumbled

hi all. AI technology is really exploding in the last few years. the last big post/ compilation on the subj here was ~½ year ago and the links piled up in a blur since then. the main trigger for this post: the game of poker now seems to have “folded” to computer supremacy. a new paper was published on Deepstack and its highly competitive play, and Libratus is $800K up in a recent match against top experts (top players). my understanding is that there is still some weakness in multiplayer games and that the new breakthru is for 1-1 games, human vs computer, but presumably that razor-thin human edge might also melt away quickly.[a]

poker was a very good game for humans wrt our inherent/ evolved psychology. we (top humans that is) seem to have an intuitive grasp of how to bet based on the strength of cards, including the use of bluffing. it took computers until the 21st century to master this stuff. but it looks like they just passed the threshhold again. in a small surprise, it wasnt done by Deepmind but which is behind many other near-monthly, even verging on weekly breakthroughs.[c]

maybe not by total coincidence, the winning Libratus algorithm involves training a neural network to accurately estimate the search tree, quite similar to the Deepmind Go strategy that made huge headlines just a year ago. the media hasnt picked up on the poker competition as much as it did with Go… is it because cautious/ publicity shy academics have less PR instinct than google? or less budget? but maybe that “relatively low profile” will change in the weeks/ months ahead. hopefully there will be a very high profile contest that again captures widespread public interest/ imagination.

it seems the top poker competitions are typically held in Las Vegas afaik… what would it take to get the computers in that? wouldnt be cool if say Vegas (or some other high profile gambling center) decided to publicize it to attract attn/ tourism? but would the computer algorithms be competitive in the top multiplayer games? there have been increasing/ huge audiences for poker over last few years, not sure what all the factors are in in this surge (internet gambling might play a role…)

its neat to see academia still at the top of competitive research in AI. but that seems to be thinning somewhat over last few years as the massive corporations Google[b], Microsoft, Apple,[g] Facebook, Intel [f] and misc other corps [e] are snapping up AI talent like its a feverish arms race, and to some degree it is. theres also very fast/ dynamic startup/ other merger activity going on, and new research laboratories being founded.[h]

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attack of the (job!)killer robots survey

hi all. robots have been attacking people for over a decade now, they’re called drones, and the public outcry has not been too substantial. however, maybe the slumbering masses are starting to wake up to a related threat, job-killing robots.

this is a very complex topic that has been bubbling at the edges for years but 2016 finally seemed to mark the transition/ jump/ tipping point into mainstream consciousness. and theres some alarm/ panic, with headlines reflecting it.

despite this headline on this blog, despite the headlines elsewhere, it is really not a topic to be taken lightly. it has international implications. its affecting global economies. its tightly connected with the last few decades shift of globalization and neoliberalism, both of which seem these days (with Brexit/ trump upsets) maybe to be showing signs of aging and “long in the tooth”. it seems to be tied up with the future of technology, economics, and governments/ politics (eg whitehouse/ trump)![l] hence its one of those devastating crosscutting trifectas, aka “perfect storm”. its even starting to show up in intelligence agency strategic predictions/ alarm bells, and they are not pretty.[k1]

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sparkfun robot autonomous vehicle competition/ combat robotics, boulder 2016

sparkfun➡ ❗ ⭐ 😎 😀 💡 hi all sparkfun 2016 was last wknd sat sep 17th. what a blast! got the big robot fix and geek (over?)dose for a long time.

as mentioned before in this blog (last summer), sparkfun is an amazing company with a lot of really dedicated/ passionate members. its grown massively in only about a decade. they have very impressive warehouse/ facilities with nice features such as several classroom areas.

a huge unexpected highlight for me (got there just in time) was the presentation by Casey Kuhns (aerospace engineer!) and Zachary Goff of the POISON ARROW battlebot. their robot is built incredibly well in short timeframes. they have to glue snap connectors together otherwise they break apart during collisions that have as much kinetic energy as in car crashes. they showed a highlight of launching another 250LB robot 8ft in the air. they also had a flying drone that could shoot down flames. it was impressive to watch but seemed to have a lot of trouble honing in on targets.

to a large room/ ~50 count rapt audience with lots of kids, they detailed the fascinating building and insider/ behind the scenes aspects/ figures of its creation. lots of great/ riveting slides/ videos. they revealed the ABC battlebot cage cost $3M. builders got $10K from the show, and they didnt mention much prizes on the show, it didnt seem to be much of a consideration for them.

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ML + AI advances 2016

hi all. machine learning + artificial intelligence are evolving very rapidly these days. very hard to keep up but heres a major effort to pound the latest headlines into a coherent summary. the media has picked up on the major horserace. a lot is being cast as corporations versus each other, mainly google[f], facebook[g], IBM, Apple, etc… with literally billions of dollars being thrown at it now, at this rate it looks like there is not a lot of question at this moment who is going to have the most cutting edge ML+AI in the near future, and hint, it isnt gonna be universities+academia. its being pitched as the next disruptive technology to hit silicon valley.

have some major qualms about this. there are only a few disruptive technologies per generation. ML+AI does seem to fit in this category but its much more inchoate than eg say web browsers, internet, email, or cell phones. even with good ML+AI its not so clear how to productize/ monetize it, and in a way Google is one of the only companies that has figured out how to do so, and its all based on a few basic concepts: relevant search and matching/ optimizing advertising buyers with ad space wrt ad auctions. and in a way, the relevant search algorithm only indirectly contributes to their bottom line. hearing about IBM putting millions of dollars into Watson research makes me wonder if theres definitely a light at the end of that tunnel. and whether its an oncoming train. etc

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