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Gideon Rosenblatt
Grounding Machines in Humanity
Grounding Machines in Humanity

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The alphabet changed the way we think. Artificial intelligence will do the same.

My latest, on alphabets, memorization, and what it says about the way we will know things in the future.

Like much of my writing, this one was inspired by a conversation here on Google+. In this case, it was +Laura Gibbs, recommending the book I talk about in this piece and interesting additional thoughts from +Thomas Morffew, +Sowmyan Tirumurti, and +John Verdon.

#knowledge #artificialintelligence #alphabet

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When AI Training Data Meets a Black Swan

How the Long Tail makes it extremely difficult to determine training set size for machine learning.

HT to +Oleg Moskalensky

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Evolutionary algorithms represent another, important branch of machine learning. Pedro Domingo did an excellent job of explaining it and the various other approaches to AI algorithms in his book, The Master Algorithm.
Can evolutionary algorithms provide a technique to discover effective neural network architectures automatically? Check out a nice writeup by +Quartz on some new experiments by the Google Brain team ( and OpenAI.

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Older, Northern, Re-Org'ed Dinos

Baron’s tree rewrites the first chapters of the dinosaur story in several ways. It suggests that they first arose around 247 million years ago, slightly earlier than the 231 to 243 million year range that’s typically cited. It hints that they might have originated in the northern half of the world rather than the southern half. And most importantly, it says that the ancestral dinosaurs split into two major groups—just not the ones we traditionally recognize.

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Alexa as Dominating the Voice Platform?

I must admit that I've not been giving Amazon's Alexa sufficient attention. According to this Backchannel piece, Amazon is set to really own this space. Personally, I think this race is far from over. It's just getting started and Google has many, many tricks up its sleeve on this front.

#alexa #voice #VoiceComputing

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Remember Google Posts? They're Now Open to Organizations

In case you forgot, Google is allowing celebs to create "Posts" that can be posted directly to the search results pages.

As of today, Google is now opening up this functionality to organizations and is initially targeting movies, museums, sports teams, and sports leagues.

"We’ve opened up posting on Google to museums, sports teams, sports leagues, and movies in the US, and all of the above plus musicians in Brazil. We’re continuing to experiment with other categories and regions, so stay tuned."

Want to see an example? Search for "vanessa da mata" and look at the box on the right side of the page, titled "Vanessa da Mata on Google". If you click through to more, you get a stream of posts like this:

How much traction will this approach get? No clue, but with something like this, why in the world would you ever bother with a Google+ Page if you're an organization trying to reach people? I wouldn't.

It's unclear what the approval process really entails, but here's the link if you're curious:

#Google #Posts

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This brings me back to the question of what the tech plutocrats mean by freedom. Martin Luther King led the March on Washington for “jobs and Freedom.” It’s obvious now that the new freedom brought to us by the libertarian elite will not come with jobs. The fact that Facebook generates revenues of $8 billion with less than 9000 employees speaks volumes. Is Peter Thiel’s idea of corporations, free to reap monopoly profits free from government regulation, what we want for our country? Thiel’s icon Ayn Rand defines freedom as “to ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” How far is this from Jefferson’s great inspiration, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who defines the good life in these terms?

* The company of good friends.

* The freedom and autonomy to enjoy meaningful work.

* The willingness to live an examined life with a core faith or philosophy.

I worry that our universities are being turned into trade schools in the pursuit of the almighty tech dollar. Are we forsaking the humanities and a basic liberal arts education all in promise to prepare students for the shark tank that awaits them in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street? As I said at the outset, I have no answers, but another phrase from Dr. King’s sermon calls out to me: “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and unguided men.”

Let us not assume that this technological revolution we are living through has but one inevitable outcome. History is made by man, not by corporations or machines. It is time to wake up and begin to think about a digital renaissance. As my colleague Ethan Zuckerman said, “It’s obvious now what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble.” Your generation does not need to surrender to some sort of techno-determinist future. Let’s try and “rewire” (Ethan’s term) the Internet.

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Humanity, what are we doing?

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Trump's polarity in opposing climate action is creating an equal and opposite reaction. A great read by +Alex Steffen​.

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Imagine the most moving song in the world. Machine learning is now listening to your brain waves to make music.

Lots of room here for good, but also for emotional manipulation. 
Machine learning devices are learning how to compose songs that can elicit specific emotions in us humans 
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