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Cheng Soon Ong
Worked at National ICT Australia
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Geoff Hinton, Zoubin Ghahramani and Trevor Darrell on BBC radio.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02kmqt1
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I am carrying out a survey to find out more about what version of Python and various Scientific Python packages this community is using. Please take a few minutes to fill it out if you can, and feel free to pass it on within your scientific Python communities!
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The 2015 Scientific Python SurveyBack in 2012, I carried out a survey to find out which python, numpy, and scipy versions scientists are currently using for everyday work, in order to better understand which versions should be supported. This is a new poll aimed at finding out how things have changed over the last few years. For results of the previous survey, see http://astrofrog.github.io/blog/2013/01/13/what-python-installations-are-scientists-using/. For any questions about ...
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In previous debates about the #Singularity (on Twitter) I clashed with the following PopSci author Erik Sofge, but I must say his recent AI articles are excellent. Erik brilliantly dismisses the #artificialintelligence paranoia. He refers to the AI panic of 2015, robo-phobics, and the anti-artificial-intelligence dream team (Musk, Hawking, Gates etc) regarding waging a pre-emptive war despite a resounding lack of evidence for the humans versus AI war.

PopSci (30 Jan 2015): “For robo-phobics, the anti-artificial-intelligence dream team is nearly complete. Elon Musk and Bill Gates have the cash and the clout, while legendary cosmologist Stephen Hawking—whose widely-covered fears include both evil robots and predatory aliens—brings his incomparable intellect. All they're missing is the muscle, someone willing to get his or hands dirty in the preemptive war with killer machines.”

Here is another good quote: “If the people most familiar with the state of A.I. research see superintelligence as a low-priority research topic, why are we letting random, unsupported comments from anyone—yes, even Bill Gates—convince us otherwise? ”

Note my comments on a previous Erik Sofge article: https://plus.google.com/+Singularity-2045/posts/3e18fuSLKup

Furthermore I have also written about the AI fears of Bill Gates here: https://plus.google.com/+Singularity-2045/posts/FNUEgL8jkvA
The general obsession with superintelligence is only getting bigger, and dumber
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Artificial intelligence has gone through some dismal periods, which those in the field gloomily refer to as “AI winters.” This is not one of those times; in fact, AI is so hot right now that tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Baidu, and Microsoft are battling for the leading minds in the field. The current excitement about AI stems, in great part, from groundbreaking advances involving what are known as “convolutional neural networks.” This machine learning technique promises dramatic improvements in things like computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing. You probably have heard of it by its more layperson-friendly name: “Deep Learning.”

Few people have been more closely associated with Deep Learning thanYann LeCun, 54. Working as a Bell Labs researcher during the late 1980s, LeCun developed the convolutional network technique and showed how it could be used to significantly improve handwriting recognition; many of the checks written in the United States are now processed with his approach. Between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s, when neural networks had fallen out of favor, LeCun was one of a handful of scientists who persevered with them. He became a professorat New York University in 2003, and has since spearheaded many other Deep Learning advances.

More recently, Deep Learning and its related fields grew to become one of the most active areas in computer research. Which is one reason that at the end of 2013, LeCun was appointed head of the newly-createdArtificial Intelligence Research Lab at Facebook, though he continues with his NYU duties.

LeCun was born in France, and retains from his native country a sense of the importance of the role of the “public intellectual.” He writes and speaks frequently in his technical areas, of course, but is also not afraid to opine outside his field, including about current events.

IEEE Spectrum contributor Lee Gomes spoke with LeCun at his Facebook office in New York City. The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Yann LeCun on...

Explaining Deep Learning . . . in Eight WordsA Black Box With 500 Million KnobsThe Pursuit of Beautiful Ideas (Some Hacking Required)Hype and Things That Look Like Science but Are NotUnsupervised Learning: The Learning That Machines NeedFacebook Does Deep LearningCan Deep Learning Give Machines Common Sense?The Inevitable Singularity Questions“Sometimes I Need to Build Things With My Hands”
The Deep Learning expert explains how convolutional nets work, why Facebook needs AI, what he dislikes about the Singularity, and more
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Google is looking for PhD students in statistics for internships in Zurich, London, Paris. https://www.google.com/about/careers/search#!t=jo&jid=89565001
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Happy CNY bro Cheng Soon
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We are organizing a Robotic Vision Summer School (RVSS 2015) for 23-27 March 2015 in Kioloa, Australia. The summer school includes both lectures and robotic workshop sessions. Registration is now open but places are limited.

