The Happiest Robot in the World

Keepon the RobotLadies and gentlemen, I’m officially announcing a new titleholder of ‘Happiest Robot in the World‘ (formerly held by Plen)! Now here’s a dancing can of Coke done right, to say the least! Keepon is a little, yellow-but-snowman-like robot that dances to music and reacts to sights and sounds. The idea might sound stale, but I gurantee Keepon will make you smile. Seriously, if he doesn’t make you smile I’m tempted to think you’re dead inside!

AI War Machines March On

Predator UAV sketchAs most of us know, and shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who don’t, the military has a fervent eye on applications of AI in wars. While most modern military robots are remote controlled by humans, there are around 4,000 robots currently in Iraq, and governments don’t intend to stop at that. The goal is full autonomy, and we’re getting there. A recent article on increased autonomy of war machines mentions a few real life examples of current semi-autonomy, such as the use of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, and DARPA’s intentions to explore systems that make life-and-death decisions on their own.

What About Artificial Creativity?

Artificial Creativity TitleI work on artificial creativity. That’s my main focus of research and development. Some people fix cars, others collect dolls. I work on making machines capable of original thought. The strange thing is that I haven’t been letting it shine through on Think Artificial, mainly because I’ve been searching for the right way to talk about it. But from now on there’ll be regular coverage of this important and almost magical concept. Will computers ever be capable of invention?

China Will Be Watched By 200,000 Electronic Eyes

The government of China is getting ready to set up around 20,000 cameras throughout the city of Shenzen, the NYTimes reports, and the city already has 180,000 owned by the government and private companies. They’re not as much cameras as they are eyes, though, as they’re part of a plan to use AI software to constantly track and identify people’s faces and unusual activities in hunt for police suspects and crime. The police will have the right to link pre-existing cameras at any time into the system. Two-hundred-thousand cameras! My AI science enthusiasm screams “Interesting!” but my human alter-ego simply screams.

My Latest Wikipedia Contribution Got a Less Than Optimal Welcoming Committee

Wikipedia Puzzle Globe LogoAfter having studied publications and information on Radar Networks for a recent blog post, I decided I might as well write a Wikipedia article on them while I’m at it. Less than an hour (one hour!) after my initial publication of the article somebody had come along and tagged it, suggesting that it was written as an “advertisement”. Is it just my inexperience with Wikipedia, or does it seem a bit strange for someone to instantly slap a tag on it … even while I’m still doing modifications?

A Young Scientist’s Guide to the Media: Part II

Typing MonkeyThere’s something very important you must always try to do when interviewed: Ask to review it before it prints! This may not be possible at all times. For example, it tends to be a lot easier to get a copy if the article is long and scheduled for publication with a few days notice. Nevertheless: ASK. It’s amazing how often quotes can get scrambled, your statements misinterpreted, ripped out of context, and so on and so forth. But it doesn’t always have to be bad to allow the reporter to have his way making the story sound more exciting on the expense of its accuracy.

A Young Scientist’s Guide to the Media: Part I

The general media and science are truly an odd couple. Important details often get lost in translation, and sometimes the reporter himself is lost in the mazes of our architectures. In my run-ins with the media, I’ve come to understand a thing or two on how the general media can help you, and how to deal with them for maximum benefit to yourself, your project, and to the readers. Here’s a some basic advice for young scientists, making their way up the academic ladder.

The Unbeatable Checkers AI System

Overview of the Checker's board and starting positionsIf you’re into AI, you might have heard by now that Checkers has been solved. Solved, as in determining the final result of a game in which either player makes no mistakes whatsoever: The AI will always make the perfect play. Checkers has roughly 500 billion billion possible positions (5×1020) and is now the largest game that has been solved to date. It took dozens of computers running almost continuously around the clock since 1989 to solve. My advisor at Reykjavik University, Yngvi Bj√∂rnsson, is a part of the development team and one of the authors of the article published in Science magazine, July 6th, introducing the solution to Checkers. My congratulations to Yngvi and the team for this achievement!

Keep Your Eye on Radar Networks

Radar Networks LogoI’ve been following the news and rumors on Radar Networks for a few years now, a company that’s about to unveil a new semantic web application. What originally brought it to my attention was the fact that my brother was the chief architect of the underlying system during its conception, and is now on the board of advisors. But it’s not blood relation that’s perpetuating my interest; it’s the potential revolutionary nature of the product they’re about to release. As we get closer to their beta, the shroud of secrecy is gradually being lifted.

Crysis’ Mesmerizing Realism

A chicken in the gameCrysis is a new war-type game which must certainly be one of the flagships of modern state-of-the-art tech in the gaming industry. I came across this three part video recorded at E3 and just couldn’t tare myself from the screen until I’d watched all three parts. Crabs & swarms of fish habit the photo-realistic oceans and react to your presence, as well as dry land animals like chickens who behave incredibly realistically (the blurred shapes in the corners of the thumbnail are the player’s hands, reaching to pick up the chicken).

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