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Gideon Rosenblatt
Grounding Machines in Humanity
Grounding Machines in Humanity

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Technology Doesn't Have to be Heartless

There are no shackles that bind technology to the cravings of the human ego. It may feel as though there are, but the truth is that our tools are a neutral extension of us that can hold any of our intentions. That gives us an enormous freedom for the future of technology.

#ego #technology

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Putting the puzzle pieces together, Gary Kasparov explores the amazing coincidences of Trump's Russian ties

I don't usually share pieces from the New York Daily News, but this piece from from former chess champion, Gary Kasparov, is worth reading. In it he outlines the overwhelming number of ties between Putin and Trump's administration.

When you see all this, taken together, it certainly raises a disturbing number of questions that really do need to be answered.

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Weaponized, AI-Backed Propaganda

The synergy between fake-content networks, automated message testing, and personality profiling will rapidly spread to other digital mediums. Albright’s most-recent research focuses on an artificial intelligence that automatically creates YouTube videos about news and current events. The AI, which reacts to trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, pairs images and subtitles with a computer generated voiceover. It spooled out nearly 80,000 videos through 19 different channels in just a few days.

If fake news created the scaffolding for this new automated political propaganda machine, bots, or fake social media profiles, have become its foot soldiers -- an army of political robots used to control conversations on social media and silence and intimidate journalists and others who might undermine their messaging.
It's likely Cambridge Analytica will secure more contracts with federal agencies and is in the final stages of negotiations to begin managing White House digital communication throughout the Trump Administration. What new predictive-personality targeting becomes possible with potential access to data on U.S. voters from the IRS, Department of Homeland Security, or the NSA?

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Bannon said in 2013. We know that Steve Bannon subscribes to a theory of history where a messianic ‘Grey Warrior’ consolidates power and remakes the global order. Bolstered by the success of Brexit and the Trump victory, Breitbart (which Bannon owns) and Cambridge Analytica (which Bannon sits on the board of) are now bringing fake news and automated propaganda to support far-right parties in at least Germany, France, Hungary, and India as well as parts of South America.

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Bacteria use electrical pulses to organize their communities and to coordinate with neighbors

Think about it this way. When bacteria communicate chemically, it’s like each family is speaking with its own language, relying on its own particular assortment of chemicals and receptors. By contrast, the electrical signals that Süel’s team discovered are more like mathematics—something universal. “It allows species to communicate across evolutionary divides and create mixed communities,” says Humphries. “It’s changed my perspective on biofilms.”

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First time running into the term "Intelligent Processing Unit". Here's how Graphcore describes it on their site:

The IPU is a completely new type of processor designed to help customers accelerate the development of current and next generation machine intelligence products and services.

The IPU has been optimized to work efficiently on the extremely complex high-dimensional models that machine intelligence requires. It emphasizes massively parallel, low-precision floating-point compute and provides much higher compute density than other solutions.

Like a human brain, the IPU holds the complete machine learning model inside the processor and has over 100x more memory bandwidth than other solutions. This results in both lower power consumption and much higher performance.


By the way, if you care about AI and are not following +Wayne Radinsky, you might want to remedy that situation...
A company called Graphcore has come up with a way of making visualizations of neural networks that reveal the complexity of the connections, and are "incredibly beautiful", too, looking similar to human brain scans. The visualizations come out of technology developed to map neural networks from mainstream machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and MXNet to dedicated AI hardware the company is developing called the Graphcore Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU).

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Google develops the equivalent of "Greenwich Mean Time" for a global, virtual world

In 1784, a carriage service first published a schedule of its rides in Britain. Back then, there wasn't really a standardized notion of time across the towns and cities on its routes. At any given time, it might be 12:00 in London, but 12:20 in Liverpool or 11:50 in Canterbury. The carriages were slow enough, and coordination didn't matter enough to require better synchronization of times across places. That changed with the arrival of railroads. In 1847, British train operators put their heads together and developed Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as a standard with which to synchronize time. In 1880, the government adopted the standard for all timetables in Britain. (Summarized from Yuval Noah Harari's book, Sapiens.)

Might it be that with Spanner, Google is the forefront of a new notion of standardized time, tuned for the emerging needs of a global, virtual economy?

HT +Wayne Radinsky.

Spanner, the Google database that mastered time, is now open to everyone.

"They equipped Google's data centers with a series of GPS receivers and atomic clocks. The GPS receivers, much like the one in your cell phone, grab the time from various satellites orbiting the globe, while the atomic clocks keep their own time. Then they shuttle their time readings to master servers in each data center. These masters constantly trade readings in an effort to settle on a common time."

"A margin of error still exists, but thanks to so many readings, the masters can bootstrap a far more reliable timekeeping service. 'This gives you faster-than-light coordination between two places.'"

"Google calls this timekeeping technology TrueTime, and only Google has it."

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AI Influencers 2017: Top 30 people in AI you should follow on Twitter

If you're active on Twitter and interested in artificial intelligence, this is a great group of people to follow or add to one of your lists. It was published earlier this week by IBM:

This is an interesting group of folks. Some obvious. Some not. And speaking of the not-so-obvious, I must admit to being puzzled and very honored to be included on this list. Puzzled because there are way better qualified AI experts out there, but honored to have my special human-centric view of it added to the voices.

One sad note. I was quite methodical in going through this group to see who was also active here on Google+. Out of the 30, aside from me there were only two:
+Joanna Bryson
+Satya Mallick

Here's that list again:

#twitter #ai #machinelearning


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Snapped this with my phone while walking in the rain in Seattle's Magnuson Park today for my wife's birthday. So serene, and we saw three bald eagles hanging out together. 

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I can't say I've experienced all these, but I have had:
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, and 18.

HT +Darius Gabriel Black
Know your enemy: you(r demons)


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Basically, it amounts to a change of paradigms from seeing the world as a machine to understanding it as a network, or rather as networks within networks — biological, ecological, and social networks. Wherever we see life, we see networks. Now, a network, as everybody knows, is a particular pattern of links, of relationships. So, to understand networks, we need to learn how to think in terms of relationships. This is what “systems thinking,” or “systemic thinking” is all about: thinking in terms of relationships, patterns, and context.

HT +Simon Robinson​
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