http://roboticvision.org/events/rvss-summer-school/
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Application is still open until Feb 12, 2015. Please feel free to share if you know anyone who might be interested in learning in detail about machine learning and related areas.
Announcement. The Machine Learning Summer School will return to the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, from 13-24 July 2015. The MLSS is a renowned venue for graduate students, researchers, and professionals. It offers an opportunity to learn about fundamental and advanced aspects of ...
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Interesting post on reproducibility
(Image: Robert Boyle’s (1660) vacuum pump, from New Experiments Physico-Mechanical, Touching The Spring of the Air, and its Effects; Made, for the most part, in a New Pneumatical Engine) Unless you...
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He lived long and prospered.
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How computers can take over the world

How can computers get legal rights like people?  It sounds hard.  But in the US, it's not.  They just need to become corporations

You see, in the US, corporations are already persons in the legal sense, with the right to sign contracts and sue people.  In 2010, the Supreme Court said they have the right to free speech!   Since corporations are very powerful, they are likely to gain more and more rights - and not just in the US.

So, computers might take over the world by becoming corporations... or running corporations. 

Most people think computers need to be intelligent before they take over the world.  But maybe it will go like this.  First they become corporations.  Then they hire us to make them more intelligent.  

Now there's a company that's trying to speed up this process!  It's called Ethereum.   They want to help developers start Distributed Autonomous Corporations: corporations run by computers.

Vitalik Buterin, who runs Ethereum, explained the basic idea:

Corporations, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney reminds us, are people. Whether or not you agree with the conclusions that his partisans draw from that claim, the statement certainly carries a large amount of truth. What is a corporation, after all, but a certain group of people working together under a set of specific rules? When a corporation owns property, what that really means is that there is a legal contract stating that the property can only be used for certain purposes under the control of those people who are currently its board of directors – a designation itself modifiable by a particular set of shareholder. If a corporation does something, it’s because its board of directors has agreed that it should be done. If a corporation hires employees, it means that the employees are agreeing to provide services to the corporation’s customers under a particular set of rules, particularly involving payment. When a corporation has limited liability, it means that specific people have been granted extra privileges to act with reduced fear of legal prosecution by the government – a group of people with more rights than ordinary people acting alone, but ultimately people nonetheless. In any case, it’s nothing more than people and contracts all the way down.

However, here a very interesting question arises: do we really need the people? On the one hand, the answer is yes: although in some post-Singularity future machines will be able to survive all on their own, for the foreseeable future some kind of human action will simply be necessary to interact with the physical world. On the other hand, however, over the past two hundred years the answer has been increasingly no. The industrial revolution allowed us, for the first time, to start replacing human labor with machines on a large scale, and now we have advanced digitized factories and robotic arms that produce complex goods like automobiles all on their own. But this is only automating the bottom; removing the need for rank and file manual laborers, and replacing them with a smaller number of professionals to maintain the robots, while the management of the company remains untouched. The question is, can we approach the problem from the other direction: even if we still need human beings to perform certain specialized tasks, can we remove the management from the equation instead?

Most companies have some kind of mission statement; often it's about making money for shareholders; at other times, it includes some moral imperative to do with the particular product that they are creating, and other goals like helping communities sometimes enter the mix, at least in theory. Right now, that mission statement exists only insofar as the board of directors, and ultimately the shareholders, interpret it. But what if, with the power of modern information technology, we can encode the mission statement into code; that is, create an inviolable contract that generates revenue, pays people to perform some function, and finds hardware for itself to run on, all without any need for top-down human direction?

And then he went on to explain a plan to do this:

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/7050/bootstrapping-a-decentralized-autonomous-corporation-part-i/

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/7119/bootstrapping-an-autonomous-decentralized-corporation-part-2-interacting-with-the-world/

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/7235/bootstrapping-a-decentralized-autonomous-corporation-part-3-identity-corp/

The fascinating technical details of Ethereum are here:

https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper

For more on decentralized autonomous corporations, or DACs, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decentralized_Autonomous_Organization

For the American legal doctrine of corporate personhood, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood

Does this make you want to rebel?  It may be too late.   I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. 

I thank +Daniel Estrada for pointing out this article on DACs:

http://io9.com/how-much-longer-before-companies-start-to-run-themselve-1687015200

The picture here was made by TheMarex:

http://themarex.deviantart.com/art/All-hail-our-new-robot-overlords-292510016

http://themarex.deviantart.com/art/All-hail-our-new-robot-overlords-292510016
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Werner Koch’s code (PGP) powers the email encryption programs around the world. He's going broke.
Werner Koch's code powers the email encryption programs around the world. If only somebody would pay him for the work.
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I was a bit confused when I read your post since I thought Zimmerman wrote the commercial PGP library. Makes more sense when I read the article which notes that Koch wrote and maintains GPG which is the free software equivalent to PGP. :)
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It's the saddest story Roald Dahl ever wrote - a poignant letter pleading for parents to vaccinate their children against #measles, after his own daughter died from the illness aged 7.
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